Dodgers come out of nowhere with surprising minor-league signing

Thomas Carannante
ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 20: Stefen Romero #17 of the Seattle Mariners runs to first base after hitting the ball in the game against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington on September 20, 2015 in Arlington, Texas. The Seattle Mariners defeated the Texas Rangers 9-2. (Photo by John Williamson/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 20: Stefen Romero #17 of the Seattle Mariners runs to first base after hitting the ball in the game against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington on September 20, 2015 in Arlington, Texas. The Seattle Mariners defeated the Texas Rangers 9-2. (Photo by John Williamson/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /
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Fans were hoping the Los Angeles Dodgers would be able to add some depth this offseason after it was evident that giving Steven Souza Jr. and Matt Beaty postseason at-bats wasn’t the formula for success.

Though major-league signings still aren’t permitted thanks to the never-ending lockout, it seems as if president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman is doing all he can to add talent on minor-league deals.

Both pitcher Cole Duensing and catcher Chris Betts joined the team in that capacity over the last week (as well as pitcher Sam Gaviglio the week prior). But the Dodgers’ addition on Saturday might be able to have the biggest impact of any low-key signing they make this offseason.

LA brought in first baseman and outfielder Stefen Romero, formerly of the Seattle Mariners, on a minor-league contract with an invite to big-league spring training … and you’ll be shocked when you see his power numbers over the last few years.

The Dodgers signed former Mariners slugger Stefen Romero.

Romero last appeared in Major League Baseball back in 2016. That was a nine-game stint with the M’s and it didn’t go particularly well. He spent most of that year dominating at Triple-A Tacoma.

After that, he left for Japan, joining the Orix Buffaloes, where he spent a majority of his time there (along with a short stint with the Rakuten Golden Eagles). Over 426 games, Romero slashed .264/.331/.497 with 221 runs scored, 96 home runs and 264 RBI. The 33-year-old took matters into his own hands after logging just 94 MLB games through his age-27 season and made the leap to get more playing time in a professional league.

This production obviously won’t translate to MLB competition, especially against NL pitching, but anyone who possesses this type of power potential has a chance to succeed in a loaded Dodgers lineup. Romero will be protected by some of the game’s best hitters and should see plenty of pitches should he make the roster.

Romero’s major league career began back in 2010 when he was selected by the Mariners in the 10th round of the draft out of Oregon State University. Judging by his body of work, it seems he was one of those bats that couldn’t make the transition from the upper levels of the minors to The Show. He batted .306 with an .875 OPS, 372 runs scored, 100 home runs and 442 home runs in 588 career minor-league games, with a lot of that success coming at Triple-A.

It also didn’t help he debuted with and remained on some bad Mariners teams. Maybe all he needed was a stint in between Triple-A and MLB to find his footing. Expect him to a compete for a roster spot if this power is present in spring training.

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