FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 8, 2008
DODGERS AGREE TO TERMS WITH 15 FREE AGENTS ON MINOR LEAGUE CONTRACTS
WITH INVITATIONS TO MAJOR LEAGUE SPRING TRAINING
Juan Castro, Dodger infielder from 1995-99, rejoins organization for 19th pro season
LOS ANGELES – The National League West Division Champion Los Angeles Dodgers have agreed to terms with 15 free agents, including 10 pitchers, on minor league contracts with invitations to Major League Spring Training. Juan Castro, who originally signed with the Dodgers as a non-drafted free agent in 1991 and played the infield for the big league club from 1995-99, returns to the organization for his 19th professional season. General Manager Ned Colletti made the announcement.
Castro is a veteran of 14 Major League seasons with the Dodgers (1995-99), Reds (2000-04, 2006-08), Twins (2005-06), and Orioles (2008), batting .228 in 984 games. He has a .977 career fielding percentage at shortstop and a .986 percentage at second base. The 36-year-old appeared in a combined 61 games with Cincinnati and Baltimore in 2008, hitting .193 with two homers and 16 RBI. He began the 2008 campaign with Cincinnati, and signed with Colorado in May after being designated for assignment by the Reds. The Mexico-born Castro was traded to Baltimore on July 19, and he served as the Orioles’ every-day shortstop through the end of the season.
Right-hander Yhency Brazoban missed the majority of the 2008 season with right shoulder ailments stemming from a torn labrum in 2007. He appeared in two games with the Dodgers, and made 25 other appearances with Triple-A Las Vegas, Double-A Jacksonville, the Gulf Coast League Dodgers, and the Dominican Summer League Dodgers. In five big league seasons from 2004-08, all with the Dodgers, the 28-year-old is 10-12 with 21 saves and a 4.70 ERA in 116 games. In 2004, his rookie season, he posted a 2.48 ERA in 31 games. In 2005, he led the Dodgers with 21 saves.
Left-hander Carmen Cali has played parts of three Major League seasons in 2004-05 (Cardinals) and 2007 (Twins), posting a 6.55 ERA in a combined 50 games. The 30-year-old spent the entire 2008 season with Minnesota’s Triple-A Rochester club, going 5-1 with two saves and a 4.52 ERA in 50 games (two starts). He was a 10th-round selection of St. Louis in 2000.
Right-hander Travis Chick, a Texas native selected by the Marlins in the 14th round of the 2002 draft, is 40-38 with a 4.26 ERA in 166 minor league games (121 starts). He spent the majority of the 2008 season with Seattle’s Double-A West Tennessee club, and ended the season with Triple-A Tacoma, where he went 3-1 with a 1.91 ERA in five starts. The 24-year-old appeared in three games with the Mariners in 2006 for his lone Major League experience.
Right-hander Nick DeBarr went 7-5 with one save and a 4.73 ERA in 50 games in 2008 in his Triple-A debut with Tampa Bay’s Durham affiliate. He is 30-26 with 14 saves and a 4.10 ERA in 210 minor league games (39 starts) over six seasons since being selected by Tampa Bay in the 14th round of the 2002 draft. The 25-year-old, who grew up in the Bay Area, has pitched exclusively as a reliever in each of the last three seasons.
Outfielder/first baseman Mitch Jones signed with the Dodgers in June 2008 after beginning the season in Japan, and batted .275 with 16 homers and 45 RBI in just 54 games with Triple-A Las Vegas. The 31-year-old, who played his college ball at Arizona State University, is batting .250 with 200 homers and 651 RBI in 961 minor league games since being selected by the Yankees in the seventh round of the 2000 draft. Jones also was in the Dodgers organization in 2007, batting .303 with 19 homers and 60 RBI in 52 games with Las Vegas before being released in June to play in Japan.
Infielder Hector Luna spent nearly the entire 2008 season with Toronto’s Triple-A Syracuse club, batting .280 with 24 doubles, 11 homers, and 43 RBI in 116 games. He enjoyed one stint with the Blue Jays in mid-May, appearing twice before being outrighted back to Syracuse. Luna, 28, is batting .270 with 11 homers and 82 RBI in 284 games over five Major League seasons with St. Louis (2004-06), Cleveland (2006), and Toronto (2007-08). His best campaign came in 2006, when he hit .286 with 21 doubles, six homers, and 38 RBI in a combined 113 games with St. Louis and Cleveland. Defensively over his career, Luna has played 102 games at second base, 54 at shortstop, 42 at third base, eight at first base, and 55 in the outfield.
Right-hander Edgar Martinez converted to a pitcher in 2004 after spending the first four-plus years of his career as a catcher. The 27-year-old Venezuelan is 16-13 with 23 saves and a 3.45 ERA in 176 games. He spent the last two seasons with Boston’s Triple-A Pawtucket club, and went 8-3 with a 3.89 ERA in 33 games in 2008. He became a starter in June for the first time in his career, and went 7-2 with a 3.28 ERA (29 ER/79.2 IP) in 16 starts.
Infielder Luis Maza returns to the Dodgers for his third straight year in the organization. He made his Major League debut in 2008 after 10-plus minor league seasons. He batted .228 in 45 games with the Dodgers, getting the call shortly after Rafael Furcal went on the disabled list with a back injury. Maza hit .378 in 63 games with Triple-A Las Vegas in 2008. The 28-year-old Venezuelan is batting .280 in 974 career minor league games.
Left-hander Brian Mazone went 9-12 with a 4.10 ERA in 28 starts with Philadelphia’s Triple-A Lehigh Valley club in 2008. The Mission Viejo native is 81-55 with a 3.60 ERA in 219 minor league games (181 starts) over 11 pro seasons. The 32-year-old played five seasons of independent league baseball from 1999-2004. He was originally signed by the Braves as a non-drafted free agent in June 1998. Mazone is a 1994 graduate of San Dieguito Academy in Encinitas.
Left-hander Jacobo Meque returns for his third straight season in the Dodgers’ organization. The 25-year-old went 3-1 with 12 saves and a 3.19 ERA in a combined 39 games with Single-A Inland Empire and Double-A Jacksonville in 2008. He was promoted to Jacksonville on June 21 for his Double-A debut. Meque is 17-18 with 22 saves and a 4.37 ERA in 173 minor league games (31 starts) over seven pro seasons.
Outfielder/first baseman Val Pascucci hit a combined 28 home runs in 2008 with Triple-A Lehigh Valley and Triple-A New Orleans (Mets), a year after leading the Pacific Coast League with 34 home runs with Florida’s Albuquerque affiliate. The 30-year-old, who was born in Bellflower and is a 1996 graduate of Richard Gahr High School, is batting .278 with 174 homers and 636 RBI in 998 career minor league games. He enjoyed one stint in the Majors, appearing in 32 games with Montreal in 2004 and batting .177 with two home runs.
Left-hander Steven Randolph in 2008 went 3-1 with six saves and a 2.32 ERA in a combined 46 games with Philadelphia’s Triple-A Lehigh valley club and Houston’s Triple-A Round Rock squad. He was acquired by the Phillies from the Astros on May 7. Randolph limited left-handed hitters to a .115 average (9-for-78) in 2008 and a .174 mark (61-for-350) against them over his last four minor league seasons. The Japan-born 34-year-old has played parts of three Major League seasons in 2003-04 (Arizona) and 2007 (Houston), going 10-7 with a 5.52 ERA in 109 games. He is 67-61 with a 4.00 ERA in 352 career minor league appearances, and was selected by the Yankees in the 18th round of the 1995 draft.
Right-hander Scott Strickland, who last appeared in the Majors in 2005 with Houston, is 12-21 with 20 saves and a 3.34 ERA in 236 Major League games with Montreal (1999-2002), the New York Mets (2002-03), and Houston (2005). The 32-year-old Texas native spent all of 2008 with the Yankees’ Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre club, going 4-0 with 12 saves and a 3.53 ERA in 52 appearances. He posted 72 strikeouts and allowed just 50 hits in 66.1 innings, holding the opposition to a .207 batting average. Strickland was a 10th-round pick of the Expos in 1997.
Left-hander Erick Threets, 27, made San Francisco’s Opening Day roster in 2008 and appeared in seven games before going on the 15-day disabled list with a right intercostal muscle strain. He was removed from the DL on June 2, and was outrighted to Triple-A Fresno, where he spent the rest of the year. With Fresno, he went 4-5 with a 3.39 ERA in 37 games. Threets is 14-23 with four saves and a 4.04 ERA in 241 career minor league games since being selected by San Francisco in the seventh round of the 2000 First-Year Player Draft. He is 0-1 with 6.57 ERA in 10 Major League appearances with the Giants over the last two seasons.