Categorized | Mark Timmons

This Just In…


Thursday, January 8, 2008




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.

About Mark Timmons

When you see the invisible, you can do the impossible!

20 Responses to “This Just In…”

  1. Harold says:

    Must be looking for a nugget or restocking the AAA team. With so many there is little chance to make the team since we have a number of young pitchers who can pitch in relief. It would be another gem if we pull a starter out from among this group. I can't see that Eric Stults couldn't give us what any of the group could.

    Scott Strickland at one time was quite valuable as a RP.


  2. lawdog says:

    We’ve invited Mitch Jones to spring training??? So long Manny! We’ve got our new left fielder! :roll:

  3. Bill Russell says:

    Who’s AAARON?

  4. Blue Haze says:

    Sounds Jewish to me.

  5. Badger says:

    Sounds like he knows what he is talking about to me.

    Sounds like we have some real minor league experience at the minor league level. That should come in handy in our minor league system. I also think that the help these guys can contribute to the Major League team is – minor.

  6. Badger says:

    Yeah, Travis Chick, I think we read that already.

    Again, so what?

  7. lawdog says:

    This “breaking news” from “The Onion” literally hasd me laughing my ass off. All the videos on that site are truly funny. Enjoy:

  8. lawdog says:

    Sources close to Borass’ office say Manny is going to sign with a Japanese team that will pay him 165 million for a 6 year deal–plus incentives! :shock:

  9. DRomo says:

    Will Japanese fans buy dreadlock wigs? Maybe?

    Am I reading this correctly? Edgar Martinez signed with the Dodgers as a pitcher? Awesome! Now if we can just sign Jay Buhner as a 5th starter we got it made!

  10. Bill Russell says:

    The Dodgers are wearing me down. Some people are saying that they’re playing the Manny situation perfect. Some people are glad they lost out on Trevor Hoffman. The fact of the matter is that the Dodgers are pinching the pennies pretty tight these days and may end up with a .500 ball club in 2009 and a payroll of $65 million. At least we are a bigger market team then Pittsburgh or Kansas City still.
    I can see the Yankees swooping in and grabbing Manny for 3 years $75 million if this continues playing out perfect for Ned and Frank. And if they do I can see them batting him 3rd or 4th in their dead man’s row lineup sandwiched between A-Rod and Teixirea. He should bat 3rd with Tex 4th and A-rod 5th. He’s a better hitter then A-rod.

    The big news of the day is we pulled 15 players off the scrap heap to put in our minor league system. OH BOY. Luis Maza, Hector Luna, Mitch Jones. If they all catch fire at the same time there’s no looking back. Will these guys really make it to the majors some day or are they career minor leaguers that we are proud to have in our system? I can’t wait for these guys to join the ranks of our big club and fight Tampa Bay in another 8 years.

    I offically canceled my season tickets today. Business is slow, however if I had more faith in the Dodgers, I would have found a way to pay the money. I am still a Dodger fan, I will always be but my excitement is starting to fade with each passing day for the 2009 season. I will continue to watch Ned/Frank handle Scott Boras perfectly and lose out on Adam Dunn next week. A 3 year offer could have put a end to this mess a long time ago. Manny will hit the cover off the ball when he’s 65 so why are we worrying about age 39? OOPSS, it’s time for my medication, I must run. Peace in Dodgerland……… :smile:

  11. Harold says:

    Bill – hang tough. I think a three year offer was made – two years and a third year option for $60M. That’s three better than anyone else has offered. The Yankees have to trade Nady or Swisher before taking anyone else on board.
    I think it will all be resolved in a few days. Then you can reclaim those tickets.

    I know it gets a bit annoying. Yesterday I read Logan watched Kris Benson throw long toss. Maybe Anna was there as I’m sure she could throw as well as Kris.

    It seems we are going to yard sales hoping to find that gem. That’s OK for filler spots but we should soon wrap up the biggies. I also read we are again looking at Pettitte who refused the Yankees $10M offer. Can’t Eric Stults give us a 4.50 ERA? Can’t Ben Sheets be signed for a couple of years for $20M?


  12. @Badger That is a trackback linking to a site that provides updates on former Fort Wayne Wizards. Was never intended to be a comment here stating anything beyone being what it is.

  13. Badger says:

    The Fort Wayne Wizards. A Padres ‘A’ team.


    Dominoes are about to fall. Bill cancelled his season tickets, that started a ripple effect that will resonate off the walls in one of the beach houses of the mCjamies and they will come out in their deck robes with pen in hand.

    Borass is just waiting to see if anyone will step in at the last minute. I could see it being the Yankers, but if they decide they got enough, we win and Manny will sign with us. Of course, he won’t be too happy and if we don’t get another pitcher and he has to once again carry the team to an 84 win season he is going to be one pissed of hombre. If he is all we get, and we don’t give him 3 years, I can predict with a degree of certainty that he is going to be a prickly grouch by August the 1th.

  14. lawdog says:

    Yankees need to sign Manny — now!
    Comment Email Print
    By Stephen A. Smith

    Yankees Introduce Sabathia And Burnett
    CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett talk about signing with the Yankees
    Tags: MLB, New York Yankees, CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett
    The last time the New York Yankees won a World Series, Bill Clinton was president, nobody outside Chicago knew of Barack Obama, the Boston Red Sox were considered a cursed franchise and then-Yankees manager Joe Torre had a full head of hair.
    I think!
    A lot of things have changed since this millennium began, but the Yankees have been fairly consistent. Basically, winning around 97 games per season, spending significant chunks of money to do it, making annual visits to the postseason — before departing without the world championship most presumed they’d already bought and paid for.
    Over … and over … and over again.
    From losses to Anaheim, Boston and Detroit in the playoffs, to more losses at the hands of Arizona and Florida in the World Series, many native New Yorkers — of which I am one — wouldn’t hesitate to admit those defeats are entirely too painful, too vivid, to recall or discuss.
    Well, here’s a thought: Maybe this championship futility will change if the Yankees come to their senses and sign Manny Ramirez.
    It’s no secret the Yankees went out and spent $246 million on CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett. And now that they’ve reportedly added another $180 million over the next eight years to their payroll to keep Mark Teixeira away from the Red Sox, the catcalls of “Enough is enough” will come screeching through the franchise’s ears.
    But since the Yankees don’t know how to win unless they spend money, that’s just not an option.
    Yes, Teixeira’s in New York. Yes, he can hit. Yes, he’s an upgrade from Jason Giambi. But he’s not Manny Ramirez.
    Besides, the Yankees never worried about dollars before, so there’s no need to have an attack of conscience now.
    It’s bad enough there hasn’t been a title in the Bronx or an October Broadway ticker tape parade since 2000. But the fact that Boston has celebrated two world titles in that span, erasing an 86-year curse in the process, is downright blasphemous and needs to be addressed. Particularly since the first of those championships came courtesy of a historic Yankees collapse.
    So desperate times call for desperate measures. In this case, “desperate” could be defined as bringing aboard a deplorable outfielder with a suspect work ethic.
    To that, I say, let’s watch Ramirez saunter into the new Yankee Stadium and smack 50 home runs in the cleanup spot. Then come tell me what issues New Yorkers should have with a combustible attitude that, quite frankly, mirrors their own.
    [+] Enlarge
    Harry How/Getty Images
    Even with all the antics that come along with Manny Ramirez, the Yankees should absolutely sign him.
    ESPN’s own Buster Olney’s usual crack reporting on all things baseball has determined there’s no truth to rumors that the Yankees have entertained pursuing Ramirez at a price tag of three years for $75 million.
    Meanwhile, venom is being aimed at anyone publicly advocating investing in Ramirez, treating him like he’s taboo, persona non grata.
    Call the Yankees flat-out fools if they pay a speck of attention to a word of this nonsense.
    This is about winning, folks! And I’m not talking about the stretch of seasons from 2001 to 2007 when the Yankees won a minimum of 94 games, before settling for 89 wins this past fall. I’m talking about the world championships those Red Sox captured this decade. The titles they would not have captured were it not for a few of those 274 homers Ramirez hit for them over the course of his eight seasons in Boston.
    If Ramirez’s production after being traded to the Dodgers on July 31 — .396 batting average, 17 homers, 53 RBIs and .743 slugging percentage in 53 games — wasn’t enough, perhaps it’s worth paying attention to what the Yankees’ offensive output was this past season.
    They were 10th in the majors in runs scored (4.87 per game), tied for ninth in homers (180) and tied for sixth in batting average (.271). And they missed the postseason for the first time since 1996.
    Now, imagine if Ramirez and his .314 lifetime batting average were lumped into that lineup. Backing up Alex Rodriguez. Acting as a catalyst for Robinson Cano. And Hideki Matsui, Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada. Imagine, for a moment, the run production. The fear it would instill.
    And before anyone even thinks about it, let it be said that defense, for once, is not paramount in this equation — even with the potential of Ramirez in left field and Johnny Damon, Xavier Nady and their water-pistol arms making up the rest of the outfield.
    The Yankees just went out and got aces CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett to assist Chien-Ming Wang and buffer the rotation. And they didn’t do it just to move Joba Chamberlain back to the bullpen to set up Mariano Rivera.

    Well, here’s a thought: Maybe this championship futility will change if the Yankees come to their senses and sign Manny Ramirez.
    They did it to improve on being ranked 15th in baseball in ERA (4.28) and 13th in runs allowed per game (4.49). They did it to place themselves in position to compete with Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and anyone else Boston throws at them.
    And speaking of those characters, think of how the Red Sox might perform if they had one of their own to deal with and a crown on the line. Someone menacing and prolific at familiar Fenway? With big-time attitude to boot?
    You think Ramirez needs motivation to play against the Red Sox 19 times a season? Or face them in the postseason? Anyone who thinks for a second that Ramirez hasn’t paid attention to all the vitriol spewing out of the Red Sox organization — specifically, the mouth of manager Terry Francona, no matter how laid-back he wants everyone to believe he is — is living on Fantasy Island.
    Stars respond to this kind of insidious criticism, especially when it’s costing them money in the free-agent market the way it’s costing Ramirez.
    Regardless of his trifling behavior, tardiness and inexcusable nonchalance regarding basic sportsmanship — I’m specifically thinking of Ramirez’s refusal to play against the Yankees because of a knee injury that never showed up on an MRI — Manny will have no problem finding his focus.
    He’s arguably the greatest right-handed hitter in the game today.
    He’s motivated, so much so that he might even sign an incentive-laden contract.
    So damn it, sign the man.
    Now, please!
    Bring the George Washington High School star back home. Dare him to fail. And use the Red Sox as your ultimate bargaining chip.
    I’m betting he’ll produce big time, hit his 700th career home run before he hangs up his pinstripes and bring a World Series title back to New York in the process.
    Who knows? He’ll probably help A-Rod show up in October, too.
    Now that’s a merry Christmas wish!
    Stephen A. Smith is a columnist for and ESPN The Magazine.

  15. DRomo says:

    Stephen A. Smith is an idiot! He should stick to basketball and sucking up to A-hole thugs in the NBA and shut up about baseball. That guy has nothing of substance to offer in any conversation outside of his “specialty” sport. Aside from trying on his cut rate Chris Rock act disguised as a sports radio show (which fails in most markets west of Philly) he should go away until he is needed.

    OK I feel better.

    BRuss, my man. I know we are all weary of the offseason so far but have faith. It is not just the Dodgers that are acting slow. If you are the true blue fan I know you are you will get geeked when this roster is set and find it in your heart to make it out to the Ravine and believe we have a shot at some point in the season.

    I read an article yesterday about how the economy is already making people cancel season tickets everywhere. Here is what is interesting to me:
    More former season ticket holders will be home watching games (Like Billy Russ) so ratings will be even better for baseball on TV. Baseball television revenue will be the first area to recover and flourish in this economy and if you own your own network you will be in GREAT shape.
    So who owns their own networks? The Yankees and the Red Sox. Everyone else for the most part is contracted to Fox Sports or a regional network similar.
    So when you really think about the spending this offseason, and you think about setting budgets and forecasting a business’ success. The only clubs that are positive of their incomes and revenue streams are the 2 teams that are spending a lot of money.
    We may not like it but it should not be surprising.

  16. Badger says:

    I think I agree with Romey about “Stephen A” with emphasis on the A. The guy is too smug and so full of himself he just comes across as a pompous ass.

    But, I think in his own unctuous way, he is on the something. The one guy out there that has proven he knows how to close the deal, especially in post-season, is Manny Ramirez.

    I think that, no matter what the economy tells us, people will buy tickets to MLB baseball games. We are junkies and gotta have the fix. The Dodgers will draw 3.5 mil, even if they don’t make the play-offs.

  17. Mark says:

    We should be quick to remember that the the guy who’s name I won’t mention (hereafter “that guy”) did not have Raffy during 99% of his tenure. Also, he did not have the benefit of a more mature Russ Martin, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, James Loney and Blake DeWitt. He didn’t have Tony Abreu and Mark Loretta at all. The point is if That Guy comes back he won’t have to carry this team. I don’t why you guys cry so much. Sometimes the best deals you make are the ones you don’t make.

    As an example, I have watched Danny Grainger of the Indiana Pacers since he was a rookie. I saw improvement every year and now he’s an All-Star. All the players I mentioned above will be better players in 2009. With their maturity, they will perform better in the clutch, make fewer mental errors and rise to challenges.

    If I lived in LA, you’d have to pry the tickets from my cold, dead fingers. I LOVE this team! This team is the team I have followed from Vero to Jax to NLV to LA and they are very good. We have more youngsters coming who will also be very good. I wouldn’t have minded Hoffman, but not for $6 mil a year (plus incentives)! PLEASE! Ditto for That Guy! I’m pretty sure we can get Dunn for 3 years at $40 mil. We might be better with that.

    Here’s how I’d set up that lineup:

    1. Furcal SS (he has to lead-off)
    2. Ethier RF (he flourished here – why mess with it?)
    3. Kemp CF (put him in fron of Dunn and with Furcal and Ethier on base, let’s hope he sees more fastballs)
    4. Dunn LF (HR or BB with a .400 OB%)
    5. Martin C (put a RH bat here and Martin is a good OB% guy)
    6. Loney 1B (I expect to see him hit 20+ HR next year with the same OB%)
    7. Blake 3B (.260/20 HR/80 RBI – write that down – nice in the #7 spot)
    8. DeWitt/Loretta 2B (combined .270/ 20 HR /70 RBI – I’ll take it)

    Quit Crying – This is going to be a great year, regardless of whether or not we get THAT GUY!

  18. Badger says:

    You are the one that will be crying when you get about half way through those 1,000 push-ups you are going to owe me.

    That’s a decent lineup. With great pitching, it could win 90. But, that lineup, with good pitching, which I don’t know we have yet, isn’t going to win the WS.

    Down 1….. down 2…….. down 3……..


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