The Los Angeles Dodgers designated RHP Ramon Ortiz for assignment today to make room for RHP Justin Miller. Both Ortiz and Miller pitched for the San Francisco Giants organization last year; Ortiz for the AAA Fresno Grizzlies and Miller for the parent club.
Miller had a solid year for the Giants in 2009, posting a 3.18 ERA in 44 relief appearances and 56.2 innings pitched. I was a little surprised the Giants made no effort to bring him back after non-tendering him.
Instead, Miller ended up signing a minor league deal with the Boys in Blue, though he didn’t pitch particularly well in spring training and started the year at AAA Albuquerque.
Ortiz spent all of 2009 with AAA Fresno, although he probably deserved a September call-up, based on his 3.05 ERA in 129.2 IP as a spot starter and reliever.
He won a slot in the Dodgers’ bullpen out of spring training this year, but the Dodgers finally gave up on him after he posted a 6.30 ERA in 16 appearances and 30 IP at the Major League level.
Meanwhile, Miller was pitching well at Albuquerque, a tough place for pitchers, posting a 2.22 ERA in 18 appearances and 24.1 IP, with excellent ratios.
As I’ve said before, Miller is a pitcher who doesn’t get a lot of respect from Major League organizations. He’s pitched well each of the last three seasons, yet he has to prove himself again every year.
He has a reputation in baseball as kind of an oddball. His arms are covered with tattoos, and a rule was adopted requiring Miller to pitch in long sleeves because hitters were complaining about being distracted by the tattoos.
I didn’t hear one report last season about Miller causing any problems on the Giants. But sometimes once a player gets a reputation as an misfit, it sticks with him no matter what he does in the future, especially if he is kind of a borderline player.
I liked the Dodgers’ decision to sign Miller, and pitching his home games in Dodger Stadium is certainly a good place for Miller to be. I wish Miller luck, at least when he isn’t pitching against the Giants.