Weakest Links: Five Pitchers the Los Angeles Dodgers Should Lose
It's that time of year when it becomes apparent certain teams have players remaining on their rosters that don't really belong.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are no exception, and they have several pitchers that should be on their own, or at the very least in the minor league system.
Here are five pitchers the Dodgers could do without, and why.
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The situational left-hander was another big named acquired at the trade deadline in the final hours by General Manager Ned Colletti. Like several of Colletti's moves, Sherrill was impressive early, but shouldn't factor in to Los Angeles' plans long term.
Sherrill struggled early in 2010, reportedly due in large part to a mechanical flaw in his delivery. To date, Sherrill still has more walks than strikeouts recorded (21/19). His 1-2 record and 6.21 ERA has helped the Dodgers bullpen rank second-worst in the National League since the All-Star break.
Not only has the burly lefty struggled this season, but his high contract value makes him easily expendable at the end of the season. Sherrill is making $4.5 million this season with the one year contract he signed on January 19 to avoid arbitration.
The Dodgers waived him once, but no team even came in for a closer look, so Los Angeles retained him in an attempt to maximize use of their investment.
At the end of the season, expect Sherrill to be a free agent, possibly moving back to the American League for a much lower salary. George may have something left in the tank, but the Dodgers won't have the allowance to risk it in 2011.
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Perhaps this fruit was plucked from the vine slightly before it ripened. Carlos Monasterios shows enormous potential, but looks like the Rookie of the Year as of late, having realized his arm is back to normal.
Monasterios impressed scouts and coaches so much, the Dodgers offered him a spot on the roster, first in the rotation, followed by the bullpen.
In the absence of Ronald Belisario early in the season, Monasterios was fit into the rotation in spot starts while the Dodgers decided what to do with him. When he proved ineffective at eating up innings, manager Joe Torre decided to move him to the bullpen in shorter stints.
However, Torre possibly over-worked the youngster, and Monasterios spent some time on the disabled list, likely due to fatigue.
Monasterios is only 24 years of age, and has plenty of time to fine-tune his abilities as a Major League pitcher. However, it may be best for the organization to return him to the Triple-A roster for next season. Consider it an investment for the future. That is, if the Dodgers have one should Frank McCourt remain as owner of the franchise.
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Jonathan Broxton hits this list as a debatable pick. It's hard for Dodgers fans to let go of the idea of a new era Eric Gagne. A fire-baller like Broxton can electrify crowds and intimidate opposing batters. Gagne's saves streak was legendary, and maybe the organization needs a new attraction to draw fans.
Broxton just hasn't been that guy this season. When a pitcher features only a fastball and a minimal-movement slider, effectiveness only comes with velocity. It would be difficult for the Dodgers and fans to miss the decline of velocity on Broxton's fastball. Once routinely touching triple digits, Broxton's four-seam fastball has been topping out in the mid-90's as of late.
The biggest case for sending Broxton on his way may lie with the pitchers around him in the bullpen. The emergence of rookie Kenley Jansen and the acquisition of veteran closer Octavio Dotel provides the Dodgers with some breathing room.
It is still very possible the Dodgers will attempt to re-sign Dotel, and very likely Jansen will remain in the organization, even if it's at Triple-A for the Albuquerque Isotopes.
Broxton is the most expensive option for Los Angeles in the closer role. He is still under contract through 2011, and is set to make $7M next season. Dotel has a club option for $4.5M next season while Jansen's figures aren't even close to that, having signed as an amateur from the Netherlands.
"Big John" may still have some trade value on the open market, and perhaps the Dodgers will explore options in the offseason.
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Chad Billingsley is on the list for a slightly different reason than the other pitchers on this list. While the Dodgers appear to have several pitchers that belong in the minors or on the free agent market, Billingsley is major league quality.
The 26-year-old righty is certainly not washed up.
However, the main reason Billingsley is still on the roster lies with necessity. The Dodgers simply cannot afford to trade him, and perhaps missed out at the trade deadline because they couldn't fill the void he would leave behind. Several times Los Angeles has had the opportunity to trade their starter away for reinforcements, but the Dodgers can't seem to end their love affair with their idea of the future.
The main problem with the youngster is his lack of reliability. When Billingsley is on, he is as effective as most major league aces. On the other hand, Billingsley can be ineffective at times, turning the game ball over to a ill-equipped bullpen.
Billingsley currently makes $3.85M and will be a free agent at the end of the season. Perhaps the Dodgers would be better off testing the free agent market than taking a chance on Billingsley and a higher salary figure.
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Ramon Troncoso is perhaps the weakest link in the Dodgers' bullpen. He looks like he's trying to skip rocks on the mound, except the rocks are bouncing backward and very far.
The right-handed "reliever" was lights out for Los Angeles last season, providing a workhorse work ethic while appearing in 73 games while posting a 2.72 ERA in 82.2 innings pitched.
However, the script was flipped for Troncoso in 2010. Manager Joe Torre may have over-worked him out of the 'pen, and it result was a visit to the disabled list. Troncoso was never really effective in relief, appearing in just 44 games to date with a 1-3 record and a 4.84 ERA.
Troncoso should find himself in the minors to start 2011, or with another team.