UPDATE (Jan. 28, 1:45 p.m. PT): The Los Angeles Dodgers officially announced the signing of Ben Rowen to a Minor-League contract with a non-roster invitation to Spring Training.
Since taking control of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ front office, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman discussed the importance of building depth throughout the organization while also assembling a 25-man roster that’s immediately capable of competing for a World Series.
Friedman, alongside general manager Farhan Zaidi, has acquired multiple players capable of filling voids in the Dodgers’ Minor League system and contributing at the Major League level if called upon. According to Matt Eddy of Baseball America, the Dodgers’ recently signed infielder Jarek Cunningham and reliever Ben Rowen to Minor-League deals:
In addition to veteran LHPs Erik Bedard & David Huff, #Dodgers also sign 3B Jarek Cunningham and RHP Ben Rowen to minor league deals.
— Matt Eddy (@MattEddyBA) January 23, 2015
Eddy also notes the Dodgers’ signing of Erik Bedard, who joins the team after spending the 2014 season with the Tampa Bay Rays; the Dodgers announced David Huff was one of 17 non-roster invitees on Jan. 9.
Rowen, a submarine-thrower, to this point had spent his entire career with the Texas Rangers organization. Rowen appeared in 30 games with the Rangers’ Triple-A affiliate last season and went 3-0 with a 3.45 ERA and 1.91 WHIP in 47.0 innings (34 games).
Rowen made his MLB debut in June during a brief stint with the Rangers that saw him appear in eight games. In 8.2 innings, he held a 4.15 ERA, 1.62 WHIP and 2.90 FIP. Rowen was designated for assignment by the Rangers in December and went unclaimed, thus becoming a free agent. He’ll likely spend next season in Triple-A Oklahoma City.
As for Cunningham, he’s a career Minor Leaguer who has logged time at second and third base. In six seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, Cunningham is batting .244/.309/.421. The 25 year old has never advanced past Double-A, where he was for a third consecutive season in 2014 and hit .246/.319/.401, all of which were career-highs in Double-A.