This offseason, the Los Angeles Dodgers signed multiple relief pitchers to both Major and Minor-League contracts with invitations to Spring Training and a chance to compete for a spot on the Major League roster.
Many of the pitchers signed have a history of injury, including former Toronto Blue Jays starter turned reliever Dustin McGowan, who signed a one-year deal with the Dodgers in February. According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the 33 year old can earn just over $3 million this season should he reach all the incentives in his contract:
dustin mcgowan: $507.5K guarantee $1.5M games/innings incentives, $1M roster bonus (1 day active). $3.07.5M max #dodgers
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) March 11, 2015
McGowan spent the entirety of his seven-year career with the Blue Jays. Rather than picking up their team option for 2016, they bought him out for $500,000. The right-hander began his career as a starter, but spent the last two seasons primarily coming out of the bullpen.
McGowan has a career 4.57 ERA, however he’s been much more successful as a relief pitcher than as a starter. In 90 relief appearances, he yields a 3.79 ERA with a .224 batting average against, compared to a 4.78 ERA and .259 batting average against in 68 career starts.
Despite a plethora of injuries causing him to miss the entire 2009, 2010 and 2012 seasons, the Dodgers decided to sign him because they were encouraged by him being healthy in 2014; during which McGowan appeared in 53 games, including eight starts.
In two innings thus far in Spring Training, McGowan has given up four hits and three runs. Many other relievers have been impressive so far, so he faces an uphill battle if he wants to make the big league club out of Spring Training.
Paco Rodriguez Working On Mechanics During Spring Training