Over the last few weeks the Los Angeles Dodgers had a slew of relief pitchers beginning and completing Minor League rehab assignments. Among them were Pedro Baez and Joel Peralta, who both were reinstated from the disabled list without issue.
However, Paco Rodriguez couldn’t overcome bone spurs in his left elbow that required surgery, and Brandon League, seemingly days or a week away from being ready to come off the DL, was designated for assignment on Thursday. “I think it’s just kind of changing of the guard a little,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said Friday of the club’s decision.
“We’ve got some young guys throwing the ball well for us. At this point, I think you just try to keep your best seven guys, and we didn’t feel like at this point he was one of those guys.” Mattingly also called the situation unfortunate and said he spoke with League to thank him for his services with the Dodgers.
In the final year of a three-year, $22.5 million contract, League is earning $7.5 million this season. Should the right-hander finish 55 games this season, a $7.5 million player option would vest for 2016. Though it wouldn’t appear likely, it’s possible the veteran relief pitcher could remain with the Dodgers should he clear waivers and accept a Minor League assignment.
Mattingly said the topic wasn’t broached during his conversation with League, but believes the former closer is capable of latching on in another Major League bullpen. “As a manager, you want him to be in the big leagues somewhere, Mattingly said. “I think someone is going to give him an opportunity. Bullpens are always fragile.”
Given that League was on the disabled list when the season began, the Dodgers have largely relied on Baez, Yimi Garcia and Juan Nicasio. Peralta was also included in that group until he was placed on the disabled list. League last season appeared in 63 games posting a 2.57 ERA, 3.40 FIP, 1.46 WHIP to go with 38 strikeouts and 27 walks in 63 innings.
League joins Dee Gordon, Dan Haren, Matt Kemp and Brian Wilson as players the Dodgers are paying to not play for them this season.