According to BIll Shaikin of the LA Times, the Dodgers are interested in signing veteran lefty starting pitcher Mark Mulder. Shaikin writes, "Mark Mulder is working out and, according to agent Gregg Clifton, could sign in one week and throw 100 pitches in a major league game in another two weeks. The Dodgers, with one starter on the disabled list, are among the "six to eight" teams interested, Clifton said".
Mulder was 81-42 with a 3.92 ERA in his first five years in the MLB with the A's (2000-2004). After being traded to the Cardinals for Dan Haren, Kiko Calero, and Daric Barton (ouch) Mulder had a great 2005 season, going 16-8 with a 3.64 ERA in 205 innings. Still, he raised red flags because he had cut his K/BB ratio in half from his last year with the A's. Since 2005, Mulder has only thrown 105 innings because of injury, and only 12.2 innings the past two years.
Here are the various injuries that have plagued Mulder over the last three years:
- Left shoulder impingement (6/06)
- Left shoulder surgery (8/06)
- Left shoulder surgery recovery (07)
- Left rotator surgery recovery (3/08)
- Left shoulder strain (7/08)
It's too bad he doesn't throw right-handed. Also note that in the few innings he has thrown he has managed a miserable 7.72 ERA. On top of that, in 26.1 innings in AAA over the same timespan he had a disastrous 10.25 ERA! I'm not sure even Guillermo Mota is bad enough to lose a roster spot to this guy.
That said, taking a flier on him couldn't hurt provided it doesn't hinder the development of anyone of any value. We're talking about a minor league deal at best. One encouraging sign is his improving velocity. His last year in Oakland his average fastball velocity was 89.3 MPH. In 2005 it went down to 87.9, and in 2006 when he initially got hurt it was all the way down to 85.6. In 2007 it was up to 87.5 and then last year it was all the way up to 89.9, albeit with a 1.2 inning sample size.
Longshot comebacks like Mulder's are always fun to root for and there is a chance, however small, that he can find some of his old form. Just don't count on it.