ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 24: Reliever Mike MacDougal #66 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches against St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on August 24, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Dodgers beat the Cardinals 9-4. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
The Dodgers have signed Mike MacDougal to return to their bullpen for a one-year deal, worth a reported $1 million according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. Yeah, I was expecting a two-year deal, too. This deal could be two years though, as there is a club option for 2013.
MacDougal will get paid $650,000 in 2012, and the club option in 2013 is worth $2.35 million with a buyout of $350,000, per Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.
MacDougal had a weird season in 2011. It looked superficially good with a 2.05 ERA in 57 innings and a career-high 69 games, but the peripherals were not as strong. He walked 29 batters in 57 innings against just 41 strikeouts. MacDougal allowed opposing hitters to post a .352 on-base percentage, and his walk rate of 4.6 per nine innings was actually his best mark in five years.
While MacDougal didn't allow many runs against his own ledger, it seemed like MacDougal allowed all sorts of runners that counted against other pitchers. But MacDougal wasn't that bad at allowing inherited runners to score (33.3% versus a league average of 30.0%), he just happened to seemingly always enter games with runners on base. MacDougal inherited 51 runners in 2011, sixth most in the National League. He allowed two of his 13 inherited runners to score over the final two months.
The return of MacDougal means there are five locks for what will likely be a seven-man bullpen in 2012: Javy Guerra, Kenley Jansen, Matt Guerrier, MacDougal, and Scott Elbert. Gurnick mentions Josh Lindblom as a likely bullpen candidate, but there is also Blake Hawksworth, who is out of options. If the Dodgers want a second southpaw in the pen to go with Elbert, the other left-handers invited to spring training are Michael Antonini, Alberto Castillo, Matt Chico, John Grabow, Wil Ledezma, and Scott Rice.
In other words, spring training isn't expected to feature many battles for jobs, with either 22 or 23 of the 25 opening day roster spots already set.