LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers made some minor news on their off day on Thursday, but it had nothing to do with the National League Championship Series against the Cardinals. The Dodgers claimed outfielder Mike Baxter off waivers from the Mets, and to make room on the 40-man roster designated Alex Castellanos for assignment.
Baxter, 28, hit just .189/.303/.250 in 155 plate appearances with the Mets in 2013, with six doubles, one triple and no home runs in 74 games. In his career, which includes nine games with the Padres in 2010 and the last three seasons with New York, Baxter has hit .229/.335/.348 with four home runs and 22 doubles in 415 plate appearances.
He hit .289/.380/.519 with 12 doubles, five triples and seven home runs in 53 games with Triple-A Las Vegas in the hitter-happy Pacific Coast League in 2013. Baxter has played mostly corner outfield in the majors and minors, with one career game in the majors in center field, and 46 more games in his minor league career.
Baxter, like Castellanos, has one option year remaining. He also could be more expensive in 2014, as Anthony DiComo explained in September for MLB.com:
If Baxter had less big league tenure, the Mets would simply invite him to Spring Training and let him compete for a bench job. But Baxter projects to end this season with two years and 128 days of Major League service time, just above the front office's projected Super 2 cutoff. That will make Baxter arbitration-eligible for the first time, meaning if the Mets want to keep him around, they will need to pay him a fair bit more than the $500,318 his contract was worth this season.
Castellanos, who turned 27 in August, had a disappointing season in Triple-A Albuquerque, hitting .257/.347/.468 with 19 home runs, 14 doubles and five triples in 105 games. He was 3-for-18 (.167) with a home run and a double in a pair of major league stints with the Dodgers in 2013.
Castellanos didn't seem long for the 40-man roster anyway. He wasn't among the initial September call-ups, though he was eventually called up later in the month with both Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford ailing.
Within the next 10 days Castellanos will be placed on waivers and if unclaimed the Dodgers can outright him to Triple-A without needing his consent. This is what happened to Scott Van Slyke last offseason, and he used it as motivation to have a much better season in 2013, and though you wouldn't know it by watching, Van Slyke is actually on the Dodgers' playoff roster.
Not including players on the 60-day disabled list, which vanishes after the World Series ends, the Dodgers currently have 40 players on the 40-man roster.