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In Which I Complain About Giving A Guy A Non Guaranteed Contract

The Dodgers continued to make little piddling moves to fill out the Spring Training roster, inking Mark Sweeney to a non guaranteed contract. I can imagine that many people won't be happy with Sweeney's return since this is pretty much the only thing we remember from him last season.

Since I'm well known for my willingness to forgive, however, I still like the guy despite his moment of buffonery. He can still put up an OPS in the mid 700s off the bench against righties, and that's just fine with me. However, problems start to arise if Sweeney actually does make the team. If he does, this will be the Dodger's bench next year.

1B Sweeney
CI Nomar
MI Abreu
C   Bennett
OF Ethier
OF Young

All in all a nice little bench, but problems start to come up when the Dodgers inevitably go up to a 12 man bullpen. If every one of these guys is healthy someone is going to have to get booted off the active roster. It can't be Bennett; we wouldn't have a backup catcher. It can't be Abreu; we wouldn't have a backup middle infielder (no, Nomar doesn't count, he can't even play first acceptably any more.) It can't be Young, he's out of options and would get snapped up by any team that needed a DH or just some outfield depth. It can't be Ethier; he's actually good at baseball. That leaves Sweeney, who would make this whole exercise pointless and pretty much a waste of whatever Sweeney gets paid, or Nomar, who I can't believe would get DFAed early in the season. The only guy remaining on the roster that would be a target is Andy LaRoche, and I really don't need to reiterate for the hundred thousandth time why LaRoche should be on the roster.

The other thing to consider is space on the 40 man roster. As of right now, the 40 man has 39 players on it without any of the assorted NRI's we've brought in this year, and there's no one that can be painlessly waived since D.J. Houlton the last guy we had on the 40 man that could sneak through waivers. This means that every NRI in camp this year, including Sweeney, Ramon Martinez, Mike Myers, and other assorted arms are competing for one roster slot. I suppose we could execute a five for one like the Orioles did, but there's really no one out there that makes sense.

Again, I like Mark Sweeney, what he does can be a valuable part of a winning team. I've also become a lot more accepting of roster depth if it doesn't make your team worse (i.e. not using Luis Gonzalez to block Matt Kemp). In a vacuum, this is a great signing, but with Nomar sitting there eating up a roster spot, and a nearly full 40 man roster, it just doesn't make sense for the Dodgers. He'll either just not make the team, or create way too many roster dilemmas for his own good.