Following a Jason Repko induced blown save yesterday; Rudy Seanez was released by the Dodgers. Generally, middle relievers on non guaranteed contracts getting released are hardly newsworthy, but this creates some interesting options for the Dodgers. Now up to three NRI's can make the team this year, assuming Jason Schmidt gets put on the 60 day DL. More than likely, these spots will go to unexciting players; the safe money is some combination of Mark Sweeney, Ramon Martinez, Mike Myers, and Chan Ho Park. However, this does open the door for some interesting players that might have impressed in the Spring.
With Tony Abreu possibly manning second if Jeff Kent is out, the Dodgers would hopefully want someone that isn't Ramon Martinez to play third. This could open up a spot for Blake Dewitt on the 40 man. I don't think this is a good idea. Dewitt's numbers last year showed he wasn't ready, and while he is displaying decent patience this Spring, I don't think it means too much. Even Juan Pierre has an isolated patience of .061 right now, and walk rates seem to be up across the board. I don't have a definite reason for this, but I'm guessing that seeing a lot more prospects that have stuff but not control yet has a lot to do with it.
The other problem is that this is a good way to start burning his options, since he's sure to go back down when Andy LaRoche or Nomar comes back, and he's going to have a very hard time finding his way on to the roster the next few years with LaRoche likely entrenched at the position, almost ensuring him two more years in the minors, being out of options at age 25, and traded for some Danys Baez equivalent. While Dewitt may be a better option than Ramon Martinez, getting a couple months of production from him now isn't worth what will likely happen in the future.
The more intriguing option is Clayton Kershaw who has been near untouchable this Spring. In very limited action, he hasn't shown the control problems that plagued him last year and showed some absolutely filthy stuff to a television audience for the first time. If we're even considering letting Chan Ho Park make starts in the near future, wouldn't Kershaw be the better option?
There's several problems with this idea. First is that we would have to limit his innings. Kershaw has one full season under his belt where he threw 122 innings. The conventional wisdom says that we'd have to limit him to about 140 innings this year, so Kershaw would at best be a swing man, is that the best use of his service time?
Putting Kershaw on the team immediately also raises service time questions. Is it worth getting one month of production at age 20 to lose his entire age 26 season? There's also the same options problem that Dewitt has. If we call him up now, and he gets a case of the Edwin Jacksons, he'll be out of options by age 23. If we're going to call him up, it should be for good, so seeing if he can keep his walks down in AA this year is the ideal way to go about things.
In the end, the boring options are probably our best bet. The marginal gains we would get from using Dewitt or Kershaw isn't worth jeopardizing their future on the club. Or, we could use the roster spot on Joe Crede. Let's hope that's not the case.