The competition for backup shortstop just got a new member, as Alfredo Amezaga has apparently signed with the Dodgers, per Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. Rosenthal reported that Amezaga signed a minor league deal worth $650,000 if he makes the team, with another $800,000 in performance incentives.
The guess is that either Nick Green or Angel Berroa, also on minor league deals, were going to make the team as backup shortstop anyway, so with Amezaga in the fold there is an option who plays all over the field, including the outfield. Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness summed it up nicely last week:
Amezaga’s terrible bat and recent injury scare the hell out of me. Now, the one benefit with him is not only is he a plus defender in the outfield, he’s also got experience at shortstop. If you carry Amezaga, you can save a roster spot and you probably don’t need to suffer through Nick Green.
The problem of course with Amezaga is his bat. The 32-year old Amezaga is a switch hitter, and hits considerably better from the left side (.687 career OPS) than the right (.510 career OPS). He has never had an OPS higher than .682 in a single season.
Amezaga's 2009 season was cut short with a bone bruise in his left knee in May. It was serious enough that he ended up having microfracture surgery in July to repair the damage. Amezaga's last game was May 16.
Is Amezaga worth a roster spot? In a vacuum, probably not. But, given that the choice is likely between him, Nick Green, or Angel Berroa, I'll take Amezaga.
UPDATE: Joe Frisaro of MLB.com has confirmed the deal, through Amezaga's agent.
UPDATE: Video of a spectacular play by Amezaga in Mexico