LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers signed catcher Miguel Olivo to a minor league contract with an invitation to big league camp in spring training at Camelback Ranch. The group on non-roster invitees to camp totals 15, and includes several top minor leaguers in the system.
Pitchers a Zach Lee, Chris Reed and Ross Stripling and outfielder Joc Pederson lead the list of NRIs to big league camp. The Dodgers also re-signed catcher Griff Erickson to a minor league contract and invited him to camp as well. The full list:
- Pitchers (7): Sam Demel, Carlos Frias, Lee, Daniel Moskos, Red Patterson, Reed, Stripling
- Catchers (4): J.C. Boscan, Erickson, Chris O'Brien, Olivo
- Infielders (3): Brendan Harris, Clint Robinson, Miguel Rojas
- Outfielders (1): Pederson
Olivo, 35, hit .203/.250/.392 with four home runs in 80 plate appearances for the Marlins in 2013, and threw out six of 19 (31.6%) would-be base stealers. Unhappy with his reduced role in Miami, Olivo walked out on the team in June when the team refused to grant his request to be released. He was placed on the restricted list and eventually released by the Marlins in July.
Erickson, drafted by the Dodgers in the 15th round in 2006, hit .199/.324/.414 with nine home runs in 59 games for Double-A Chattanooga in 2013. He turns 26 in March.
The group of NRIs is striking for a couple of reasons. For one, the usual number of non-roster invitees is closer to 20. And this group contains several actual prospects among the 15. In 2013, only three of the 20 NRIs were 25 or younger, and 10 were 30 or older. This year, seven of the 15 non-roster invitees are age 25 or younger, while only three are 30 or older.
That is the byproduct of a mostly stacked major league roster, with nearly $250 million committed to 24 players in 2014, and few actual jobs up for grabs in spring training. Coupled with the Dodgers' shortened spring training with their trip to Australia, and there simply isn't enough playing time to go around that there otherwise might normally be.