LOS ANGELES -- For the second time in four days, the Dodgers lost a former first-round draft pick coming off multiple elbow surgeries to free agency. Left-handed relief pitcher Scott Elbert elected free agency on Monday rather than accept a minor league assignment.
The Dodgers outrighted Elbert to the minors, removing him from the 40-man roster, then the left-hander cleared waivers. As someone with more than three years of major league service time — he has four year, 46 days — Elbert had the right to refuse any outright assignment to the minor leagues. That right was exercised, and Elbert is now a free agent.
Elbert was drafted by the Dodgers in the first round in 2004, and spent parts of 11 seasons in the organization. He missed over two years after a pair of arthroscopic surgeries then Tommy John surgery on his left elbow kept him on the shelf.
The Dodgers also declined the 2015 club option for Chad Billingsley, drafted in the first round in 2003. Billingsley was coming off Tommy John surgery and surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow, limited to just two starts in the last two years.
Elbert was outrighted off the 40-man roster on July 31, but then he accepted the assignment. In need of a left-hander, the Dodgers added Elbert back to the roster for September, and he appeared in seven games, putting up a 2.08 ERA in 4⅓ innings.
Deemed healthier than fellow southpaw Paco Rodriguez, Elbert was a surprise addition to the Dodgers' playoff roster, but he allowed a game-winning home run to Kolten Wong of the Cardinals in the seventh inning of Game 3 of the NLDS.
Elbert, 29, would have been arbitration eligible this winter after making $575,000 in 2014. The major league minimum salary is expected to increase to roughly $510,000 in 2015.
In parts of six major league seasons, Elbert was 4-3 with two saves in 127 appearances, with a 3.54 ERA, 94 strikeouts and 42 walks in 96⅔ innings.
The Dodgers now have 35 players on its 40-man roster.