A year ago the Dodgers picked up Mike Bolsinger for cash considerations. That move for depth ended up paying unexpected dividends in 2015.
What went right
On the whole, the Dodgers got 21 starts and 109⅓ roughly league-average innings out of Bolsinger, who was essentially freely available talent last offseason after he was designated for assignment to make room on Arizona's 40-man roster. So that's a big win.
The right-hander started the season in Triple-A Oklahoma City, where he won the Pitcher of the Week honors in the Pacific Coast League thanks to 11 scoreless innings combined in his first two starts, with 17 strikeouts and just three walks. That earned him a call-up for a spot start in April in San Francisco, then nearly three weeks later was back for an extended stay.
Bolsinger was especially good through the end of July, allowing two or fewer runs in 13 of his first 16 major league starts of the season. He put up a 2.83 ERA to that point with just three home runs allowed, and 78 strikeouts (a 21.4-percent strikeout rate) in 89 innings.
He allowed two runs total in his first four starts with the Dodgers, and put up a 1.05 ERA in May.
Bolsinger was especially tough on right-handed batters, holding them to just .224/.282/.354 on the season.
What went wrong
Bolsinger ended up fourth on the Dodgers in starts and innings in 2015.
While Bolsinger, like Carlos Frias, did an admirable job filling in the holes in the Dodgers rotation, the club still felt the need to upgrade the starting staff by the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, and rightfully so. Though Bolsinger's numbers were solid, he was hitting a wall by the end of July. Bolsinger went through a stretch of nine starts when he lasted past 5⅓ innings only twice, and averaged barely five innings per start during that span.
There were some unfortunate circumstances that cut short otherwise promising and solid starts, like leaving after four scoreless innings in Arizona on June 29 because of food poisoning caused by bad oysters, or the game interrupted by lights going out in Washington with delays that ended Bolsinger's night after four strong innings.
But after the acquisition of starters Mat Latos and Alex Wood, Bolsinger and his usable option year became the odd man out and he was sent to the minors for August.
Bolsinger was back when rosters expanded in September, and was right back into the rotation after Latos failed miserably. Bolsinger's first start back was a triumph of sorts, striking out six in five innings in a win at San Diego on Sept. 4, allowing three runs. But after that, Bolsinger simply lost it.
In his final four starts, Bolsinger never lasted more than 4⅓ innings, and allowed a total of 17 runs and 23 hits in 15⅓ innings, with nearly as many walks (12) as strikeouts (14).
After allowing just three home runs in 364 batters faced before September, Bolsinger allowed eight home runs to 102 batters faced in the season's final month.
As a batter, Bolsinger was just 1-for-38 (.026) with a double and 23 strikeouts.
Stats: 6-6, 3.62 ERA, 3.91 FIP in 21 starts, 98 K, 45 BB, 109⅓, 1.2 rWAR, 1.2 fWAR
Salary: don't have the exact amount, but it was something near the major league minimum of $507,500; actually a pro-rated portion of, estimated at roughly $328,000 in 2015.
Game of the year
Bolsinger on May 23 against the Padres at Dodger Stadium allowed a leadoff single to center to Yangervis Solarte. But Bolsinger immediately rectified that, inducing a double play grounder, and proceeded to allow nothing else the rest of the way. Bolsinger retired his final 23 batters faced, finishing with eight scoreless innings, with a season-high eight strikeouts.
Bolsinger has 168 days of major league service time, four days shy of a full year. He has one option year remaining, having used options in 2014 and 2015. He will be under team control in 2016, and earn something near the major league minimum.