LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers tendered contracts to six of their seven remaining players eligible for salary arbitration, but failed to do so for relief pitcher Juan Nicasio by Wednesday night's deadline to do so, making the right-hander a free agent.
The Dodgers reached one-year deals for 2016 with catcher A.J. Ellis ($4.5 million) and pitcher Joe Wieland ($590,000), and tendered contracts to pitchers Kenley Jansen, Chris Hatcher and Luis Avilan, catcher Yasmani Grandal, third baseman Justin Turner and outfielder Scott Van Slyke.
The Dodgers also non-tendered Lisalverto Bonilla, a pitcher coming off Tommy John surgery claimed off waivers from the Rangers on Oct. 21. Bonilla was not eligible for arbitration, but occupied a 40-man roster spot. Until now, that is.
Nicasio made $2.3 million in 2015, and had he been tendered a contract would have been headed for a raise through salary arbitration. He was projected to make $3.1 million in 2016 per MLB Trade Rumors in October.
He has four years, 84 days of major league service time.
Nicasio was effective for the Dodgers in his first full season in relief in 2015, putting up a 3.86 ERA and 2.83 FIP in 53 games, with 65 strikeouts and 32 walks (26 unintentional walks) in 58⅓ innings. He led the team in relief innings and was used in a variety of roles in the bullpen, from long man usage to eighth-inning setup work. Nicasio even saved one game, one of seven different Dodgers to record a save in 2015.
The right-hander was especially effective against right-handed batters, holding them to just .226/.298/.335 with 49 strikeouts (a 31-percent strikeout rate) and 15 walks.
Nicasio also allowed just one home run all season.
But he struggled against left-handed batters, allowing them to hit .348/.477/.493 with more walks (17) than strikeouts (16, an 18.6-percent rate). Nicasio also struggled after the All-Star break, at least superficially, with a 4.64 ERA and 1.828 WHIP in 24 games, and was left off the roster for the National League Division Series against the Mets.
The Dodgers acquired Nicasio from the Rockies for outfielder Noel Cuevas in November 2014, after Nicasio spent 3½ of his four seasons in Colorado as a starting pitcher.
The Dodgers now have 37 players on the 40-man roster.