PHOENIX -- The Dodgers made official their signing of relief pitcher Louis Coleman on Friday, the day that pitchers and catchers reported to Camelback Ranch, adding the 30-year-old on a one-year deal.
Coleman will earn $725,000 per the Associated Press, slightly different than the original report of $750,000 from Thursday. But despite adding another contract into the mix, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman insisted he has confidence in the young pitchers in his bullpen, and that the signing of Coleman was merely taking advantage of an opportunity in the open market.
"We felt good about our young relievers. Petey [Pedro Baez], Yimi [Garcia], Hatch [Chris Hatcher] — there were a number of guys that got very meaningful experience last year," Friedman said. "In terms of the body of work, they had very good seasons. They went through the ups and downs that young guys go through and I think that experience for them coupled with the experience in the playoffs, being around that, I think is going to serve them really well.
"So a lot of it was we’re big believers in the guys that we have — with Luis [Avilan] and J.P. Howell on the left side. It allowed us to be opportunistic. Obviously we explored things on a number of different of fronts in the bullpen. But we had a certain threshold. If we were going to bring someone in, we weren’t going to bring someone in just to do so."
Coleman, who will wear number 62 with the Dodgers, spent most of 2015 in Triple-A Omaha, pitching only three innings for the Royals. Perhaps, even though he is out of options, he might be willing to earn that $725,000 as minor league depth if he should clear waivers and be sent outright to Triple-A. Or he might regain the form that saw him effective from 2011-2013 with Kansas City.
But he gives the Dodgers at least another choice and another arm to evaluate, added to a growing list.
"We’re going into the spring really open-minded in the sense of — we have a number of really talented pitchers who are more than likely going to open the season in Triple-A. But we’re going to stay open-minded and get through this spring," Friedman said. "There are guys that are starter candidates, guys that are more strictly ‘pen guys, some guys that you could potentially stretch out to start."
Some of that bullpen help could come in the form of Yaisel Sierra, who is still awaiting visa paperwork to enter the United States to finalize his six-year contract, a process that could be resolved within a few days. There is also Frankie Montas, acquired this winter in trade from the White Sox and someone who will be stretched out to start but could end up in the bullpen if needed.
But that choice will have to wait for Montas as he recovers from having a rib removed last week via surgery. Though similar to the surgery Josh Beckett had in 2013, Friedman termed this injury less severe than Beckett's Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. Montas' injury came as the result of winter workouts, something that got persisted through the offseason.
"There wasn't a vascular issue," Friedman said. "He said he felt it when he was working out this winter and didn’t think much of it. He kept working out expecting it to go away but it just kept nagging at him. Finally in January he brought it to our trainers in the Dominican. We had him checked out and it took awhile to figure out the treatment for it."
After last Friday's surgery, Montas could miss between two and four months.
With the signing of Coleman, the Dodgers now have $207.755 million committed to 26 players in 2016, including three players not on the 40-man roster.