PHOENIX — Now that spring training camps are in full swing throughout baseball, it’s time to take a look around to see which former Dodgers found new homes elsewhere as non-roster invitees.
This year’s list is headlined by Hong-Chih Kuo, who signed a minor league deal with the Padres, reuniting with former Dodgers executive Logan White. Kuo last pitched in the majors in 2011 with the Dodgers, and he was last in a major league spring training camp in 2012 with the Mariners.
Kuo was pitching in Taiwan the last four seasons though didn’t pitch in 2016 while battling injuries. Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune has more:
“He threw a bullpen session for a couple guys the other day,” Padres General Manager A.J. Preller said. “He’s missed a lot of time with injury over the last few years, but I think he just wants an opportunity one more time to see if he can compete and try to make a team.”
Kuo pitched for parts of seven seasons with the Dodgers and was an All-Star in 2010, when his 1.20 ERA in 56 games established a franchise record for pitchers with a minimum of 40 innings.
Here is the list of old friends — players who were on the Dodgers’ 40-man roster, or a non-roster invitee in spring training since 2010 — as non-roster invitees in new places this spring:
- Diamondbacks (1): Rubby De La Rosa
- Reds (3): Bronson Arroyo, Louis Coleman, Shawn Zarraga
- Indians (1): Tyler Olson
- Royals (2): Brandon League, Chris Withrow
- Brewers (2): Ryan Webb, Ivan De Jesus
- Athletics (1): Ryan Lavarnway
- Padres (3): Hong-Chih Kuo, Jamie Romak, Nick Buss
- Giants (4): Jose Dominguez, Tim Federowicz, Jimmy Rollins, Justin Ruggiano
- Rangers (1): James Loney
- Marlins (3): Stephen Fife, Javy Guerra, Ryan Jackson
- Twins (1): Nick Tepesch
- Mets (1): Ben Rowen
- Pirates (1): Josh Lindblom
- Rays (1): Dana Eveland
- Blue Jays (1): Mat Latos
Perusing the list, the total number of NRI old friends seems low, but there are several others who were former Dodgers who didn’t qualify for old friend status — Wesley Wright (Rangers), Bryan Morris (Giants), Andrew Lambo (A’s), and Blake Smith (White Sox), for instance, were all in the Dodgers’ minor league system at some point but never made the 40-man roster.
Of the 26 players above, seven never actually played for the Dodgers but did see time on the 40-man roster. Zarraga, one of those seven, was called up to the active roster with the Dodgers last season but did not play.
What stands out to me from this list is that the 2011 Dodgers are represented by a whopping eight players on this list — De La Rosa, De Jesus, Kuo, Federowicz, Loney, Guerra, Lindblom and Eveland.