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Breaking down the Dodgers minor league free agents

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22 Dodgers minor leaguers became free agents last week

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants
Matt Davidson, who was a non-roster invitee with the Dodgers during spring training in 2021, was among the list of minor league free agents released on November 7.
Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

We focus a lot on the major league free agents each offseason, which makes sense given the talent that is available in the 188 such players this year, for instance. But the available player pool is so much larger, including the 653 players who became minor league free agents last week.

That doesn’t include Scott Alexander and Jimmie Sherfy, who were sent outright off the Dodgers 40-man roster on November 5 and elected instead for free agency.

Matt Eddy at Baseball America detailed the group of minor league players who became free agents as of November 7, which includes 22 Dodgers. They fall into a few groups.

2021 Dodgers

The one Dodgers minor league free agent who played for them in the majors in 2021 was right-hander Yefry Ramírez, who pitched two scoreless innings on August 1, and taught us about getting optioned without having any options remaining.

Another who qualifies here is catcher Anthony Bemboom, who was claimed off waivers by the Dodgers from the Angels on August 9, then sent outright to Triple-A on August 14. Those five days on the 40-man roster earned Bemboom a 2021 season review, which is scheduled for December 11.

Old friends

Brandon Morrow was a non-roster invitee in spring training, trying to pitch again in the majors for the first time since 2018. But after seeing two and a half years wiped out by injuries, the now 37-year-old never pitched in 2021.

Brock Stewart, a sixth-round pick in 2014 who rode the Oklahoma City-to-Los Angeles express from 2016-19, was back on a minor league deal but needed Tommy John surgery in May.

Vidal Nuño was a Dodger for three months during the 2016-17 offseason but never pitched for them. The veteran left-hander returned in June on a minor league deal, but was never called up from Triple-A.

Non-roster invitees

Matt Davidson led Oklahoma City with 28 home runs, but was limited to first and third base. Meanwhile, Andy Burns, with more infield versatility, and outfielder Steven Souza Jr. got call-ups. Davidson’s pitching plan never materialized.

Elliot Soto played shortstop in Triple-A. He made his major league debut at the end of the 2020 season with the Angels, with all three games coming at Dodger Stadium.

Left-hander James Pazos led OKC with 48 games pitched, with a 3.72 ERA and 62 strikeouts in 46 innings.

Homegrown

The Dodgers in 2015 drafted left-hander Michael Boyle in the 13th and selected right-hander Nolan Long in the 16th round. Neither of them pitched this season, with both having elbow surgery in June. Long was also a non-roster invitee in spring training, but he fit better in this group of players who have been around for seven seasons.

Outfielder Romer Cuadrado, signed out of Venezuela in 2014, hit .227/.298/.345 in 81 games with Double-A Tulsa in 2021.

Another Venezuelan from the 2014 international class, right-hander Jesus Vargas, had a 4.44 ERA with 88 strikeouts and 14 walks in 102 innings for High-A Great Lakes.

Corner infielder Cristian Santana, signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2014, hit .311/.331/.444, a 90 wRC+ for Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Players with major league experience

Oklahoma City this year saw the services of catcher Tony Wolters, infielder Carlos Asuaje, and pitchers Austin Bibens-Dirkx, Nick Tropeano, and Aaron Wilkerson.

Minor league vets

Pitchers Bryan Brickhouse (29 years old), Andrew Schwaab (28), and Markus Solbach (30), plus catcher Hamlet Marte (27) have yet to reach the majors. Schwaab, Solbach, and Marte saw time in Oklahoma City this season, and all four played in Double-A Tulsa for part of 2021.