The Dodgers brought 16 pitchers to spring training as non-roster invitees, and 10 of them ended up pitching for them in the majors during the season. Including veteran Wander Suero, who had three different stints with Los Angeles in 2023.
Suero pitched parts of four seasons with the Nationals, but split time in 2022 between Triple-A Salt Lake in the Angels system and the Mexican League. After signing a minor league deal with the Dodgers in January, Suero began this season in Triple-A Oklahoma City.
The Dodgers came calling on May 5, bringing up the 31-year-old Suero to join their bullpen. He was the 20th different pitcher used by the Dodgers in 2023, when they tied a franchise record with 39 pitchers used.
Suero had an option year remaining, which gave the Dodgers some extra flexibility in his usage. He was optioned in between two separate stints with the team in May. He was designated for assignment by the end of the month, and after clearing waivers Suero returned to Triple-A.
He got called back to the majors in September for a stint that ended up only lasting one day, with Suero’s back tightness emerging at a time when the Dodgers needed such a move to recall Gavin Stone to make a spot start.
In his three stints with the Dodgers in 2023, Suero pitched in mostly low-leverage spots — his .311 average leverage index was 23rd among the 32 pitchers used in relief — and he pitched in four different cities in his five games, though none of them were at Dodger Stadium.
Suero allowed at least one run in four of his five major league games, giving up a total of seven runs in his eight innings.
In the offensive eden that is the Pacific Coast League, Suero excelled as Oklahoma City’s closer, with 17 saves, a 3.26 ERA, 53 strikeouts, and 23 walks in 49⅔ innings in Triple-A. Suero closed out both wins in Oklahoma City’s sweep of the PCL championship as well.
Stats: 1-0, 5 G, 8 IP, 7 R, 5 BB, 9 K
Game of the year
On May 10 in Milwaukee, Suero pitched the final two innings of the Dodgers’ win in Milwaukee, securing a series win over the Brewers. Suero retired all six batters faced, with three strikeouts.
It came at a particularly taxing time for the Dodgers bullpen and functional pitching roster, with Clayton Kershaw and Suero providing some much-needed relief on getaway day in Milwaukee.
Suero has three years, 144 days of major league service time, and would have been eligible for salary arbitration this offseason. But he cleared waivers and the Dodgers sent him outright to the minors on October 19. Suero declined the assignment, instead becoming a free agent.