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Dodgers sign Dinelson Lamet to minor league contract, per reports

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Las Águilas Cibaeñas v Los Tigres del Licey Photo by Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images

Lost in the recent shuffle of DodgerFest and the bullpen reshuffling of Ryan Brasier re-signing and Caleb Ferguson traded to the Yankees for Matt Gage was that the Dodgers made another minor move, literally. Dinelson Lamet will be among the group of pitchers and catchers reporting to Camelback Ranch this week, as the right-hander signed a minor league deal with a non-roster invitation to spring training.

Jon Heyman at the New York Post and Fabian Ardaya at The Athletic reported the news on Saturday.

Lamet, 31, struggled last season, allowing 38 runs on 42 hits in 27⅔ innings with the Rockies and Red Sox. That included missing four weeks in May with lower back stiffness, the latest setback for Lamet, who has struggled to recapture the magic of his breakout 2020 season.

WIth the Padres that year, Lamet had a 2.09 ERA in 12 starts, and finished third in the National League in ERA, fourth in strikeouts (93, in only 69 innings), and fourth in Cy Young Award voting.

In 2021, Lamet missed over two and a half months in two injured-list stints with forearm inflammation, not too long after his Tommy John surgery that wiped out the 2018 season. Since the start of 2021, Lamet has a 6.81 ERA and 4.73 FIP in 107 innings, with 134 strikeouts and 64 walks.

Dinelson Lamet career splits

Years IP HR rate BB rate K rate ERA FIP WHIP
Years IP HR rate BB rate K rate ERA FIP WHIP
2017-20 256⅓ 3.3% 9.8% 31.6% 3.76 3.72 1.143
2021-23 107 3.4% 12.7% 26.6% 6.81 4.73 1.720
Source: Baseball Reference

When Lamet was going well, his slider was a devastating weapon. In his first four seasons, Lamet had a plus-37 run value on his slider, including leading the majors with a plus-18 run value on the pitch during the COVID-shortened 2020 season. But over the past two seasons, Lamet’s slider has been a below-average pitch (minus-10 run value), which has exacerbated his fastball even more, with a minus-17 run value on that pitch in 2022-23.

A starter by trade, Lamet pitched in relief during the 2022 season and for the first month last year. But beginning last May, Lamet made 11 starts, including three on a rehab assignment in Triple-A Albuquerque and four for Worcester after signing a minor league with the Red Sox in late June.

In four starts for the Rockies in May and June, Lamet allowed 19 runs on 24 hits in 15 innings before getting released.

In Lamet’s only major league appearance with Boston in 2023, he pitched two innings in relief.

Lamet made six starts for Aguilas Cibaenas in the Dominican Winter League this offseason, with a 5.21 ERA with more walks (15) than strikeouts (14) in 19 innings, with no home runs allowed.

The Dodgers have a gaggle of young pitchers on their 40-man roster who could conceivably start in the majors if needed in 2024. But they also saw 10 of the 16 non-roster pitchers from last spring training eventually make their way to Los Angeles during the regular season, so that’s a group to keep an eye on as well, including Lamet.