The group includes a 30-year-old veteran of seven seasons of independent baseball (Chris Colabello), a first-round draft pick from 2001 (J.D. Martin) and Nick Buss, the former USC outfielder who made his major-league debut at age 27 with the Dodgers in September.
Buss had a .303/.363/.525 slash line at Triple-A Albuquerque before his call-up, when he collected 2 hits in 19 at-bats as a Dodger. He had 17 home runs and 21 stolen bases, and a PCL-leading 100 RBIs after spending all of 2012 at Double-A Chattanooga.
As the Dodgers’ 40-man roster stands now, Buss is one of three outfielders behind the four well-paid supertars (Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford and Yasiel Puig). Mike Baxter and Scott Van Slyke are the others.
• Another name to watch this winter: Suk Min-Yoon. He’s a 27-year-old right-handed pitcher attempting to be the second player to jump directly from KBO to MLB (along with Hyun-Jin Ryu) in two years. Suk’s fastball topped out in the 87-90 mph range last season, which might relegate him to a bullpen role on some major-league teams. His agent, Scott Boras, probably won’t get Ryu money for Suk this winter, but it’ll be interesting to see where he lands.
• Are mascots, and other forms of in-game entertainment “a natural part of playing baseball in the U.S. in the 21st century”? A Missouri court is about to decide. (Attention: Steve Brener, Mark Monninger)
• Will Hall of Fame voters hold Tony La Russa culpable for his role in the Steroid Era?
• “Ce Matin La” means “that morning” in French. The sweet horn section makes me think it was a good morning for Air: