The fact that Brett Anderson passed his physical and signed a contract with the Dodgers on Tuesday is noteworthy. When I asked Andrew Friedman before Christmas if Anderson’s physical would delay his contract longer than Matt Kemp’s, he laughed. Friedman might have been nervous. Anderson, after all, has had enough injuries during his career to qualify for an NFL pension, from a car accident in the minors to a bulging disk in his back last season.
That said, the biggest news of the day is that Erisbel Arruebarrena has been designated for assignment.
The Dodgers could afford to cut a middle infielder with Jimmy Rollins, Howie Kendrick, Darwin Barney, Justin Turner and Arruebarrena all in the picture. If Corey Seager is able to enter the picture in 2015, one of the five would certainly have to leave. This clears the way for that to happen soon — possibly in spring training.
The Dodgers are still responsible for Arruebarrena’s contract, which runs through 2018. He will collect his full $25 million somewhere, whether it’s in the minor leagues, on another team, or in Los Angeles.
If they cannot trade Arruebarrena, the Dodgers will likely send him to Triple-A, where he can earn his way back on to the major-league roster. For now, he’s off the roster and Anderson is in.
In case you noticed, teams don’t usually cut players with four years left on their contract. But Friedman has demonstrated over the last month that he is not afraid to thwart conventional thinking to mold a roster however he wants. Brian Wilson, Matt Kemp, Dan Haren and possibly others will collect paychecks from the Dodgers next year and never play a game for them.
That won’t matter a great deal to fans if the Dodgers win a World Series. It will be the first thing they point out if the Dodgers fall short.