GLENDALE, Ariz. — Some odds and ends from this morning’s media scrum with Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, plus the lineups for today’s 12 p.m. (PT) game against the Texas Rangers in Surprise:
The Dodgers outrighted pitcher Brandon Beachy on Wednesday, giving them 39 players on their 40-man roster. Beachy will attend spring training as a non-roster invitee.
The Dodgers signed Beachy to a one-year, $1.5 million contract earlier this month with up to $2.75 million in incentives.
This is Part 7 in a series in which every member of the 2015 Dodgers has his season juxtaposed with an episode of the greatest sitcom of all-time. Don’t take it too seriously.
Brandon Beachy, RHP.
Key stats: Majors: two starts, 0-1, 7.88 ERA in 8 IP, 10 games (9 starts), 47 IP, 3.64 ERA. AAA Oklahoma City: .277/.325/.354 in 96 games.
Seinfeld episode: “The Pez Dispenser” (season 3, episode 14).
Key quote: “We all want the hand. Hand is tough to get. You gotta get the hand right from the opening.”
When he first started playing catch a couple months ago, Brandon McCarthy explained in stark terms that he had to learn “how to throw a baseball again.” That’s the reality facing a Tommy John patient. It’s not that they go from being one of the best pitchers on the planet to a slightly less dominant version of themselves. They go from someone who can throw a baseball 90 mph or more to someone who needs to learn how to throw a baseball again — and then, after months and months of rehab, they might be a slightly less dominant version of themselves.
What about pitchers who have had two Tommy John surgeries?
This was always the question hanging in the air whenever Beachy walked into the room. Nice man, Beachy — also brutally honest about the whole having-to-learn-how-to-throw-again thing.
“I’m definitely going a more conservative route this time,” he said after signing for a base salary of one year at $2.75 million in February. “This is my last bullet. I’m going to make sure I cross my T’s and dot my I’s and make sure I’ve done everything properly, that I can look back and not have to second-guess anything.”
In hindsight, it would be easy if not accurate to say the Dodgers rushed Beachy to the majors. The rotation was hurting when Beachy came up from Triple-A Oklahoma City to make a pair of spot starts, July 11 at home against the Brewers and July 20 in Atlanta.
Beachy pitched four innings, allowed five hits and walked three batters in each game. He allowed a total of seven runs and the Dodgers lost both games. At least he was consistent.
The expectation at the time was that Beachy would return at some point — in 2016, if not maybe September. Ultimately, that never happened. Beachy was leading the National League in ERA when he suffered his first torn UCL in June 2012, but it was clear he wouldn’t be the same pitcher anytime soon when the Dodgers designated him for assignment July 30.
There are plenty of reasons why Beachy wasn’t good enough to stick around this season, let alone convince the Dodgers to pick up his 2016 contract option. The bottom line: Sometimes it takes a really long time to recover from two Tommy John surgeries.
The closest parallel in the Seinfeld universe is also one of the most versatile.
In “The Pez Dispenser,” George laments having no “hand” in his relationship with his girlfriend. In baseball parlance, “hand” often goes by the name “leverage.” It’s the same thing. You give your significant other a massage, you have more “hand” than you did the day before. You win a Cy Young Award going into your free-agent year, you have a lot more hand than you did the day before.
Beachy had some hand at the beginning of the season. He had potential — the potential to return to his previous form at some point in 2015 or 2016. It looked for a moment like he might get there in time to aid the Dodgers’ World Series ambitions. Then, in one eight-day span in July, it didn’t. He had no hand anymore.
So it went for Beachy. Too bad there’s no such thing as a “pre-emptive breakup” for baseball players.
Pitcher Brandon Beachy, pitcher Chin-Hui Tsao, outfielder Chris Heisey and first baseman/outfielder Mike Morse have been designated for assignment in a flurry of moves designed to clear room on their 40-man roster following the three-team megatrade completed earlier today.
Beachy, Tsao and Heisey were all at Triple-A Oklahoma City. Morse was one of the players acquired in the trade that brought Alex Wood, Mat Latos, Jim Johnson, Luis Avilan and minor league utilityman Jose Peraza to Los Angeles.
Per MLB rules, the Dodgers were required to amend their 40-man roster today. They won’t have to adjust their 25-man roster until the new players report, which could be as late as tomorrow afternoon.
The Dodgers play the Angels at 7 p.m. Friday. The non-waiver trade deadline is 1 p.m.