Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Pitchers and catchers for the Los Angeles Dodgers report to 2024 Spring Training in less than one week, but all the names who may be with the team in camp might not be under contract yet.
The biggest Dodgers free agent remains Clayton Kershaw. Although he’s not expected to return from left shoulder surgery until the second half of the season at the earliest, Kershaw is adamant about pitching again rather than retiring.
Another name who could make his way back to the Dodgers is Ryan Brasier, who remains a free agent despite his market heating up. L.A. has remained interest in the right-hander as they are reportedly searching for a high-leverage reliever.
But with a full 40-man roster, they may choose to wait before making any Major League deals until the 60-day injured list opens up at the start of Spring Training. However, that has not stopped them from making Minor League signings as those players do not require a spot on the 40-man roster.
According to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, the Dodgers signed Dinelson Lamet to a Minor League deal with a non-roster invite to Spring Training:
Dinelson Lamet to Dodgers. Minors deal with MLB spring invite.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 3, 2024
Lamet has six years pitching at the MLB level, and first debuted in 2017 before missing all of 2018 after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
He has spent time with the San Diego Padres, Colorado Rockies and Boston Red Sox. Lamet was originally signed by the Padres in 2014 as an international free agent and he stayed with the organization until being traded in August 2022.
The Milwaukee Brewers acquired Lamet in the deal for Josh Hader, but he was designated for assignment a day later due to a lack of fit on the roster.
Lamet was then picked up by the Rockies and remained with them for the remained of the season and part of 2023.
He was released in late June 2023 and signed with the Red Sox, but ended up being released in August after posting an 11.71 ERA and 6.83 FIP in 27.2 innings.
Although his track record of clubs releasing him doesn’t inspire much confidence, Lamet is a high-upside arm capable of being a valuable player. His biggest issues thus far in his career have been health-related, and he has sometimes struggled with command.
However, Lamet also has a career 30% strikeout rate, which helped him become a promising arm for the Padres back in 2020.
During that season, he threw 69 innings with a 2.09 ERA while striking out nearly 35% of hitters and walking just 7.5%. His stellar season earned him a fourth place finish the Cy Young voting.
The 31-year-old has never thrown more than 114.1 innings in a season, which came in 2017, and since then his high is 73 innings, in 2019. Over the past two seasons, Lamet has not topped the 33 innings mark.
He owns a career 4.66 ERA, 4.02 FIP, and 5.7 WAR across 363.1 innings.
What does Dinelson Lamet bring to the Dodgers?
Despite his experience as a starter, the Dodgers are likely to make Lamet into a full-time reliever with the hopes of keeping him healthy.
He has spent most of the last three seasons in a bullpen role, but that also came with starts along the way.
Lamet still has a hard fastball that averages 95 mph, and he relies on a strong slider that he utilizes to get whiffs.
The Dodgers may ask Lamet to drop his sinker, which has been his worst pitch, in favor of using his slider and fastball more.
There seems to be a good chance they can get him back on track with the combination of their pitching coaches and his talent, but the key will be staying healthy.
Lamet should open the year in Triple-A Oklahoma City, but it would be somewhat surprising if he doesn’t make an appearance for the Dodgers at some point in 2024.
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