The Dodgers’ major overhaul continued today when they officially signed right-hander Brandon McCarthy to a four-year deal worth a reported $48MM. Few doubt McCarthy’s ability and those who put a great deal of faith in his sabermetric numbers are excited about what he can do in 2015 and beyond. However, the length of the 31-year-old’s pact gave pause to some people due to his injury history. Not only did the Dodgers take a risk with McCarthy – they doubled down by agreeing to sign Brett Anderson to a one-year, $10MM contract. Earlier today I asked Dodgers GM Farhan Zaidi about the club’s willingness to roll the dice on those pitchers.
“There’s a risk-reward calculation that all teams make. Teams always have to consider these things with pitchers and [Dodgers head trainer] Stan Conte has been very involved in our process as far as histories and health risks go,” said Zaidi, who did not mention Anderson by name as his deal is not yet official. “Going forward with any pitcher now, it’s part of the cost-benefit analysis. You could have a guy who pitched 200-plus innings in the last four years that has a really bad elbow and that could go at any moment. Conversely, you could have a guy who has an injury history that you feel may be over the hump,”
“With Brandon and the other pitcher we’re evaluating, we’re trying to figure out how they’ll perform in 2015 and beyond.”
Zaidi, of course, is familiar with McCarthy and Anderson thanks to their time together with the A’s. He had nothing but praise for McCarthy, saying that there was no other pitcher in Oakland that he felt more comfortable with on the mound. Zaidi had a tremendous amount of confidence in the right-hander, he said, due to his “intelligence and attention to detail and game planning” as well as his command.
The Dodgers GM sounds equally confident in the status of McCarthy’s shoulder. Zaidi believes that those issues will be in the past thanks to a new offseason routine that calls for additional upper body work. The “proof is in the pudding” when it comes to McCarthy, who managed to add an extra 2 miles per hour to his fastball late in his career.
Midway through the conference call, reporters were informed that Brian Wilson was designated for assignment to make room for McCarthy on the roster. I asked Zaidi if Wilson was struggling this winter in his effort to get back to his old form.
“We’ve been keeping tabs on him in the offseason and this was not a move we made out of any medical concern. It was more related to performance and it’s a position where we had to make a move because we had a surplus,” Zaidi explained.
It appears that recent bullpen additions like Joel Peralta, Juan Nicasio, and Chris Hatcher have leapfrogged Wilson, leaving him without much of a role to play in Los Angeles in 2015. Their newest addition, meanwhile, will be counted on to serve as the fourth starter behind Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, and Hyun-jin Ryu.