The Dodgers have signed veteran left-hander Robbie Erlin to a minor league contract, per Chris Hilburn-Trenkle of Baseball America. Erlin, a client of Apex Baseball, will presumably head to big league camp once it opens and give L.A. some depth both in the rotation and in the bullpen.
A veteran of seven big league seasons, Erlin spent the 2021 season pitching with the Nippon-Ham Fighters in Japan, where he appeared in 11 games and worked to a 3.32 ERA over the life of 38 innings. He whiffed 20.5% of his opponents there and posted a strong 6.8% walk rate in his brief time overseas, but he’ll now look to get back to the big leagues as a member of a former division rival.
Erlin, 31, spent the first six seasons of his big league career as a member of the Padres. Initially a third-round pick by the Rangers in 2009, he landed in San Diego by way of a trade for reliever Mike Adams, going on to ultimately appear in 106 games for the Friars from 2013-19. Thirty-eight of those appearances came out of the rotation, so he could be stretched out as starting depth for the Dodgers if they so choose. Alternatively, Erlin is no stranger to working in multi-inning relief stints, as evidenced by the 123 1/3 frames he’s racked up in 72 career bullpen outings.
Erlin produced a 4.57 ERA, a 19.1% strikeout rate and a terrific 4.7% walk rate in his 313 frames with the Padres, but his most recent action came with the Pirates and Braves in 2020. Things didn’t go particularly well in either stop for the southpaw that summer, however, as he was tagged for a combined 24 runs in 26 2/3 innings. Erlin did post a solid 25-to-7 K/BB ratio in that time, continuing his career-long trends of below-average strikeout rates but excellent walk rates. Erlin posted MLB’s lowest walk rate back in 2018 and has long had solid spin on his four-seamer and an above-average spin rate on his curveball.