The Dodgers announced a series of roster moves today, with right-hander Heath Hembree having his contract selected. Fellow right-hander Jake Reed was recalled to join the active roster as well. Another pair of right-handers, Michael Grove and Phil Bickford, were optioned in corresponding moves. To create space for Hembree on the 40-man roster, infielder Eddy Alvarez was designated for assignment.
Hembree, 33, is in his 10th season of MLB action, having previously pitched for the Giants, Red Sox, Phillies, Mets and Reds, before signing with the Pirates this year. Through 20 games with the Bucs, he had a 7.16 ERA, 15.4% strikeout rate, 17.9% walk rate and 25% ground ball rate, with all of those marks being worse than league average. He was designated for assignment in June and cleared waivers, hardly surprising given his poor results on the year and $2.125MM salary.
After returning to free agency, Hembree joined the Dodgers on a minor league pact. He has since thrown 9 1/3 innings for their Triple-A team, registering a 4.82 ERA, through striking out 35.9% of batters faced in that small sample and walking just 5.1% of them. Based on those improved results, he’ll get another crack at the big leagues. The Dodgers will only have to pay him the prorated league minimum for any time he’s on the roster, with the Pirates on the hook for the remainder of his salary.
As for Alvarez, he is arguably most famous for having won a medal in both the Winter and Summer Olympics. He won a silver medal at the Sochi games in 2014 as a speed skater, before adding another silver as part of the US men’s baseball team at the 2020 Tokyo Games (which were delayed until 2021 by the pandemic). He signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers in the winter, getting selected to the big league club in June. He spent a month in the majors, getting 27 plate appearances in 14 games. He hit .160/.154/.160 in that time before getting optioned. He’s fared much better in Triple-A, hitting .322/.439/.554 in 47 games. He’s also played second base, third base, shortstop and the outfield corners this year. He still has a full slate of options, meaning a team intrigued by his strong Triple-A batting line and defensive versatility could stash him in the minors. The Dodgers will have no choice but to put him on outright waivers or release waivers in the coming days, since the trade deadline has passed.