Why Not Consider Alex Wood as a Fringe Option?

(Mandatory Credit: David Goldman/AP)

For as many fans of the Dodgers who think the team will make some sort of high-impact move in the six weeks remaining before pitchers and catchers file into spring camp, there’s probably an equal amount who think the roster will stay relatively the same.

Aside from adding righty releiver Blake Treinen to the bullpen mix about a month ago, management has been very quiet with any alterations to the roster, unless you consider the signing of journeyman catcher Rocky Gale significant.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been discussing why it’s not paramount for the Dodgers to make any glaring changes to the roster right now, despite there being a handful of clubs lurking about—specifically in the American League—that are conceivably built much better for a World Championship.

Regardless, there should be more than enough firepower in the tank to control the National League West in the first half of the season, then upgrade where needed at the summer trade deadline. Besides, as of right now, the free agent market is mostly depleted, while some of the most attractive players regarding potential trades are members of teams that think they’ll contend in 2020. Once some of those teams fall out of contention after the 2020 All-Star break, the trade market should become much more appealing.

Another thing we’ve talked about to some length is the team’s depth as far as starting pitching goes. Right now, the front five would consist of Walker BuehlerClayton KershawKenta MaedaJulio Urias and one of either Dustin MayTony Gonsolin or Ross Stripling. However, there’s not a whole lot of depth beyond those seven pitchers. In our analysis, we stated that the Dodgers used 11 different starting pitchers both last season and in 2018. Unless the team is prepared to use guys like Mitchell White or Dennis Santana for some big league service time, management might need to make an addition or two as far as experienced arms go.

One of the short-term fixes that came to my mind was the possible addition of free agent lefty Alex Wood. The former Dodger is still sitting towards the bottom of the free agent board in terms of demand. As our friend Connor Byrne at MLBTR stated recently, there haven’t even been any whispers of the Charlotte native garnering interest from anyone at all.

Originally, back in 2015, Wood came to Los Angeles in a cluster of a trade that involved players like  Jim JohnsonJose PerazaBronson Arroyo, Luis AvilanHector Olivera and Paco Rodriguez, among several others. Last winter, the Dodgers traded Wood, Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig and Kyle Farmer to the Reds for Homer BaileyJeter Downs, and Josiah Gray.

Sandwiched in between those deals were quite a few injuries. Still, while wearing Dodger Blue in 2017, Wood had one of the best years of his career, earning a selection the the NL All-Star squad while putting up a 16-3 record with a 2.72 ERA alongside 151 punchouts over 25 starts.

The Reds thought that they had a potential gem in the receiving end of the deal, but Wood landed on the injured list with a back injury just before Opening Day last year. He recovered in time to make seven starts in August, but the injury to his back returned, keeping him on the shelf for the remainder of the season.

Last season—which was the final year of his contract—Wood earned $9.65 million, but there’s no conceivable way he earns anywhere near that number in 2020 unless he signs a deal laden with incentives. Perhaps the biggest dilemma with Wood latching on somewhere is that he has no player options remaining, which complicates things regarding roster flexibility. Theoretically, he could be had on a minors deal, although the amount of money would be significantly less than his target amount.

The Dodgers have had some success with reclamation projects in the past. Specifically, Daniel Hudson and Brandon Morrow come to mind. Hudson had no options remaining in 2018 and his contract needed to be purchased from Triple-A Oklahoma City before he threw in the bigs. Veteran right-handers Justin Masterson and Jair Jurrjens were on similar paths back in 2017, although neither ended up throwing at the major league level. Jurrjens was eventually suspended mid-season following a positive test for steroids.

In any event, if there’s a way to work a deal, I think that Wood could be useful to the Dodgers, so long as he can stay healthy. Even if his future team would need help in the relief department, Wood’s career numbers as a reliever are far better than those as a starter. Over 43 lifetime relief appearances, he has tallied a 2.70 ERA with 54 strikeouts over an even 50 innings pitched.

Of course, there’s always the chance of a future injury. Some pundits have been saying for years that Wood’s herky-jerky delivery could potentially be a recipe for disaster.

Steamer apparently thinks Wood will land somewhere. According to the 2020 projections on Fangraphs, he will tally an 8-8 record with a 4.47 ERA and a 1.6 WAR over 24 starts and 136 innings pitched.

Even if Wood doesn’t end up in Los Angeles—which is very remote, at best—it will still be interesting to see how the next few years of his career unfold, particularly if he can avoid the injury list.



30 thoughts on “Why Not Consider Alex Wood as a Fringe Option?

  1. I would be very surprised to see Wood wind up with a major league contract. As you said, he’s out of options and that coupled with his back injury from last year makes it unlikely that most teams would risk having to keep him on the MLB roster. I’m guessing someone gives him a minor league deal, an invite to ST and an opt out if he isn’t called up by a certain date early in the season. He’s always preferred starting to relieving so even though he probably doesn’t have many teams to choose from, if he has more than one offer he’ll probably pick the one that gives him the best opportunity to start regularly rather than be a bullpen piece.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If he checks out physically he’s worth an invite. I question whether we need him.

      We’ve got 8 starters on the list now with a few more who could be called up for emergency starts if needed. (Roster Resource) Every one of those 8 is capable of 20 starts. If 6 of them start 25 that’s 150 games. What is the plan? My guess is Buehler, Kershaw, Maeda, Urias, May all get 25 with plenty of rest during the summer. Gonsolin goes to the pen, but could also get a couple bullpen starts if the team deems it necessary. We also have Ferguson who could pick up 50 or so innings. He’s projected to win 4 this year, though various depth charts – Roster Resource for one, don’t even show him. Fangraphs depth chart has him with 15 innings. Curiously they also show Bellinger with more at bats at first base. Pollock is listed with most of the centerfield at bats.

      We still have depth.


      1. Roster Resource has Ferguson listed as the top reliever at Triple-A. Even though management said they’re gonna let him loose strictly as a reliever this year, I agree with you—he can definitely handle a spot start or two throwing multiple innings. Same with Stripling.


      2. Must have missed him. Just looked and yep, he’s there, along with a load of good arms, and one of them is not Jo Gray. He’s listed as the #1 starter at AA.

        Stripling at 5 puts May in the minors. I don’t like it but I guess things happen that way.

        It’s not an All World starting staff, but it’s good and I think it’s deep. Analysts think that it’s good enough for 99 wins. And who else in the league is good enough for 99 wins? Nobody.


    1. Kershaw and Urias/May. Time for others to step up.

      Why so fearful, oh Ye of little faith? 7 in a row isn’t a pattern. Ok, maybe it is, but 8 in a row would be really hard to do. Ok, maybe it wouldn’t, but Ohio won the Potato Bowl today. I’ll bet nobody saw that coming 10 months ago……..

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The What?? I did not know there was such a thing. And is Ohio really relevant? Pac-12 has not done great in bowl games this year. The Oregon-Wisconsin Rose Bowl was fun to watch though. Ducks uni’s are still ugly. Never fear, the Dodgers re-signed another veteran starter. Jason DeFratus who pitched for OKC last year is back. They also released about 10 lower tier minor leaguers. None of whom I had every heard of. So AF is actually back at work. AD dropped 46 on his old team in the Laker win last night. If you want to watch a good sports movie, try Miracle. The story of the USA’s victory in the 1980 winter Olympics against Russia. Stars Kurt Russell as the coach.


      2. You’re up late.

        Yeah, Potato Bowl. In Boise. They dumped French fries on the winning coach. And you know doubt saw what happened at the old site. Thought that was done.

        DeFratus huh. Where’s he been? Roster fill.

        Yes, admittedly it’s been a disappointing winter. But it’s winter. Wrestling season. Basketball never did appeal much to me. It’s played indoors.

        What I found most disappointing was the two players from this area that didn’t want to play for the Dodgers. Cole says he was a Yankees fan as a kid. So what. You were 12. You’re grown up now. You went to UCLA. New York is an awful place. Unless you’re rich. Which you are. But do you want to raise kids there? What? Neither of you want kids? Hmmm. Ok. Maybe New York will work out for you. Sorry, but I hope not.

        Is it possible pitchers just don’t want to play for Roberts? He is kinda weird with his mound moves. I don’t know. Baseball isn’t what it usta was. .230 hitters making millions. Lack of fundamentals. No complete games. More platoons than the Marines. Little League is more fun to watch.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Potato bowl may be in Idaho or Ohio or wherever but we got a few Potato heads on the Dodgers team starting with Friedman and ending with Roberts.


  2. Yeah, I went to the Springs today to go to Bass Pro shop because I had a gift certificate i got for my birthday, and I was really tired when I got back, so went to bed early, like 7:10. Big mistake. I am up for good now. But I have stuff to do like grocery shopping and mailing some things to my brother. Back in the day, I loved watching the Lakers. Especially the show time bunch. But I also loved Jerry West when he played. Best basketball nickname ever. Zeke, from Cabin Creek. Only went to one game the entire time I lived out there. Back at the old sports arena. Rudy LaRusso was their center then. But I got to see Baylor and West, and that made it cool. Only been to one college football game, USC-UCLA in about 1960 I think it was, and 1 Rams game in the coliseum, and they were crushed by the Colts. I do not know why there seems to be an aversion to coming to LA except for the non star types. And you are right, the game is not what it once was. I just watch and am amazed sometimes the amount of money, guys who would be riding the bench back in the day, pull down. I think the platooning has something to do with the aversion, and the way Roberts handles pitching staffs sometimes boggles the mind. Can you imagine what guys like Rose would do against the shift? Pete would hit .600. Brett Butler would bunt those guys to death, and Gilliam the same. DeFratus pitched some at OKC last year. He does have some big league experience with the Phillies. I do believe that AF is trying to pull something off. Betts seems a lot more likely than Lindor at this point, simply because it was indicated again that without Lux in the deal, it would not happen. Clevinger even less likely. Yeah, I saw the dreaded MT reappear on the site. He threatened to sue you again. Scott told him off pretty good.


    1. If AF makes a big trade today we won’t have to be talking about past Laker teams but while we’re on that subject Bear are you sure you saw Rudy LaRusso play center? I remember him as a forward. How about Darrall Imhoff? He played center for some of those years.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are right, it wasn’t LaRusso, it was Jim Krebs. But that game I went to LaRusso played there for almost a quarter while Krebs sat. Imhoff did not become a Laker until 1965. They had 2 other centers on the team, Gary Alcorn and Ray Felix. The team included one of my favorites, Hot Rod Hundley, and Frank Selvy was also on that team as was former Dodger head of communications, Tommy Hawkins.


      2. And don’t hold your breath on that trade. Nosler did make a valid point though. He came up with 3 trade proposals that he thinks would get it done. But he also thinks no deal gets done unless the Red Sox take Pollock back in return, other wise not enough money comes off of the books to make the trade work.


      3. I would probably do any of those trades that Nosler suggested but would rather not do the one with Ruiz if I could help it. I could see the Sox taking back Pollock if it meant dumping most of those other two salaries. If he’s healthy, he’s really not a bad player and might do very well at Fenway. After all, the Dodgers would be taking a big chance on Price with injuries as well.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I would do those deals too. Dodgers taking a big risk with a guy who only made 22 starts lest year and his ERA was north of 4. There is no way they take Price without some sort of money heading back to Boston. Plus a trade like that gets you Schlemmings off the hook.


  3. Donaldson has set his price, which pretty much takes DC and us out of the picture. 4/110. Only 2 teams seem close to that. Rumor now has the Giants interested in Puig. would Farhan really do that the the Giant faithful? I can see them giving him a 1 year deal. He definitely brings fire to the game.


  4. Scott just posted a rebuttal to MT’s rant. He even quoted you. Kudos to him for not just sitting on his hands and letting it go.


      1. More than issues. Maybe it is something medical like insanity? Anyway, I am glad I do not have to deal with him anymore. I was sore tempted to reply on his blast at Mayo. But i did not want to get caught up in that again, so I just kept quiet.


    1. Nobody important Rich. Just an insecure narcissist we both know. He bans people who disagree with his take. People like me. Doesn’t effect this board.

      Speaking of board, the Dodgers have been quite boring since their last loss. Treinen is the guy who will keep Roberts from knee jerking? Uh…. ok. I’ll shlem along with that. For now.


      1. Nice work Scoop. You’ve made it into a verb. We may not be getting any trades done but we’re definitely adding to Webster’s this off season.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Reminds me of an old Dodger – Shlem Labine. Pretty good relief pitcher back in the 50s. Saw him pitch against the Pirates in the Coliseum. Smokey Burgess hit a rocket foul down the first base line right over the top of my glove. Just missed it. But it tagged some lady right in the jibs. Felt bad I didn’t catch it. But I figure it was Shlem’s fault not mine. That pitch needed to be in another two inches.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Smokey Burgess. What a blast from the past. Always had a huge wad of chaw in his cheek. Played from 1949 to 1967, mostly with the Pirates and Reds. Did some time in Philly and Chicago with both the Cubs and the Sox. 33.4 career WAR. To look at the guy, you would not think he looked like a ballplayer. Died in 1991. I remember Sclem well. Labine made an emergency start in the 1956 World Series and pitched a complete game shut out.


      1. Thank you. All compliments welcomed. Hey Scoop. I would like to send you a copy of my new song on a CD. It will have other tunes on it also, so send me an email and I will send one to your house….


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