Just the Thanksgiving turkey tryptophan was wearing off, the Dodgers inked a pair of players to Minor League contracts and ended what had been an unusually quiet period on the signings front. Of course, with the franchise-record-setting signing of Matt Kemp, it’s easy to understand why GM Ned Colletti and his staff’s attention was diverted elsewhere.
Nevertheless, over the holiday week, the Dodgers added infielder Luis Cruz and relief pitcher Wil Ledezma with minor league deals. Cruz spent the majority of the 2011 season with Round Rock in the Rangers organization, batting .273 with 15 doubles, a triple, nine homers, and 34 RBI in 67 games. While primarily used a shortstop (34 games), the versatile Cruz also saw some time at second base (19 games), third base (seven games), and even outfield (nine games) with the Express. In the middle of the summer, Cruz was loaned to a team in his native Mexico, where he appeared in 16 games for the Diablos Rojos De Mexico. The 27 year-old also has a pair of cups of coffee in the Major Leagues, both with the Pittsburgh Pirates and the last of which came in 2009. In 56 career big league games, Cruz has a .221 average.
Lefty Ledezma spent most of 2011 in the bullpen of the Las Vegas 51s in the Toronto system, where he went 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA and three saves in 36 games. Most impressive, however, was the fact lefties batted just .206 against him, earning him a call-up to the Blue Jays in late July. After five games in Toronto, Ledezma was designated for assignment on August 29 after posting a 15.00 ERA. The native of Venezuela has spent parts of each of the last nine seasons in the big leagues, posting a career record of 15-25 with a 5.40 ERA in 192 appearances. Interestingly, in 2007, Ledezma was traded from Detroit to Atlanta to San Diego within a month. In addition to those three teams and Toronto, he has also pitched in Arizona (2008), Washington (2009), and Pittsburgh (2010).
The Dodgers have been busy tinkering with their 40-man roster. Just before Thanksgiving week, Los Angeles outrighted starters John Ely and Carlos Monasterios to Albuquerque. Last year, Ely spent most of the year with the ‘Topes, tying Dana Eveland for the team lead with 25 starts in which he posted a 7-8 record with a 5.99 ERA. Monasterios made one start for Albuquerque on April 8, the second day of the season, before going on the DL with right elbow inflammation. On July 29, the right-hander had Tommy John surgery and will likely be out around a year.
Next week ‘Topes Tattler hits the road to Dallas for the annual Baseball Winter Meetings, where there is sure to be much activity surrounding the Dodgers and Isotopes. Stay tuned!