Two things I’ve said in the recent past:
- I’m not going to write about every non-roster invite.
- The new front office hasn’t yet made a move I’ve disliked.
So while bothering to acknowledge that Chad Gaudin is in camp on a minor league deal is a pretty obvious violation of statement No. 1, the opportunity to refute statement No. 2 is too much to pass up. Here’s how I feel about this: Ewwwwwwww.
There’s not a ton of point in going over Gaudin’s baseball career, because it’s not that remarkable. 32 next month, he’s been kicking around the bigs since 2003, pitching for the *deep breath* Devil Rays, A’s, Cubs, Padres, Yankees, A’s (again), Nationals, Marlins, and Giants, winning a ring with New York in 2009. Last year he was in camp with the Phillies, but failed a physical, underwent neck surgery, and didn’t pitch anywhere all season. Though he was a starter in 2007 and 2009 (and briefly in 2013 with San Francisco), he’s primarily a reliever, and generally a mediocre one — his career ERA is 4.44, and his career FIP is 4.45.
That there’s even a plan for Gaudin at all is a little surprising, though not a big deal in and of itself. “Mediocre veteran pitcher gets a non-roster invite” happens every year on every team; Erik Bedard falls under a similar category for the Dodgers, though he at least had more success on his track record. Gaudin’s a flyball pitcher who can miss some bats but has had trouble with control and home runs, and that’s exactly the kind of guy who bounces around. Apparently, the Dodgers had interest in him back in 2010, when I wrote “he’s hardly a clear improvement over the guys already in camp,” and the “guys” were Eric Stults, Charlie Haeger, and Carlos Monasterios. So there’s that.
The problem, however, is this incident, which came back in 2013:
According to police, Gaudin was drunk about 4:30 a.m. when he approached a 23-year-old woman on a gurney at Desert Springs Hospital, three miles east of the Las Vegas Strip.
The woman told police she was lying on a gurney in the emergency room lobby when Gaudin appeared, told her “she was gorgeous” and touched her face and breast, she said.
A witness heard Gaudin say, “I will take care of you, don’t worry about them,” to the woman and then saw him touch her face, leg and breast, according to a police report.
“I asked Gaudin several times how he ended up at the hospital and each time he told me that he didn’t know,” the officer wrote in the police report. “Gaudin appeared to be intoxicated. He had slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, trouble standing still, obeying commands, an odor of alcoholic beverages and couldn’t repeat his house number, where he lives, the same way twice in a row.”
…and suddenly Ewwwwwwwww isn’t strong enough of a reaction. His lawyer’s version was a little different:
Although police said he was intoxicated, Gaudin’s attorney contended that his client was disoriented because of a kidney disorder.
Regardless, it’s more than a little creepy, and he ended up pleading no contest and doing community service. Not that all baseball players are perfect citizens, of course, but even though the Dodgers are aware — Farhan Zaidi called it “unfortunate” — this feels like a step in the wrong direction.
Remember, one of the less positive things that Andrew Friedman’s Rays were known for was collecting players with questionable — sometimes, far worse — personal behavior. Guys like Josh Lueke, Delmon Young, Elijah Dukes, and Yunel Escobar went through Tampa Bay, but the reasoning seemed clear: Our resources are so limited that we have to deal with guys other teams can afford to avoid.
Clearly, limited resources are not a problem that the Dodgers have. They have so many bullpen options — guys like Pedro Baez, Paco Rodriguez, Yimi Garcia, Sergio Santos, David Aardsma, etc., are far from guaranteed roster spots right now — that they don’t really need to take a flyer on a flawed and questionable guy like this.
Maybe this leads to nothing, because it’s a no-risk NRI, and Gaudin lands in Triple-A or cuts ties with the organization entirely. Maybe there really was some kind of reasonable explanation for what happened that night that hasn’t come out. I don’t really care to pretend that 55 or so (the 40-man plus non-roster invites) millionaires between the ages of 20-40 are all choir boys; I know that they’re not. This is something else, though, something a lot more icky. It’s something I’d hoped the unlimited resources of the Dodgers would allow Friedman and Zaidi to avoid.