In news that I know everybody will roll their eyes at, the Dodgers signed veteran left-handed reliever Joe Thatcher to a minor-league deal, according to Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. Despite nobody wanting to hear about depth, like with the Sean Burnett signing, making this type of deal doesn’t cost anything and keeping a reliever like Thatcher in reserve is a quality option for scenarios you’d rather be prepared for than not.
Unlike some of the other depth signings, Thatcher has actually been generally effective over the past four seasons (and for his career). Since pitching only 10 innings in 2011, Thatcher has posted a 3.41 ERA and 3.24 FIP over 124 innings (3.38 ERA/3.19 FIP career). That included a quality 9.3 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 during that period, and he has limited lefties to a .645 OPS for his career.
Thatcher spent Spring Training in 2016 trying to make the Indians squad, and in seven games and 6.2 innings, he posted a 1.35 ERA, struck out eight, and walked none. So at least on the surface it seems like he’s the same pitcher as ever.
All of this is basically to say that while Thatcher is nothing spectacular as both a reliever and a lefty specialist, he’s been quality basically his entire career and continues to project as so now. So ideally Thatcher never pitches for the Dodgers, but as part of a group of two or three lefty relievers in the minors who project to be about average, the Dodgers could do a lot worse in terms of emergency options.