Old friends Brandon Morrow, Jimmy Nelson, Brock Stewart among 5 given MiLB contracts by Dodgers

Photo: Stacie Wheeler

The Dodgers announced the signings of Brandon Morrow, Jimmy Nelson, Brock Stewart, James Pazos, and Carlos Asuaje to minor-league deals with invites to Spring Training.

Morrow, 36, is a welcome returnee and he’s a guy that Dodgers fans should be rooting for to get back on his feet a bit. After his stellar 2017 that unfortunately culminated with him looking overworked in the World Series (not to mention victimized by the Astros’ cheating), injuries quickly befell him and he hasn’t actually pitched since 2018. Granted, he did have a 1.47 ERA that year in 30.2 innings and his velocity maintained, but after missing the end of 2018 due to his back and both 2019 and 2020 due to his elbow, generally speaking missing 2.5 years isn’t the best sign for a pitcher at the back-end of his career.

The 31-year-old Nelson was signed by the Dodgers last year as a low-cost pickup that they hoped would contribute in the pen and maybe make a start here or there. He ended up never throwing a pitch for the Dodgers after back surgery and has now pitched 22 innings since 2017. Like with Morrow, the upside is there but that’s a long layoff.

Brock Brock is now 29, and after showing some promise in 2018 with the Dodgers, has been released by two other teams as well. He has never quite figured it out in the majors, posting a 6.05 ERA in 105.2 innings as a starter and reliever. Assuming his arm is still intact, he has swingman potential, but maybe not the upside that the Dodgers are getting with the other two.

Pazos is a 29-year-old lefty who is potential quality depth. Because of the arms in the system it’ll be tough to crack this roster, but from 2017 to 2019 with the Mariners and Rockies, Pazos did put up a 3.24 ERA in 114 relief innings, which is nothing to sneeze at. Of course, he’s available because he had a 16.88 ERA last year in Colorado, but assuming he can be that old guy again, it’s not a stretch that he could contribute.

Former Padre Asuaje is now 29 and back from Korea. In the majors, he never hit much, slashing .240/.312/.329/.641 in 586 PA. That didn’t change a whole lot in the KBO, posting a .252/.356/.368/.724 slash for Lotte in 2019. He has since hit well in the Dominican Winter League (.984 OPS in 49 PA), and has played second, third, and some outfield in his career, so a potential utility role is possible.

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Brock, Pazos, and Asuaje seem to be primarily for organizational depth purposes, but the Dodgers obviously had Nelson in mind for the MLB roster last year and Morrow seems like an ideal bounceback candidate they seek if the stuff is still there. It should be interesting to watch how their stuff is in Spring Training, whenever that ends up being, as they could definitely play major roles for the Dodgers in 2021.

About Chad Moriyama

Chad Moriyama
"A highly rational Internet troll." - Los Angeles Times