Kasten: Mystery Player Headed To Dodgers Camp

Is it him? Probably not. But maybe. Or not. (via)

Stan Kasten is just the best. Sometimes I think he just gets a blast out of messing with everyone. Like this from tonight, for example:

While it’s certainly a ton of fun to throw out names like Ubaldo Jimenez or A.J. Burnett, let’s all agree that it’s not going to be anyone like that, and Kasten almost certainly isn’t talking about anyone who is property of another club who might be moved in a trade.

So who is out there that’s worth Kasten mentioning but isn’t already contracted to a team? There are some pretty obvious names that come to mind, because we’ve talked about them here already. There’s utility man Emilio Bonifacio, who Daniel looked at least week after he was DFA’d by Kansas City. I did the same at FanGraphs, arguing that his ability to run and play a few spots make him interesting, and today we learned that the Royals have placed him on release waivers, meaning any team can have him if they are willing to take his $3.5m salary.

Bonifacio’s a fit, yet it’s still odd. Waivers at this time of year are given in reverse order of 2013 standings — overall, not by league — so if he fell to the Dodgers, that means that every team other than Atlanta, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Boston, Detroit, and Oakland passed on him. Is it realistic to think that no team would take a chance on him for a few million bucks, not even the Yankees, who have huge holes? Even if so, that would mean that it’s progressed from “waivers” to “he’s now a Dodger” without anyone finding out, which seems questionable.

If not Bonifacio, then the obvious path is to one of the various Cubans Dustin profiled recently, with Rusney Castillo the name that has been in the news most often. That said, Castillo has not yet been cleared by American authorities to sign, so it’s not likely to be him, nor should you imagine it’s shortstop Aledmys Diaz, who isn’t allowed to sign until February 19th.

So who is left? Catcher Yenier Bello perhaps, and even though there’s been wildly varying reviews of his talent — Baseball America‘s Ben Badler referred to him as a “non-prospect” — you might have seen today’s earlier post about how threadbare the catching is in this organization. Or maybe it’s pitcher Odrisamer Despagine, or he’s completely screwing with us, or maybe most likely, someone we’ve never heard of. Remember when Yasiel Puig was signed, and the general reaction was, “great! who?”

Either way, Kasten has injected just a little bit of interest into the early days of camp. Bless him for that.

About Mike Petriello

Mike writes about lots of baseball in lots of places, and right now that place is MLB.com.