Let’s Remember Some Dodgers: Karim Garcia, Jeff Williams & Angel Berroa

Now here’s three incredibly random players that have no connection to one another other than they were on the Dodgers at one time. Admittedly, I have no recollection of the first one being on the Dodgers given my age and only casually remembering him from his stints elsewhere, while the second I stumbled upon while looking up a few others.

Once again, here’s some filler content for the day off that allows you all to post random comments on another page.

Karim Garcia

Originally signed as a free agent out of Mexico at 16 years old, Garcia soon ranked No. 7 in Baseball America’s prospect rankings ahead of the 1996 season alongside names such as Andruw Jones, Darin Erstad, Derek Jeter and Vladimir Guerrero. Garcia started off in Bakersfield and Vero Beach before putting up an OPS between .882 and 1.006 in parts of three seasons at Triple-A Albuquerque.

Reaching the majors as a 19-year-old, Garcia had 20 PAs for the Dodgers in 1995, then just 1 in 1996 and 46 in 1997. Going just 9-of-60 during those three quick stints in the majors, Garcia was selected by the Diamondbacks as the 9th pick in the 1997 expansion draft.

Garcia went on to play for the D-backs in 1998, followed by the Tigers, Orioles, Indians, Yankees and Mets. He managed to have some kind of an impact on two different World Series, as he was traded to Detroit for Luis Gonzalez and then had his most prominent run during the 2003 season with the Yankees, where he started five games of the World Series in right field.

I’m not entirely sure what the current day equivalent would be, but the idea of losing the league’s No. 7 prospect in an expansion draft just about a year and a half later is really why he’s included here.

Jeff Williams

Signed as an undrafted free agent on July 3, 1996, Williams joined the Dodgers after going undrafted out of Southeastern Louisiana where he was an All-American. He pitched in the 1996 Olympics for Australia before debuting in with San Bernandino and San Antonio in 1997. 

Making his MLB debut out of the bullpen on Sept. 12, 1999, Williams became the 9th Australian to reach the majors. His first career start came a little more than a week later against the Giants, but didn’t return to the majors until August 2000.

He bounced between Triple-A Albuquerque/ Las Vegas during his four years with the Dodgers, totaling 57 2/3 IP across 37 games from 1999 to 2003. That did coincide with Luke Prokopec’s time in LA, with the two pitching in the same game on Sept. 12 and Sept. 17 in 2000 and three more times in 2001 before the former was traded to Toronto.

After leaving LA, Williams headed to Japan to play for Hanshin from 2003 to 2009, finishing with a 2.19 ERA in 374 2/3 IP. He also returned to the Olympics in 2004, winning a silver medal for Australia.

Angel Berroa

With Rafael Furcal on the DL with a back injury and Chin-Lung Hu struggling in his stretch of starts at shortstop, the Dodgers turned to a former AL Rookie of the Year for help. The first of quite a few trades during the summer of 2008, the Dodgers added Berroa for Juan Rivera (not the one you are thinking of) on June 6, taking on the final season of his 4-year, $11-millon deal signed after his breakout in 2003. Casey Blake arrived a month and a half later, with Manny Ramirez and Greg Maddux rounding out the trades on July 31 and Aug. 19.

Unfortunately, Berroa couldn’t recapture the success he had early on in his career, slashing .230/.304/.310/.614 across 84 games and 256 PAs before Furcal returned for the playoffs. He did play off the bench in five postseason games in 2008, replacing Blake DeWitt at second base, but his first time as a Dodger ended soon after that. Unsurprisingly, the team declined his $5.5 million option.

Playing for the Yankees and Mets during the 2009 season, Berroa landed back in the organization when he signed a minor league deal in December before being released in March when the Dodgers decided Hu would be a fine fill-in if Furcal went down again. It was actually Jamey Carroll that would start 64 games at short in 2010 after Furcal did indeed go down with a variety of different injuries, and Carroll ended up being much more effective than Berroa was offensively.

About Cody Bashore

Cody Bashore is a lifelong Dodger fan originally from Carpinteria, California (about 80 miles north of Dodger Stadium along the coast). He left California to attend Northern Arizona University in 2011, and has lived in Arizona full-time since he graduated in 2014 with a journalism degree.