It’s been awhile since I threw one of this incredibly valuable posts together, so to get the series started again, here’s a look back to the early 2000s and a pitcher that I absolutely thought was on the team further back than 2010.
These aren’t quite as random or unknown as a few of the others I’ve used, but had been on my list to put together since I started doing these.
Purchased by the Dodgers after the New York Mets drafted him in the 2009 Rule 5 Draft from the Philadelphia Phillies, Monasterios made every one of his major league appearances with the Dodgers during the 2010 season.
Having thrown just 7 1/3 innings in Double-A and 176 1/3 innings at High-A, Monasterios made his major league debut on Opening Day in 2010 with a 1-2-3 inning against the Pirates on just eight pitches. His time as the greatest pitcher in franchise history lasted all of three days as he helped close out a 10-2 victory in the series finale against the Pirates, allowing one run on two hits in an inning of work.
After seven relief appearances through April, holding a 1.69 ERA in 10 2/3 innings with six strikeouts to three walks, Monasterios started his first career game on May 1 against the Pirates. Allowing just one run (a solo homer by Andrew McCutchen in the first) in 4 innings, Monasterios struck out two and walked two as the Dodgers won 5-1 thanks to a three-run home run from Andre Ethier. The first to score on Ethier’s homer, Monasterios had singled to open the inning for his first and only career hit.
Shifting into a long reliever role after the start, Monasterios threw 9 innings over his next four appearances before starting a second time in May. Tasked with pitching at Coors Field, Monasterios allowed four runs (two earned) in 5 innings and earned the win thanks to the offense and four scoreless innings by the bullpen.
While Clayton Kershaw, Hiroki Kuroda and Chad Billingsley maintained spots in the rotation throughout the season, John Ely started 18 games and Vicente Padilla started 16. A string of injuries to Padilla, the Dodgers’ Opening Day starter, and Ely’s demotion to Triple-A allowed Monasterios to pick up starts in June, July and August.
Four starts in June led to Monasterios first stint in Albuquerque, as he finished the month with a 6.62 ERA and a .931 OPS allowed in 17 2/3 innings with five home runs and eight walks allowed to just seven strikeouts. That stretch included the best start of his career, 5 shutout innings against Arizona with just two singles allowed, before allowing 13 runs in 12 2/3 innings. His return to the majors in July brought better results, a 2.81 ERA in 16 innings, that included a pair of 5-inning starts, but a few rough outings near the season ballooned his season ERA back up over 4.00. Allowing five runs in 2 innings to the Phillies, three runs in 1 1/3 to the Astros and five runs in 4 2/3 innings to the Rockies, Monasterios final three starts of the season (and his major league career) led to a final line of a 4.38 ERA in 88 1/3 innings with 52 strikeouts to 29 walks.
Optioned to minor league camp midway through the next March, Monasterios went down with an elbow injury after one start in Triple-A and had Tommy John surgery in July. Further elbow issues led to the Dodgers releasing Monasterios a little more than a year after he was first placed on the injured list and just over two years from his major league debut.
Signed to minor league deal with the Tigers in November 2012, Monasterios never pitched for the organization and spent time in the American Association and the Mexican League from 2013 to 2014, but couldn’t make a comeback to the majors.
Drafted by the Montreal Expos (RIP) in the third round of the 1988 MLB Draft out of Florida A&M, Grissom had put together a pretty strong career before joining the Dodgers for his age-34 season during Spring Training in 2001.
Playing for Montreal, Atlanta, Cleveland and Milwaukee from 1988 to 2000, Grissom slashed .274/.323/.405/.728 with 402 stolen bases. Grissom finished among the Top 13 in the MVP voting four times between 1992 and 1996, while earning four straight Gold Gloves and a pair of All-Star Game appearances. That came out to 26.9 fWAR to rank 52nd among position players, and 24th among outfielders, from 1989 to 1999 though Grissom finished with the 21st-most plate appearances during the stretch.
However, Grissom finished the 2000 season with Milwaukee at -1.8 fWAR while playing in 146 games for the worst season of his 12-year MLB career. Conveniently, the Dodgers were dealing with a pair of unhappy outfielders at the time in Gary Sheffield and Devon White. Deciding to send away White, who wanted out as he was set to be the team’s fourth outfielder behind Sheffield, Shawn Green and Tom Goodwin, the Dodgers took on the final two years and $10 million of Grissom’s contract from Milwaukee along with Ruddy Lugo, who eventually brought the Dodgers Daryle Ward.
Unfortunately, Grissom’s offense didn’t necessarily rebound in his first season with the Dodgers as he slashed .221/.250/.404/.654 in 468 PAs (striking out 107 times to 16 walks), while primarily playing center field. With the above average play in the field from his 20s gone, Grissom’s career appeared to be winding down. He bounced back a bit in 2002, slashing .277/.321/.510/.831 in 371 PAs, finishing with 1.6 fWAR and the best wRC+ of his career, 119.
And somehow, that was it for Grissom as a Dodger. While I was just 11 and 12 years old at the time, I was absolutely convinced it was more than two seasons and 246 games with the team.
I tried and failed to find a clip from it, but one of the final moments of Grissom’s time with the Dodgers came late in the 2002 season when he robbed Rich Aurilia of a potential game-tying home run to preserve a 7-6 victory.
Having apparently impressed them with the catch in September, Grissom went on to sign with the Giants and played for San Francisco from 2003 to 2005, finishing with 2.5 fWAR in his first season as a division rival before falling off to 0.3 and -2.3.
Grissom retired in March 2006 after failing to make the Cubs’ roster out of Spring Training. After spending one season as the Washington Nationals’ first base coach, Grissom eventually worked with Michael Harris, who credited the former Brave with helping him earn this past season’s NL Rookie of the Year.
Grissom’s son, Marquis Jr., was drafted into the Nationals’ organization this past draft as a pitcher.