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Will the Dodgers cut Brandon League and eat $17 million?

Mar 11, 2014, 10:47 AM EDT

Arizona Diamondbacks v Los Angeles Dodgers Getty Images

This time last year Brandon League had just signed a three-year, $22.5 million contract to become the Dodgers’ closer and now he’s in danger of not even making the team out of spring training.

League was awful last season, losing the closer gig and being demoted to a mop-up role while posting a 5.30 ERA in 54 innings, and if there’s one team that won’t base a roster decision on simply owing someone a bunch of money it’s probably the Dodgers.

Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times notes that they’re stacked with bullpen options, both in terms of established veterans (many of whom have closing experience) and higher-upside young arms. League, meanwhile, has a 16.88 ERA this spring.

Dilbeck speculates that League will make the team, but be on a very short leash to begin the season. Whatever the case, a contract that was immediately mocked is now looking even worse than anyone could have imagined. Maybe the Dodgers will eat a big portion of the remaining money just to get another team to take League off their hands?

  1. blabidibla - Mar 11, 2014 at 11:08 AM

    This signing made no sense at the time, especially when you consider he was promised the closer role.

    He did everything to prove the prognosticators right. One of many contracts the Dodgers will grow to regret.

  2. karlkolchak - Mar 11, 2014 at 11:38 AM

    In that picture, League looks like an overgrown, tattooed Charlie Brown.

    • dcarroll73 - Mar 11, 2014 at 3:47 PM

      Well played, sir! All it lacks is the little thought-balloon with “Good grief!”
      (If only they’d signed Peppermint Patty, they could have had that championship.)

  3. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Mar 11, 2014 at 11:56 AM

    I don’t know. They only have 4 Proven Closers (c) on the roster right now. They might be a little thin on cred if they cut him.

    • davidpom50 - Mar 11, 2014 at 12:48 PM

      I count five… Kenley Jansen, Brian Wilson, Chris Perez, Javy Guerra, Brandon League

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Mar 11, 2014 at 1:01 PM

        I don’t know if Javy counts as officially Proven with a capital P. We will have to ask Brian McCann or Dallas Braden to consult the Unwritten Rule Book on this one.

      • davidpom50 - Mar 11, 2014 at 1:04 PM

        Hmmm… good point. At 29 career Saves, he might be 1 short of proven closer status.

        I anxiously await answers from McCann. You might also want to crowd source the answer from The Best Fans In Baseball, to get input on what constitutes Proven status according to the Cardinal Way.

    • Patrick R. - Mar 11, 2014 at 1:08 PM

      Did you mean #provencloser ?

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Mar 11, 2014 at 1:37 PM

        ARGH! There is a spider in the middle of your sentence! Kill it!

  4. gattaga72 - Mar 11, 2014 at 12:03 PM

    Colletii is not the best of GMs …he doesn’t get The blame deserves!!!!! He has made some pretty bad signings during his tenure with the dodgers but he seems to always slide out of it of act like he had nothing to do with it!!!! Don’t like him as a GM at all

  5. unclemosesgreen - Mar 11, 2014 at 12:04 PM

    $17 million to throw League under the Sea. The wisdom of throwing huge contracts at relievers continues to baffle.

    • dcarroll73 - Mar 11, 2014 at 3:50 PM

      Why do I think there’s a Jules Verne joke lurking in the depths around here?

      • ctw2450 - Mar 12, 2014 at 2:47 AM

        Why am I thinking SpongeBob Squarepants?

  6. moogro - Mar 11, 2014 at 12:33 PM

    Oof. That contract was a stinker.

  7. denny65 - Mar 11, 2014 at 2:17 PM

    I did a little dance when the Mariners’ Jack Z jumped this guy, ugly tattoos and all, wondering at the time what in the world the Dodgers were thinking.

    • lanflfan - Mar 11, 2014 at 3:20 PM

      How has Dontrelle Willis gotten so many chances? There is a long list of pitchers with decent to good raw stuff who failed to harness it, and were given many chances by multiple teams.

  8. zdravit - Mar 11, 2014 at 2:21 PM

    You could ask the same question for any of their other overpaid, worthless players. Leave Brandon alone.

  9. proudlycanadian - Mar 11, 2014 at 2:42 PM

    If League is placed on waivers, nobody would pick up his contract, and the Dodgers would be on the hook for everything. In that scenario, League could go home to Hawaii, and be a surfer dude with no money woes. Thus, I suspect that the Dodgers would try to make him pitch for his money. They might trade him for a prospect and absorb most of the millions on his remaining contract.

    • moogro - Mar 11, 2014 at 6:38 PM


  10. flash8910 - Mar 11, 2014 at 3:30 PM

    Come on. This is the MLB in 2014. Mediocre pitchers get $10 million per season. There will be at least one time so desperate that they would love to have him. Dodgers may eat some salary, but not $17 million.

  11. chunkala - Mar 11, 2014 at 4:55 PM

    How do you pitch bad in LA? Super pitchers park.

  12. senioreditor2 - Mar 11, 2014 at 4:59 PM

    Maybe Atlanta would unload Uggla for him? He’s probably better then any option they have right now and any arm is always useful, even in mop-up. 26 mil vs 17 mil

  13. chargrz - Mar 11, 2014 at 5:01 PM

    Does Magic Johnson get credit for this signing also?

  14. jkaflagg - Mar 12, 2014 at 1:47 AM

    Not defending the deal by any means, but you have to look at in context….League pitched well for LA the second half of 2012, and he had that opportunity because the awesomely talented Kenley Jansen had some troublesome health problems that made his future somewhat cloudy…..While the Dodgers pronounced League the closer after signing the deal, anyone could see that if Jansen regained his health, he would eventually take over the role, which was exactly what happened. The Dodgers undoubtedly hoped League would pitch well enough take the 7th or 8th innings (and perhaps be used as trade bait), but when he didn’t Withrow emerged and then Wilson was signed, and then Perez added this year as well. League was always an expensive insurance policy, and the Dodgers surely wish it had turned out better, but……let’s face it, they don’t even care that much that he didn’t….they’ll simply pay the tab, stock up on alternatives (Wilson, Perez) and move on ; just the cost of doing business.

  15. alexgam8 - Mar 12, 2014 at 7:42 AM

    PLEASE CUT HIM!! I love baseball and the Dodgers more than anything in the world and and watching League last year was just absolutely horrendous! I know it’s $17 million but if anyone can eat that much money it’s the Guggenheim Partners.

  16. Rick Cosmo - Mar 13, 2014 at 10:26 PM

    the first of many contracts that the West Coast Yankees does a small market team compete? consider that the Dodgers can repeatedly excrete bad deals of such proportions while sucking up the best talent thanks to a hefty tv contract..MLB needs to do more for the small market teams to make MLB fair and interesting

  17. tonyz6060chevy - Mar 20, 2014 at 2:53 AM

    A 16.88 ERA this spring? in other words he’s been pitching batting practice !

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