2013 MLB Playoffs: Los Angeles Dodgers Make Low Risk Move In Selecting Pitcher Onelki Garcia

By Isaac Comelli
Onelki Garcia
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers tweeted Tuesday afternoon the news of their most recent roster move:

Shawn Tolleson has not pitched for the Dodgers since April 12 and Eric Stephen of trueblueLA.com reported that Tolleson suffered a hip injury during his rehabilitation from back surgery. This late-August setback paved the way for Onelki Garcia to get the nod.

Garcia is a 24-year-old pitcher out of Guantanamo, Cuba who was the Dodgers’ third round draft choice in the 2012 MLB June Amateur Draft. Having been in the Dodgers’ system for barely more than one full season, Garcia has had little time to give the team a taste of what he can do. The Dodgers still have 17 games remaining until the 2013 MLB Playoffs begin to test out their new toy. If it does not go well, they can option him back down to the minors. If Garcia breakouts in a sudden blaze, he may very well earn himself a roster spot.

Garcia spent only one game in Rancho Cucamonga before being sent to the Chattanooga Lookouts at the beginning of the 2013 minor league season. He spent 25 games in Tennessee before being called up to Albuquerque for 10 games. And therein lays the risk associated with Garcia.

The problem is the small sample size that represents Garcia’s relieving ability. In 2013 with both the AA and AAA affiliates, Garcia relieved in 29 games. Including all 35 of his appearances, Garcias has an ERA of 2.75 in AA and 3.72 in AAA. Only having pitched a grand total of 9.2 innings in AAA ball, Garcia’s performance is not bad, but can also only be judged with a grain of salt.

The Dodger bullpen has overall been very good since the team started its run to the top of the NL West, but there have been some shaky performances. While Paco Rodriguez has been decent and Kenley Jansen has been spectacular, in their last 10 appearances each, Ronald Belisario and Brandon League have been unsteady with 4.66 and 4.32 ERAs, respectively. A new addition to shore up the bullpen would be useful as the Dodgers head into the postseason.

For all I know, Garcia could join the Dodgers and make an immediate, positive impact. On the other hand, his lack of experience could result in a major league meltdown. The Dodgers need to test Garcia out in the remaining games and see what he can offer.

With a four-pitch walk in Wednesday night’s loss being the only action he has seen in MLB, there is still not enough information to answer the question, “Has this move paid off?” But if the change turns out for the best, GM Ned Colletti will look like a genius for pulling off this switch.

I would love to read your opinions on whether or not you feel this decision will pay off or if you think it is riskier than it seems, so please leave a comment below. Thanks for reading!

Isaac Comelli is a Los Angeles Dodgers writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @IsaacComelli, “Like” him on Facebook or follow him on Google.


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