The MLB season is a grind that can wear any team down, and a roster can be a hit with just a couple of key players. There have been reports that the Red Sox and the Dodgers have shown an interest in Alexi Ogando. On Friday, two dozen teams were on hand to watch former Ranger Ogando as the 31 years old free agent showcased his talent. It is still unclear what it will take to have his signature. All in all, he will most likely settle for a contract with performance- based incentives given that he was limited by elbow and shoulder injuries during the last two seasons.
In the course of his first four years in the MLB, Ogando showed a promising career with the Texas Rangers. Between the bullpen and rotation, he threw 381 innings split and recorded a 3.12 ERA on 117 walks and 303 strikeouts. However, it appears as if being jerked back and forth has eventually caught up with him. In 213, he endured several injury sidelines, completely falling apart in 2014. He finished last year with a mere 25 innings pitched, together with a 6.84 ERA and 5.40 walk rate per nine innings. This is hardly surprising, given that the player has experienced a sharp decline in both strikeouts and velocity in 2013.
It is reported that the Red Sox are in search for a reliever who can pick up strikeouts. Alexi Ogando has been exactly that at certain times in his career. As a matter of fact, he has averaged 8.6K/9 even in the face of the injuries he suffered from. If the Rex Sox have an interest in him, they obviously expect him to reprise the form he had before 2014. The best chance for this to happen would be if the team establishes him as a reliever and never look back. This will not be much of an issue considering that the Red Sox have lots of other major and minor league starters who play in a swingman role can should it be necessary.
In his first-ever arbitration eligible season, Ogando made $2.6 million. Considering that he is has just completed a disastrous season that has made him a non-tender, it is likely that the Red Sox will not have to invest too much to sign him. After that, the team still has one year of arbitration in 2016 if he proves to be a success. If he endures a disastrous season like 2014, then the team can move on without many problems.
Realistically, Ogando does not cost much more than a roster spot for a team that is okay with pushing its budget on a one-year basis. The roster spot would otherwise go to any of several players without Ogando’s MLB experience and success. Should this be the case, then it is difficult not to see this as an upgrade, albeit an uncertain one. On the bright side, Ogando comes with some notable upside. If he regains his old form, he will instantly become one of the team’s best relievers.
All in all, it could still be tough for the Boston Red Sox to sign Ogando if the Dodgers want his signature as well. The two are highly competitive teams. However, for a free agent reliever attempting to resuscitate his career, Red sox seems far less inviting than the Dodgers.
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