Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Mota adds to bullpen depth

The Dodgers made their first move of adding a short reliever today, signing righty Guillermo Mota to a 1-year, $2.35 million deal. He returns to LA after being traded away in the Brad Penny-Paul Lo Duca deal with Florida in 2004.

Mota was one of the names mentioned about a week ago as possibilities of being added to the 'pen, along with Dennys Reyes and Juan Cruz. Mota looks to be the worst of the 3, but he's had bright spots in his career that suggest he can be effective.

That bright spot was when he was setting up Eric Gagne in 2003 and 2004, where they formed practically an unhittable combination in the 8th and 9th innings. When he was traded, he never regained his groove. His time with the Marlins, Indians, and Mets all ended miserably. Last year with the Brewers was better, however, gathering a 4.11 ERA and giving up 52 hits in 57 IP.

He also was busted for flunking the MLB drug policy and slapped with a 50-game suspension.

The upside is that he's still a hard thrower and can get K's, and that his best success was with LA, so maybe he's back in his comfort zone. I don't think he'll be asked to pitch late in games yet, as the guys to get to Jonathan Broxton should be Hong-Chih Kuo and Cory Wade for now.

Getting Mota was a decent addition, but now they need to focus on the starting rotation. Guys like Oliver Perez, Randy Wolf, Braden Looper, and Jon Garland are still out there to be had. They're not superstars, but better than relying on Jason Schmidt to pitch big innings. Signing one of those guys is a must.

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