The Dodgers announced 20 non-roster invitations to big league Spring Training. While the majority of those players were either already in the L.A. organization or had been previously reported as minor league signees, a few of the invitees are new acquisitions. Reliever T.J. McFarland and infielder Kevin Padlo will be in camp, as will right-handers Kevin Gowdy and Michael Petersen.
McFarland, 34, has the most extended MLB track record. He has pitched in 353 big league contests going back to 2013. The soft-tossing lefty reached the majors for the 11th straight year last summer with a brief stint for the Mets. He was on New York’s roster for around two weeks in the middle of the summer. He pitched three times, logging 1 2/3 innings of two-run ball.
The veteran spent the rest of the year at the Triple-A level. McFarland had a very productive season between the top affiliates of the Mets and Orioles. He combined to log a 2.30 ERA across 62 2/3 innings. He fanned a quarter of batters faced and induced ground-balls on over 60% of batted balls at both stops. McFarland’s cumulative 10.5% walk percentage was a bit high, but the rest of his Triple-A numbers were quite strong.
He hasn’t had the same success against MLB hitters lately. While he managed a 2.56 ERA in 38 appearances for the Cardinals in 2021, he carries a 4.57 mark over the last five seasons. McFarland has posted a grounder rate nearing 60% over that stretch but has struck out fewer than 13% of his opponents.
Padlo, 27, is a right-handed hitting corner infielder. The former fifth-round draftee has seen scattered playing time at the MLB level, logging 26 games over the past three seasons. He has rather remarkably spread those appearances over five different times. Padlo has played for the Rays, Mariners, Giants, Pirates and Angels but didn’t get to 10 games with any of those clubs. He’ll look to don a sixth MLB uniform with the Dodgers.
Teams have been intrigued enough by Padlo’s solid Triple-A résumé to give him brief looks at the back of the roster. He hit .261/.384/.450 with 13 homers across 406 plate appearances for the Halos top farm team a year ago. That brings him to a .251/.348/.461 slash over parts of four Triple-A campaigns. Padlo has drawn walks at a lofty 12.3% clip in that time, although he’s also gone down on strikes at a 26.6% rate.
Neither Gowdy nor Petersen have big league experience. Gowdy, 26, is a former second-round pick of the Phillies. He signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers last winter and spent the year in relief at Double-A Tulsa. He worked to a 4.93 ERA over 38 1/3 innings, striking out 24.4% of opponents with an 11.9% walk rate. The Dodgers were intrigued enough with his arsenal to bring him back on a new minor league deal.
Petersen, who turns 30 in May, spent last year in the Colorado organization. The 6’7″ hurler split the year between the Rox’s top two affiliates. Working exclusively in relief, he pitched to a 3.46 ERA over 41 2/3 frames. Petersen struck out 26.3% of opponents but ran a concerning 13.4% walk rate. Petersen, who was born in the UK and suited up for the Great Britain national team, flashed a triple-digit fastball in last spring’s World Baseball Classic.