Brazoban Has Strong Winter Season

Dodgers reliever Yhency Brazoban seemingly has re-invented himself during his Winter League season with Licey in the Dominican Republic.

The right-handed reliever, who served as stopper/set-up man in 2005, posted a 1.64 ERA in 22 games, had 14 saves, walked six and struck out 21 batters in 22 innings and got glowing reports from Roy Smith, the Dodgers' director of scouting and player development.

"He really got himself in good shape, worked hard and has been throwing the ball extremely well," Smith said. "We are really pleased and with this trade, he's going to be our main setup man."

The Dodgers trade of Duaner Sanchez and Steve Schmoll to the Mets seemed to hand the late-inning role for Brazoban, who struggled last year, compiling a 4-10 record and 5.33 ERA in 74 relief appearances last season.

"He was put into the closer role because of injuries to Eric Gagne, a tough job for a rookie," Smith said of Brazoban, who was converted from an outfielder to pitcher three years ago. Still he saved 21 games.

The Winter League reports on the 25-year-old Brazoban, indicated that he had better command of his fastball, improved his slider and used his changeup more often.

With Brazoban's 22 appearances for Licey added to the 74 games he pitched during the regular season, the Dodgers now want him to get some rest. "We want a fresh guy coming to camp," Smith said.

Guzman Hot-- Infielder Joel Guzman also had a productive Winter League campaign. The 6-foot-6, 225-pound infielder, who is on the Dodgers' 40-man roster, batted .280, hit six home runs and drove in 33 runs for the Dominican League Estrella club

Chen Signs-- As expected, former Dodgers pinch-hitter Chin-Feng Chen agreed to stay home and join the nation's Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) on a multi-year contract with the La New Bears.

Chen consented to participate in the competition's all-rookie draft for this year and the La New Bears signed Chen to a three-year contract, the first-ever multi-year contract signing for the nation's baseball league.

Chinese-language newspapers have reported that Chen's contract includes a staggering annual income of up to NT $10 million (US $312,000), the highest sum in CPBL history.

With the Dodgers, Chen became the first Taiwanese player to reach the US major league. Chen is also the first Taiwanese baseball player to return home after playing in the US.

Rumor Time-- Gordon Edes wrote in the Boston Globe:
"The Red Sox have talked to the Dodgers and A's about a three-way deal for Wells, one in which the Athletics would get prospects, the Dodgers would get Wells, and the Sox would get a corner outfielder from the Dodgers plus a player from Oakland."

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Padres GM Kevin Towers renewed talks with the Red Sox regarding David Wells and spoke to Larry Lucchino directly.

"The Red Sox know what we're prepared to do regarding Wells," said Towers.

"The Dodgers may be a potential trading partner with the Red Sox for Wells, with the Sox probably looking for bullpen help in return. The Dodgers' pen is stacked with quality arms.

"If the Sox decided to take a different route with the Dodgers, they could pursue third base prospect Willy Aybar (he hit .326 in 86 at bats in the majors last year), shortstop Cesar Izturis (though he is probably out until mid-season after Tommy John surgery), or lefthanded hitting first baseman Hee-Seop Choi."

Staff Being Assembled-- The Dodgers are concentrating on assembling Manager Grady Little's coaching staff. Rick Honeycutt, the Dodger roving minor league pitching instructor, is expected to be the pitching coach and Dave Jauss is expected to become bench coach or third base coach.

Jauss, who has close ties to Little, has served as an advance scout, player development director and first base coach for the Boston Red Sox. He was credited with developing the scouting report on the St. Louis Cardinals before the 2004 World Series, which the Red Sox swept.

Minor League Transactions
Boston signed OF Lucas Allen
Chicago Cubs named Barbaro Garbey hitting coach for Peoria of the Midwest League
Philadelphia signed RHP Steve Lagone and 3B Brennan King
Pittsburgh signed RHP Terry Adams and INF Gookie Dawkins on minor league contracts
St. Louis signed 1B Juan Diaz and LHP Randy Leek
San Diego signed RHP Eric Junge
Tampa Bay signed RHP Ruddy Lugo

LA Dodgers Insider Top Stories