Dodgers Claiming Of Chris Heston And Mike Freeman Largely Predicated On Adding Depth
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday, the Los Angeles Dodgers claimed Mike Freeman and Chris Heston off waivers from the Seattle Mariners. The Mariners had designated both players for assignment a few days earlier.

Heston, a 29-year-old right-hander, is perhaps best known for throwing a no-hitter with the San Francisco Giants against the New York Mets on June 9, 2015. The former 12th-round pick made 31 starts for San Francisco that year, posting a 1.5 WAR (Baseball-Reference).

The Giants didn’t guarantee Heston a roster spot in 2016 and optioned him to Triple-A Sacramento after just four relief appearances. Heston suffered an oblique injury that June that caused him to miss the remainder of the season.

Last December, the Giants sent Heston to the Mariners for a player to be named later. He went into the spring without much of a chance of earning a spot in Seattle’s rotation.

After a few particularly ugly Spring Training appearances, including one against the Dodgers, Heston was sent to Triple-A Tacoma to begin the season.

With the Rainiers, he posted a 3.41 ERA over six starts. Heston made a pair of appearances for the Mariners this season, though they were forgettable. He allowed a total of 12 runs (11 earned) in just five innings.

Heston is a sinker/slider pitcher who will mix in an effective changeup, and he also throws a curveball. This addition is similar to that of Justin Masterson: a groundball pitcher whose best days are behind him.

With how crowded the Dodgers’ rotation is right now (just ask relief pitcher Hyun-jin Ryu), it’s unlikely Heston makes an appearance with the team this season.

Freeman, also 29, was drafted three times by two National League West teams; once out of high school by the San Diego Padres and twice out of college by the Arizona Diamondbacks. He signed with Arizona after his senior year at Clemson.

After hitting well in his debut, Freeman’s production with the bat was up and down over the following few seasons. He’s hit better of late and has a career .316/.378/.427 batting line in Triple-A. He also has good speed, with 132 stolen bases in 757 Minor League games.

While Freeman is primarily a second baseman, he has played every position except catcher during his professional career. He has played every position in the field in the Minors, and even pitched an inning in for the Mariners this season.

It’s going to be difficult to find playing time for Freeman in the Minors, let alone the Majors. Triple-A Oklahoma City boasts a roster with strong prospects and/or former big leaguers at nearly every position.

As for his Major League outlook, Freeman does have the advantage of being on the 40-man roster, as well as his positional versatility, but he could also be one of the first players cut once someone comes off the 60-day disabled list.

It’s a luxury that the Dodgers have stacks of depth, a luxury that most teams (and some previous Dodger clubs) haven’t enjoyed. While the additions of Heston and Freeman do provide flexibility, it’s very unlikely that either impact the big league team this season.

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