The Los Angeles Dodgers took fliers on a handful of intriguing pitchers this offseason that are looking to reestablish their value in the wake of disappointing 2019 campaigns.
Among them are Alex Wood, who rejoined the organization last month just a little over a year removed from being traded to the Cincinnati Reds in a salary-motivated deal. He was signed to a one-year contract that includes incentives based on a point system for how many games, outs and innings pitched he logs this season.
Wood is coming off an injury-shortened 2019 season with the Reds in which he did not make his debut until the end of July. The left-hander wound up making only seven starts due to lingering back issues, going 1-3 with a 5.80 ERA, 6.38 FIP and 1.40 WHIP in 35.2 innings pitched.
Finally back to full health, Wood was the latest MLB pitcher to report to Driveline Baseball this winter in effort of refining his mechanics.
Wood was ecstatic by the results and gave credit to former Reds teammate Trevor Bauer for pushing him to work with Driveline Baseball, via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
“I’ve cleaned up a lot of things. I wish I would have done it a long time ago,” said Wood. “I was fortunate in Cincinnati, we traded for Trevor. He’s one of the smartest guys I’ve ever been around. I literally love every single second I got to spend around him. After speaking with him at length, he convinced me to go. Once I learned the intricacies and what they do, I felt it was made for me with the unique way that I throw.”
The Dodgers have an excellent relationship with Driveline Baseball, hiring multiple coaches away from the training academy in recent weeks, as well as signing former intern Bradley Gonzales to a Minor League contract.
Wood previously noted that he was encouraged by his work with Driveline and is looking forward to seeing if that success translates to the mound.
Wood is among a handful of pitchers the Dodgers are considering for the fifth spot in the starting rotation this season. Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May, Jimmy Nelson and Ross Stripling are other candidates that will get looks based on their performance in Spring Training.
Wood threw his first live batting practice on Tuesday, facing a tough challenge in Cody Bellinger, Mookie Betts and Corey Seager.
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