The Los Angeles Dodgers officially announced the signing veteran right-handed pitcher Tom Koehler to a one-year contract, giving them 38 players on their 40-man roster.
Koehler was an 18th-round draft pick by the Miami Marlins in 2008 and spent his entire career in the organization until he was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays last August. In his six-year tenure with the Marlins, Koehler went 36-53 with a 4.43 ERA and 1.40 WHIP in 146 games (132 starts).
The 2017 season was a rough one for the 31-year-old, as in 12 starts with Miami he was 1-5 with a 7.92 ERA, 6.91 FIP and 1.73 WHIP in 55.2 innings. He was demoted to Triple-A and ultimately was traded to the Blue Jays, where he found some success as a reliever.
In 15 appearances (one start), Koehler yielded a 2.65 ERA, 3.22 FIP, 1.29 WHIP and averaged a career-best 9.5 strikeouts per nine innings. Koehler sported a 3.00 ERA in his 14 relief appearances for Toronto.
Koehler was non-tendered by the Blue Jays at the end of the season and will be arbitration-eligible until he becomes a free agent in 2020. Because he was optioned to Triple-A this year, Koehler is now out of options.
Therefore, the Dodgers’ only means of removing him from the 40-man roster would be to designate Koehler for assignment.
The Dodgers’ plan is likely to use him as a long reliever who possibly could be used as a spot starter. Low-risk moves like this one have worked out for the Dodgers the past couple offseason, as veteran pitchers such Joe Blanton and Brandon Morrow were able to revive their careers.
Blanton turned that into a contract with the Washington Nationals, where he struggled, and Morrow recently signed a two-year deal with the Chicago Cubs.