Dodgers Rumors: Joe Thatcher Opts Out Of Contract
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers’ focus on stockpiling pitching depth extends beyond the active and 40-man rosters, with the organization regularly exploring opportunities to bolster the pitching staffs of Minor League affiliates.

One example was the signing of veteran Joe Thatcher in mid-April to a Minor-League contract. Thatcher spent Spring Training with the Cleveland Indians, but was granted his release once it became apparent he would not make their Opening Day roster.

The left-hander posted a 1.35 ERA and had eight strikeouts to zero walks over 6.2 innings this spring. Thatcher joined Triple-A Oklahoma City, where he had a 3.86 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, five walks and 20 strikeouts over 14 innings pitched (16 games).

Thatcher last appeared in relief on Tuesday, and according to Chris Cotillo of SB Nation, exercised the opt-out clause in his contract to force a decision from the Dodgers:

Given the Dodgers’ eight-man bullpen and Frankie Montas‘ presence, the odds of Thatcher getting added to the Major League roster appear slim. He joins Sean Burnett, who also was with Oklahoma City, as relievers who opted out of their deals.

Burnett exercised his clause to sign with the Atlanta Braves, though his stint with the organization was short-lived and he’s since joined the Minnesota Twins.

As for Thatcher, he sported a 3.18 ERA, 3.00 FIP, 1.54 WHIP and averaged 10.3 strikeouts per nine innings in 43 appearances (22.2 innings) with the Houston Astros last season.

Thatcher owns a career 3.38 ERA, 3.19 FIP and 1.32 WHIP over parts of nine seasons with the San Diego Padres (2007-13), Arizona Diamondbacks (2013-14), Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (2014) and Indians (2015).