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Stults sale: Dodgers did what they could for pitcher not in their plans

And now a fond farewell to Eric Stults, a man who did little wrong but just not enough right.

Stults is apparently headed for Japan, which, under the circumstances, is a smart move for the Dodgers.

He wasn’t going to make the team and was out of options. If the Dodgers tried to send him down again, they risked losing him on waivers.

This is his ninth year in the Dodgers’ organization. That’s a long time, a lot of investment from both parties for this to be ending rather ingloriously.

He was an adequate pitcher who had some absolutely marvelous moments with the Dodgers -- he is their only pitcher to throw a shutout in each of the last two seasons.

But Stults was never the kind of pitcher who was going to blow people away. He was a control guy, a nibbler the Dodgers wanted to be more aggressive. He lacked the "wow" factor. And he never seemed to gain Joe Torre’s personal favor.

He’s 30 now, so it’s not like he’s this great prospect. Because he’s left-handed and had some very effective starts the last few seasons, he was thought to be a slight favorite to capture the fifth spot in the rotation.

In truth, he did not get much of a chance this spring. He started in two Cactus League games, finishing with a 5.06 ERA (four earned runs on three hits and four walks, with three strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings).

He was scheduled to start Tuesday, but was scratched, apparently because his sale to the Hiroshima Carp was being finalized.

Stults was caught up in one of those spring training numbers games, being one of four pitchers the Dodgers could lose if they don’t make the 25-man roster, along with Charlie Haeger, Ramon Ortiz and Carlos Monasterios.

This certainly isn’t the move of his dreams, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Many players have enjoyed their experience in Japan. Some have grown from it and returned better players for it, like Ortiz.

If the Dodgers got only $400,000 for him, that’s more than if he were lost to waivers. Stults gets a new start, and hopefully, a stronger commitment.

For now, wish him thanks for his 24 starts as a Dodger (4.84 ERA) and bid him a fond sayonara.

 -- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Eric Stults. Credit: Mark Duncan / Associated Press.

Comments () | Archives (11)

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I'm sad but not surprised that it's come to this with Eric Stults, a real favorite of mine. At least he won't be pitching against us for a while. Good Luck.

I didn't realize Stults has been in the organization nine years. Yes, that is a long time. Well, he's only 30--not old for a pitcher--so maybe he can benefit from his stint in Japan and return to the show.

Eric ,
Keep your head up we are proud of you and your time with the Dodgers . Thanks for putting our hometown of the map. Good luck to you. You still have some good stuff left in the gun. Now go show the world.

what kind of contract does stults have? they can just "sell" him to Japan without any say on his part whatsoever? you'd think they would at least have the right to nix moving your right out of the country. if they are so scared he will come back on another team and shut them out, why not keep him? waive one of the ortiz's. no one would pick either of them up.

Stults was only allowed five innings in spring training this year ... Options or money don't make sense.

This is an April Fools joke!!! You can't sell a player to another league in another country otherwise we would have tried it with Juan Pierre or Andruw Jones or Jason Schmidt a long time ago.

Two things: One from ESPN article...the other from 'sad' observation...
Eric Stults indicated in a very recent ESPN article that he and his family were given the opportunity to weigh his 2010 'options' (which never included a hint of support from Torre) and decide to sign with Hiroshima (Kuroda's former team). Stults indicated that he was told he would be guaranteed a place in their starting rotation. Hey Eric, you show'em they (Torre & Co.) were wrong here...and come back in a year to pitch a shutout against your #1 nay-sayer (Torre) who, my my observations...'wrote you off' in his plans long ago!

S. Patel: Every seller requires a buyer.

I don't understand this. Despite very inconsistent and infrequent use, he generally did very, very well, except when pitching with an injured thumb.

I remember those shutout games, especially when he utterly tore up the Mets for us. Sure, this guy wasn't sexy, but if he'd ever been used on a regular basis, he probably would've been a solid and dependable #3 or 4.

Half of my comments to this blog have been made on how perfect a fit Stults was for the fifth spot in the rotation. Sadly this campaign campaign comes to a close. Stults was a great all around ballplayer who never got a chance. Baseball is full of Stults'. A buddy of mine was a similar LHP who could hit and field, plus breaking stuff but never was in the right place in the right time. He spent seven years pitching in pens around the league, but probably could've done alot more given half chance. I hope Stults goes over and has a good year in Japan, drawing enough interest stateside to comeback next and get that chance from somebody. Torre did not make the right call here.

We are all so very proud of you!! You have been a wonderful role model for Samantha and Jessica. We will be following you in Japan, not sure if we will fly over. Keep up your hard work, God is putting you in Japan for a reason!
Love- Jen


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