A little lazy, relaxing fishing. You throw a line in the water, and if something happens, great. If not, nothing much lost but a little effort.
Teams do this all the time in the offseason, sign guys who have a marginal -- or even a downright long-shot -- chance of actually making the club.
Spring rosters are dotted with non-roster invitees, some who actually make the club, if only for a short while. Think Russ Ortiz, Ramon Ortiz. Or who take a ticket to the minors, à la John Lindsey.
The Dodgers added to their non-roster list for 2011 Tuesday, signing right-hander reliever Oscar Villarreal.
Villarreal has spent parts of six seasons in the National League but hasn’t pitched in the majors since part of 2008 with the Astros.
He has a career record of 24-15 with a 3.86 ERA, so it’s not like he was completely awful. Heck, last year in the Dodgers’ bullpen, that almost would have made him a star.
Villarreal, who turned 29 on Monday, was born in San Nicolás de los Garza, Mexico, and still lives with his family in Monterrey. He spent last season with the Phillies’ triple-A Lehigh club, going 4-3 with a 4.40 ERA in 49 games.
On Monday, the Dodgers signed reliever Dana Eveland to a minor league split contract. Eveland, 27, was 3-5 with a 6.79 ERA in 12 games (10 starts) for Toronto and Pittsburgh last season.
These are the kinds of signings that are designed to get fans queuing up at the ticket booth, but one or two often break through to make a contribution of some sort. Expect more such signings to come, particularly for that bullpen.
-- Steve Dilbeck