Dodgers Switch Former Giants

The Dodgers today designated RHP Ramon Ortiz for assignment to make room for RHP Justin Miller.  Both Ortiz and Miller pitched in the Giants’ organization last year, Ortiz for the AAA Fresno Grizzlies and Miller for the parent club.

Miller had a solid year for the Giants last year, posting a 3.18 ERA in 44 relief appearances and 56.2 innings pitched.  I was kind of surprised the Giants made no effort to bring him back after non-tendering him (like, for instance, the way the Reds ultimately ended up re-signing Jonny Gomes).  Instead, Miller ended up signing a minor league deal with the Boys in Blue, but he didn’t pitch particularly well in Spring Training and started the year at AAA Albuquerque.

Ramon Ortiz spent all of 2009 at AAA Fresno, but he probably deserved a September call-up he didn’t get, based on a 3.05 ERA in 129.2 IP as a spot starter and reliever.  He won a slot in the Dodgers’ bullpen out of Spring Training this year, but the Dodgers finally gave up on him after he posted a 6.30 ERA in 16 appearances and 30 IP at the major league level.

Meanwhile, Miller was pitching great at Albuquerque, a tough place for pitchers, posting a 2.22 ERA in 18 appearances and 24.1 IP, with excellent ratios.

As I’ve said before, Miller is a pitcher who doesn’t get a lot of respect from major league organizations.  He’s pitched well each of the last three seasons, yet he has to prove himself all over again every season.

He has a reputation in baseball as kind of an oddball.  His arms are covered with tattoos, and a rule was adopted requiring Miller to pitch in long sleeves because hitters were complaining about being distracted by the tattoos.

I didn’t hear one report last season about Miller causing any problems on the Giants, but sometimes once a player gets a reputation as an misfit, he sticks with him no matter what he does in the future, especially if he is kind of a borderline player.

I liked the Dodgers’ decision to sign Miller, and pitching his home games in Dodger Stadium is certainly a good situation for Miller to be in.  I wish Miller luck, at least when he isn’t pitching against the Giants.

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