|Mike MacDougal sighting!|
Written by Justin Zeth (Contact & Archive) on January 31, 2011
MLBTradeRumors reports that the Dodgers have signed Mike MacDougal.
You do remember Mike MacDougal, right? He was the skyscraper that every once in a while would throw a strike or two in relief for the Kansas City Royals back in about 2003 or something. MacDougal's has been an exceptionally interesting baseball career. He saved 27 games for the Royals in 2003, took a (figurative) year off, saved 21 in 2005, pitching fairly well but not great both seasons. Then he pitched VERY well for the White Sox in 2006, but got hurt, pitched in the minors a little. And then for the next four years, including 2009 when he popped up on the Washington Nationals and inexplicably saved 20 games despite his sparkling 1:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, he made extended appearances in both Triple-A ball and the major leagues every year. That's kind of been his niche: the first Triple-A bullpen arm to get called up when one of the major league relievers gets hurt. To all appearances it would seem he will fill that same role for the Dodgers. I mean, it doesn't look like they should bring him up before about four or five other Triple-A guys, but just based on his track record and Ned Colletti's fondness for Proven Veterans™, that's what my money says.
But I honestly did not expect to ever see Mike MacDougal in the major leagues again. I base this on my own personal sighting of him, when he appeared in Altoona with the Double-A Harrisburg Senators, threw a straight fastball that went in no planned direction at about 93 MPH, and got lit up like a Christmas tree. I figured that was the last I would hear of him; I was flabbergasted to see him pitching for the Cardinals later that season. 17 appearances, in fact. Baseball managers like guys that have had success in the major leagues in years past, and prefer them over guys that are having success in the minor leagues now. That continues to fascinate me.
Anyway, what follows below this paragraph is what I wrote on my now-defunct Altoona Curve blog the night I watched what I presumed was the last of Mike MacDougal. Yet here he is, still around, still likely going to pitch plenty in the major leagues in 2011.
In the 7th inning, the few proud faithful remaining in Blair County Ballpark, myself included, saw a ghost.
It's funny how you never know. It turns out that MacDougal was trying to work his way back from an injury, and that was just an Evil Mike MacDougal appearance, and Good Mike MacDougal still shows up often enough to keep the composite hanging around the major leagues. So I tip my cap to you, Mike. Yours was a fun career to watch.