During the offseason many of the players who are either at the end of their career or trying to make comebacks either from injuries or from merely being inadequate to play at the Major League level choose to play in the offseason winter leagues. Former Dodgers Ted Lilly and Carlos Monasterios are both pitching in the Venezuelan Winter League, and both hurlers hope to resurrect their career.
Ted Lilly is now pitching in Venezuela after having his neck nerve endings cauterized. Lilly was finally released by the Dodgers last July after his neck issues plagued him at an increasing rate. Even after 13 seasons in the Majors, Ted Lilly is not ready to hang up his cleats just yet. The 37-year old left-hander is attempting to come back and pitch after feeling relief from the pain he experienced before his procedure. Lilly signed on with the Navegantes del Magallanes. So far he has pitched in 3 1/3 innings and has walked 4, struck out 1, and allowed 3 runs on 3 hits for a 8.10 ERA. He has yet to allow a homerun surprisingly.
The Giants were reportedly close to signing Lilly back in August after he was released by the Dodgers, but the deal never went through after Lilly and the Giants disagreed to when he would be called up. As you remember, Ted Lilly was never one for Minor League starts. Lilly only pitched in 13 games for the Dodgers over his last two seasons in Blue. The Dodgers finally cut the cord this past summer after Lilly’s neck flared up once again. The crafty lefty made five starts for the Dodgers in 2013, and he finished with a 0-2 record with a 5.09 ERA in 23 innings pitched. 2011 was Lilly’s best season with the Dodgers, and he seemed healthy enough to pitch 193 2/3 innings. He went 12-14 with a 3.97 ERA in 33 starts.
While Lilly is very effective at times, it seems like his injuries and rustiness has finally caught up to him. He will need to prove that he is healthy enough to pitch at the big league level this winter in Venezuela in order to try to catch the eye of any teams who may be interested in the veteran.
Another ex-Dodger who is vying for a comeback is none other than Carlos Monasterios. The 27-year old right-hander is also pitching in the Venezuelan Winter League, and although he hasn’t pitched in the Majors since his last game on September 29, 2010, he apparently is still alive and throwing a baseball. He pitched in 32 games (13 starts) for the Dodgers in his short career back in 2010 when he was 24-years old. He finished his stint in the Majors with a record of 3-5 and a 4.38 ERA over 88 1/3 innings pitched.
In 2011, Monster started the season in AAA-Albuquerque, but he only made one start before being
disabled with elbow inflammation and eventually succumbing to Tommy John Surgery which ended his season. In November, the Dodgers outrighted Carlos to the minors and removed him from the 40-man roster. The Dodgers released him in April of 2012 after he had more elbow problems coming into Spring Training, and he had to have a second procedure to relocate his ulnar nerve. It was sad to see Monasterios have such a short-lived career, but relief arms are so volatile especially under the guise of Joe Torre.
Monasterios is pitching for the Bravos de Margarita, and he has started eight games. He picked up his first win on Wednesday, and he is now 1-3 with a 4.64 ERA in 33 innings. He’s allowed 3 homeruns and struck out a somewhat impressive 27 batters while walking 12.
Is the door closing on Lilly and Monster, or are they just beginning a new chapter in their careers? Lilly seems to be nearing retirement, but then again I have been thinking he was nearing retirement for the last two seasons. Monasterios’s arm seemed to be in pieces in 2012, but perhaps his relative youth (compared to Lilly) will help him regain his form.
I doubt we will see either one of these former Dodgers play in the Majors again, but stranger things have happened. If anything, Joc Pederson has a great opportunity to hit many homeruns off of them both in the winter league.