Dodgers cut Dustin McGowan, add Freddy Garcia, Elliot Johnson

Dodgers reliever Dustin McGowan delivers a pitch in an exhibition game against the Seattle Mariners in Phoenix on March 6.

Dodgers reliever Dustin McGowan delivers a pitch in an exhibition game against the Seattle Mariners in Phoenix on March 6.

(John Locher / Associated Press)

Why, you ask? A very good question. It may not come with the greatest answer but it remains a very good question.

On Tuesday -- the day of their final spring home game in Phoenix and when they began making cuts -- the Dodgers announced they had acquired two new players. They signed right-hander Freddy Garcia and sent cash to the Rangers for utilityman Elliot Johnson.

Not exactly earthshaking stuff. Neither has a prayer of making the team out of camp, so naturally you may wonder why even bother? Beyond because they can, there are some good-enough reasons.


The Dodgers had planned -- or hoped -- Erik Bedard and Chad Gaudin would offer some rotation depth should something befall one of their five starters. You know, like Hyun-Jin Ryu being put on the shelf before the season even begins.

Both are now injured, so the theory, the very small gamble, is that Garcia can round into shape and present some veteran rotation backup at triple-A. And if the season ever really comes down to that, you can kiss it goodbye.

But the Dodgers are making moves as the April 6 season opener approaches. On Tuesday, they released veteran reliever Dustin McGowan, who gave up 12 hits in his eight spring innings. He was guaranteed $1 million if he’d made the roster. They also informed Mike Adams, a late signing, that he had not made the team. He will be paid a $100,000 retention fee, start the season in the minors and be eligible to opt out by June 1.

A week until first pitch, and players are coming and going.

The last time the Dodgers saw Garcia, 38, they were knocking him around with eight hits in six innings to clinch the division series against the Braves in 2013. Of course, the last time the Dodgers saw Brandon McCarthy last April they knocked him around for 10 hits and six runs in seven innings, and they signed him in the off-season for $48 million. Garcia spent last season pitching in Taiwan.

The rotation in triple-A Oklahoma City (corrected) figures to feature Joe Wieland, Zack Lee and Carlos Frias, all of whom are likely to get an opportunity with the Dodgers before Garcia, who was really good like a dozen years ago. Hey, when it comes to pitching depth -- however shaky -- they say you just can’t have enough.

Johnson is a 31-year-old middle infielder who’s bounced around with four different clubs in the last three years and owns a career .215 batting average. One of those teams, it should be noted, was the Tampa Bay Rays. Add him to the list of Andrew Friedman’s former Rays.

The Dodgers already have a surplus of utility infielders in Enrique Hernandez and Darwin Barney, so Johnson is adding fielding insurance to their existing insurance.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers said sore-armed Gaudin will remain in Phoenix for an extended spring in order to rehab.