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Brandon Morrow one of three familiar pitchers the Dodgers sign to minor league deals

Brandon Morrow delivers during the second inning in Game 7 of the World Series between the Dodgers and Houston Astros.
Brandon Morrow delivers during the second inning in Game 7 of the World Series between the Dodgers and Houston Astros on Nov. 1, 2017.
(Matt Slocum / Associated Press)

The Dodgers are not afraid to take fliers on players. They believe they can extract talent and resurrect careers better than anyone. Who better to take a low-cost chance on than someone you watched recently dominate?

That’s what the Dodgers decided when they signed Brandon Morrow to a minor league contract Friday. The club also signed right-handers Jimmy Nelson and Brock Stewart, left-hander James Pazos and infielder Carlos Asuaje to minor league deals. They’re slated to attend spring training as non-roster invites.

Morrow, 36, rejoins the organization three years after he was one of the best relievers in the majors. The right-hander posted a 2.06 earned-run average in 45 games in 2017, emerging as the Dodgers’ set-up man for closer Kenley Jansen.

He then pitched 14 playoff games, including all seven World Series games against the Houston Astros, and ran out of gas. He allowed six runs — four in Game 5 of the World Series — over 13-2/3 innings.

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Morrow signed a two-year, $21-million contract with the Chicago Cubs that winter but couldn’t stay healthy. Back and elbow injuries limited him to 35 appearances the next two seasons. He hasn’t pitched in the majors since July 2018. The Cubs signed him to a minor league deal last winter but released him in July after he underwent a nerve procedure.

No MLB team is selling tickets to spring training because no one knows when it might start, or for that matter when the regular season might start.

Nelson was a gamble the Dodgers made last offseason when the club signed him coming off two injury-marred seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers. Nelson missed all of last season after undergoing back surgery in July and became a free agent.

The 31-year-old logged at least 175 innings in three straight seasons, from 2015 through 2017. He produced his best campaign in 2017 when he posted a 3.49 ERA with 199 strikeouts in 175-1/3 innings.

It’s also a return for Stewart. The Dodgers drafted the 29-year-old in the sixth round in 2014. He made his major league debut with Los Angeles two years later. He was on the opening day roster in 2019 and claimed off waivers by the Toronto Blue Jays during the season. The Cubs selected him in the Rule 5 draft last winter and released him in May.

Pazos and Asuaje aren’t former Dodgers. Pazos, 29, has a 3.95 ERA in 155 relief appearances for three teams across six seasons, most recently with the Colorado Rockies the last two years.

The 29-year Asuaje appeared in 175 games for the San Diego Padres between 2016 and 2018. He batted .240 with a .641 on-base-plus-slugging percentage. Asuaje spent 2019 in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ organization and was a free agent last season.


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