Rosin faces long odds making Dodgers' roster
Versatile reliever, Rule 5 Draft pickup from Mets could help LA in short or long relief
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- As a Rule 5 Draft pick on a World Series contender, Seth Rosin knows what he's up against. A guy who has never pitched above Double-A is trying to make the Opening Day roster of a team with a payroll north of $225 million.
Those odds may not sound too promising, but don't count out the right-hander just yet. Rosin possesses a trait the Dodgers' star-studded bullpen is currently short on: versatility.
"I like to think of myself as a 3-wood," Rosin said. "You can hit that club off the tee or in the fairway or wherever. That's me."
Standing an imposing 6-foot-6, 250 pounds, Rosin has the ability to fill any number of roles on a pitching staff. Whether it is in short relief, long relief or even spot starting, the 25-year-old could end up doing it all for Los Angeles if he impresses enough this spring. After all, that flexibility provided the motivation for the Dodgers to acquire Rosin in December from the Mets, the team that selected him from the Phillies in the Rule 5 Draft.
Still, there's a reason players taken in the Rule 5 Draft rarely work out. The Dodgers would have to keep Rosin on the active roster for all of 2014 or be forced to place him on waivers before, if he clears, offering him back to the Phillies.
Los Angeles could also work out a deal with Philadelphia to keep the righty in its system if he doesn't make the club, but that possibility is far from Rosin's mind right now. He's focused on doing whatever it takes to stand out in camp.
"I gotta be ready to go every day, I have to show the coaches what I can do or else," Rosin said. "I understand what's at stake for me and what it's going to take for me to stay here, especially with all those amazing arms that are here. It's going to be tough, but I'm going to give it all that I have."
Last year with Double-A Reading in the Phillies' system, Rosin went 9-6 with a 4.33 ERA in 26 games, including 23 starts. He also tallied 96 strikeouts against just 35 walks in his 126 2/3 innings of work. Over his four seasons in the Minors, the righty owns a combined 4.23 ERA when starting and a 3.47 ERA when coming out of the bullpen. Throwing harder in shorter outings, his strikeout numbers favor relieving as well, with Rosin punching out 116 batters in 90 2/3 career relief innings.
That body of work points to Rosin being a quality swingman in the Majors, with the majority of his appearances likely coming in relief. His two offspeed pitches, a curve and a changeup, are coming along well, but he believes he's making the most progress with his fastball, a pitch that touches 94 mph but had been lacking consistency.
"I feel like I'm incorporating my lower half better, getting that constant velocity and working on that power," Rosin said. "Kenley Jansen assisted a lot with that. He took me aside and showed me some drills that helped him incorporate his lower half and get extension. So now I'm doing those drills daily, and I'm seeing the difference it makes."
Rosin threw his first live batting-practice session of the spring on Sunday, and he came away feeling confident with the strides he's making.
"It felt great," he said. "It's fun to try out all the new things I've been learning. I watched video of it today and I was happy. My arm feels really good for this time of year, so I'm excited about that, too."
With six Dodgers relievers signed to Major League deals and Paco Rodriguez and Chris Withrow also on the 40-man roster, Rosin certainly has his work cut out for him over the next month of camp, but he's not backing down from the challenge one bit.
"I'm going to attack every outing with a closer's mentality," he said. "I have to close every inning that I'm out there if I have a chance. I have to have a bulldog mentality, and that's just what I plan on doing."
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.