***EDIT: Sorry for the lateness of this article. I wrote it nice and early this morning but apparently saved it as a draft instead of publishing it.***
Pitchers and Catchers report today for the Milwaukee Brewers. It’s a symbolic moment for the team and for the coming end of winter, and although this winter has been remarkably mild in Wisconsin, the norm is a long and cold winter up in these parts. Therefore once P&C Day arrives, it makes you feel like there will be spring eventually again in the northern midwest.
Officially reporting today is a man who was drafted at a position (catcher) which would have reported today anyway had he stayed there but he was converted to a pitcher along the way and reports today anyway. That man is the owner of an fantastic Harry Carrey impression along with a sidearm delivery from the right side. Of course, I can only be talking about:
Timothy Charles Dillard is a 6’4″, 225 lb right-handed pitcher who hails from Sarasota, Florida. He was originally selected in the 34th round of the 2002 First-Year Player Draft. (He and I actually share a birthday as well, for the record, though I am three years his elder.)
Dillard, once he was converted to a pitcher, used to have a standard over-the-top delivery. He experienced decent enough success that he earned a trip to the majors in 2008 but was knocked around a bit, and more so in his short pretty heavily. Eventually he was sent down and didn’t appear to have a path back to Milwaukee. He then modified his approach and became a sidearm pitcher. It was a way to make him stand out from the pack and help him find his niche.
It worked, and Dillard rejoined the big league club in 2011.
He’s never been a shutdown pitcher and honestly shouldn’t face a left-handed hitter…ever…but he is a useful piece as a long-relief man and situational right-hander.
On a “first division” team, Dillard doesn’t have a true home. He is a tremendous individual (I had the pleasure of chatting with him for a few minutes at a charity event last season), but this organization has better pitchers available as options when everyone is healthy.
Despite that, I decided to profile Dillard for a couple of reasons. First, he’s spent time with the Brewers so people know him, but more so than that is the fact that he’s out of options and, barring injury to one of his colleagues, he’s unlikely to break camp with the club.
That’s significant because to get Dillard back to the minor leagues where he can stay ready to contribute should the injury bug plague the bullpen, he’d have to be exposed to waivers. Dillard has successfully passed through them before, but nothing is guaranteed.
The best chance to Dillard to make the club out of the Spring Training would be if Doug Melvin and Ron Roenicke decide that keeping depth is more important that keeping a better arm. Having said that though, some would argue and Frankie De La Cruz has a better arm and he is also out of options.
In my 25-man roster projection which I’ll be stating on the podcast I plan to record later today, I have only one open bullpen slot to be contested between Dillard, FDLC, Zach Braddock and Brandon Kintzler. Kintzler and Braddock both have options remaining so they could begin the year at Triple-A if the Brewers want to keep that extra depth.
Regardless, Dillard stands to get enough work this spring in order to gauge where he’s at in comparison to the other options for the last spot in the ‘pen. If he doesn’t make the cut but does sneak back through to the minor leagues, Dillard is absolutely an option to be called up when his special type of services are required.