Brett Tomko is on the comeback trail, currently working out in California and is hoping to audition for a team during spring training, according to Zach Links of MLB Trade Rumors. MLBTR’s Charlie Wilmoth writes that Tomko is consistently in the low 90’s with his fastball, which is good news for the right-hander, who will turn 41 years old on April 7.
Tomko would accept a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training. In the event he doesn’t make the 25-man roster, he would be willing to start the season in Triple-A and pitch in a depth role.
Tomko last pitched in 2011 with the Rangers. In 17.2 innings spanning eight relief appearances, he posted a 4.58 ERA. He spent the 2013 season in the independent league with the York Revolution. He started 19 games, amassing 124.2 innings while posting a 4.98 ERA.
Remember Manny Banuelos? He was once a top pitching prospect for the Yankees and then, apparently disappeared from the face of the earth. Or at least it felt like it. Now he’s in the news, however, as the Dodgers have signed him to a minor league contract.
OK, Banuelos didn’t disappear. He was traded to the Braves in 2015, had a cup of coffee with them, pitching pretty ineffectively in seven big league games, was released by Atlanta in the middle of 2016 and then latched on with the Angels. This past season he posted a 4.93 ERA over 95 innings while being used mostly as a reliever at Triple-A Salt Lake.
Banuelos pitched in the Future’s Game in 2009 and was a star in the Arizona Fall League in 2010. He was a top-50 prospect heading into 2011 before falling to Tommy John surgery in 2012. With Atlanta he suffered some bone spur problems and then some elbow issues that never resulted in surgery but which never subsided enough for him to fulfill his potential either. He suffered injuries. A lot of pitchers do.
It’s unrealistic to think that Banuelos will fulfill the promise he had six years ago, but he’s worth a minor league deal to see if the 26-year-old can at least be a serviceable reliever.