In honor of the KC Royals having their first winning season since 2003, I figured I would kick off my “Where are they now” feature with a starter turned reliever who was a big part of that 2003 winning season.
Mike MacDougal, the Royals second pick in 1999 (25th overall), burst onto the scene to be selected for this first (and only) Major League Baseball All-Star Game (though he did not pitch). He finished that season with 27 saves, but had 24 prior to the All-Star break. He had a 2.59 ERA prior to the break, but it rose to 6.85 after.
Apr 14, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Mike MacDougal (66) delivers a pitch against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers defeated the Padres 6-1. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports
Mac (which is how I know him) had 21 saves and had a 3.33 ERA in 2005 with the Royals. He struck out 72 in 70.1 innings while walking just 24. After battling more injuries in 2006, he was traded within the division to the Chicago White Sox, where he had a 1.80 ERA in 25 games. That earned him a three-year deal, but struggled to stay healthy and was designated for assignment and released in April of 2009.
The Washington Nationals signed him to a minor league deal in May and it paid off. He was 20-of-21 in save opportunities and had a 3.60 ERA in 52 games (which was hurt by a 9.53 September ERA). After October hip surgery, the Nats cut him loose.
Mac signed with the Florida Marlins, but was released in March of 2010 and re-signed with the Nationals. He opted out of his contract on July 1st and signed with St. Louis, where he debuted on July 28th (12 walks and 23 hits in 18.2 innings).
2011 had him making the LA Dodgers Opening Day roster after signing a late January minor league deal. Mac led the team with a 2.05 ERA in 69 games. He struck out 41 and walked 29 in 57 innings. He re-signed for the 2012 season, but walked six and allowed five runs in just 5.2 innings and was designated (and released) in May.
Then the journey really started. He signed a minor league deal with the Chicago Cubs, but was released in July with a 7.95 ERA in 19 games. He went back to the Nats and carried a 4.22 ERA in 12 Triple-A games.
2013 had Mac starting in the Cincinnati Reds organization. He had a 5.49 ERA in 17 appearances before getting released in June. He then signed with Philadelphia and spent the rest of the season with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, which is where I last saw him. With the IronPigs, he walked 15 and allowed 24 hits over 25.1 innings. He did strike out 26.
Six of his last eight appearances were scoreless.
So Mac has played with eight organizations and spent three stints with Washington. Mac has had some shining moments (2003, 2005, 2006, 2009, and 2011), but wildness and injuries have plagued him throughout his career. Getting hit by Carlos Beltran‘s bat back in 2001 did not help his wildness. He has walked 212 big league hitters and thrown 45 wild pitches over 394 big league innings.
Where will he end up next? Which team’s hat will be flying off his head?