The backend of the bullpen for the Los Angeles Dodgers is mostly intact. You know what you’re going to get. Kenley Jansen is still the team’s dominant closer, and J.P. Howell is the setup man that bridges the gap to Jansen. Outside of that, though, there are question marks that remain for the Dodgers.
This spring, we’ve seen Luis Avilan struggle to the point where he might not even make the opening day 25-man roster. That opens up a whole new can of worms that might allow someone like Yimi Garcia to make the team. Going beyond that, we still don’t know what roles the bullpen pieces will have.
“Even if we decide to go with one lefty, we’re fortunate in the sense that we have right-handers, if you look at their splits, they get lefties out,” [manager Dave] Roberts said Wednesday morning. “That’s a luxury to have and in no way do I plan on abusing anyone in the bullpen, let alone if there is just one lefty.”
Avilan’s struggles have made carrying a second lefty pretty tricky. The 26-year old has an 11.57 ERA this spring, and he’s been woeful on the mound at times. The saving grace is that right-hander Louis Coleman has been a breath of fresh air, and he could be valuable to the bullpen this season.
In fact, Pedro Baez, Louis Coleman, Yimi Garcia, and Chris Hatcher have all been better than Avilan. If Avilan doesn’t make the roster then that leaves Howell as the lone lefty to depend upon, and that’s a tall order for one man. But it could work. The bullpen still has plenty of question marks that it needs to address, but there are some answers on the club.