We wrote yesterday about how Andrew Friedman and Farhad Zaidi is looking at this offseason – his focus mainly being on pitching. It sounded like starters would hold the highest priority, but as of Tuesday morning, the Los Angeles Dodgers are tied a couple bullpen options, too.
Last year, the frustration was always tied to who might be able to get the ball to Kenley Jansen – easily considered one of the least hittable closers in baseball.
So, while Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports everyone is apparently ready to trade their closer (The Dodgers were not among teams he listed in such terms), there are a couple free agents Friedman is interested in bringing in to set up Jansen.
Six teams are in pursuit of the top free agent (Darren) O’Day: the Red Sox, Nats, Tigers, Dodgers, Cubs and Royals. O’Day has been a set-up man extraordinaire for the Orioles, but some teams may consider him to close. The Orioles like O’Day but could wind up being priced out.
O’Day, a sidewinding right hander, boasted an 11.9 strikeout per nine innings rate and .934 WHIP in 2015, and would nicely complement J.P. Howell if the new manager is weary of using either against opposite-handed hitters.
As I alluded to earlier, Heyman did mention some high-end closers on the market in case the Dodgers want to be basically unhittable in the eighth and ninth innings.
“Everyone’s closer is available,” one GM said. “People, especially the young GMs, have no fear of trading their closer.”
Available Closers Via Trade:
- Aroldis Chapman (Cincinnati Reds)
- Craig Kimbrel (San Diego Padres)
- Andrew Miller (New York Yankees)
- Mark Melancon (Pittsburgh Pirates)
- Shawn Tolleson (Texas Rangers)
- Ken Giles (Philadeplphia Phillies)
- Jonathan Papelbon, Drew Storen (Washington Nationals)
It’s important to point out the Dodgers were not tied to this market by Heyman, but as Friedman said Monday, the front office would be opportunistic with moves to shore up the bullpen. If the right deal comes along for one of the guys listed above, it’s impossible to see the Dodgers passing them up.
As the temperature drops, offseason appears to be heating up. Fixing the bullpen would go a long way in improving the Dodgers’ chances at getting deeper into the postseason – as we’ve seen what the Kansas City Royals’ bullpen has done for them (two straight trips to the postseason).