Dodgers bullpen

Talented as the Los Angeles Dodgers were in 2014, good enough to win 94 games and a second-consecutive NL West title, there was a glaring weakness that caught up to them in the postseason.

Largely due to injuries and inconsistency, manager Don Mattingly rarely had more than one or two relievers he confidently could hand the ball to. Since taking control of the Dodgers’ front office, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and general manager Farhan Zaidi have set out to remedy the bullpen situation, among their other tasks.

Zaidi took time away from his general manager duties on Friday to answer questions on the Dodgers’ official Twitter account and had this to say about the retooled bullpen:

Multiple relievers from last year’s team are gone as the Dodgers opted to not re-sign them; or in Brian Wilson’s case, paid to go away after a puzzling and disappointing second season with the Dodgers.

Collectively, the Dodgers’ bullpen held a 3.80 ERA last season, which was ranked 22nd in all of baseball and 12th in the National League; their .239 batting average against placed them in the middle of the pack among the 30 teams, same with their .675 OPS.

On paper, the Dodgers bullpen should be improved this season with the additions of Chris Hatcher and Joel Peralta. Additionally, young relievers Pedro Baez and Daniel Coulombe gained valuable experience last season, so too did swingman Carlos Frias.

Then there’s Kenley Jansen, who enters just his second full season as the Dodgers’ closer. Last year, Jansen converted 44 saves and now sits fifth on the franchise’s all-time saves list. With an improved middle infield and bullpen, the Dodgers are projected by PECOTA to win an MLB-best 97 games this season and their third-straight NL West title.

While Zaidi gave his vote of confidence to the bullpen, it was reported in mid-January that the Dodgers were searching for a late-inning reliever. Currently, Francisco Rodriguez and Rafael Soriano are among the free-agent options still available.

About The Author

Matt is a journalist from Whittier, California. A Cal State Long Beach graduate, Matthew occasionally contributes to Lakers Nation, and previously served as the lead editor and digital strategist at Dodgers Nation, and the co-editor and lead writer at Reign of Troy, where he covered USC Football. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mmoreno1015

11 Responses

  1. Robert G. Clark

    I like Francisco Rodriguez. If he keeps his pitches low as he did with the Angels, he can be very effective. Of course, he is older now. He was just a rookie when he did relief pitching and helped win the World Series. I hope the Dodgers go after him. Let him prove himself in spring training, however.

    Reply
    • Tmax

      Yes I think the with the Angels they called him K-Rod. If he keeps the ball down he is very impressive. He has had mechanical issues and when he does the ball flattens out and gets hit impressive distances. He can throw several innings I think but he would have to accept to be a back-up in the bullpen. And they would have to make sure he has figured out his mechanics. I loved him with the Angels and then he had all of the mechanical issues and just cold not figure it out.

      Reply
    • Michael N. Norris

      There is really no room for the guy, and a spring invite is not going to get him signed…

      Reply
      • Giantkiller000

        I agree with you. I’m intrigued by Rodriguez, but I don’t see any room for him. However, I don’t think 6 guys are locked. Probably more like the first 4 or 5 that were mentioned.

        I’d really like to see how effective a healthy Paco can be.

      • Michael N. Norris

        Disagree…..They have to keep Nicasio…Jansen, Peralta, Hatcher, Howell are all locks…why? They traded for 3 of those guys to improve the BP……The only maybe on my list is League…because they are still actively trying to find a taker……They signed Bedard, Huff and a couple of other lefty’s as non roster guys. In reality I think the only non roster P with a shot is Sergio Santos…..

      • Michael N. Norris

        Oh and K-Rod looks like he is going to Miami

  2. Tmax

    I have looked at the Farm guys and there may be one or two good fresh arms that can help. Lets hope so. Pedro Baez looks like a great rookie and Paco should be healthy.

    If we have enough guys to spread some innings around we will be OK at the end of the year. The effective guys in the bullpen had pitched too many innings by the playoffs and were not effective.

    Reply
  3. Michael N. Norris

    If they take 12 pitchers out of spring training….that means 7 guys in the BP….the locks….Jansen, Howell, Nicasio,Peralta, Hatcher, League (unless they trade him)and take your pick..Baez, or Paco….no room for anyone else, and you need 2 lefty’s in the pen…..They have a ton of non roster invitee’s , a couple of which are starters. But they have enough BP guys to fill a bus. 5 starters, Kersh Ryu, Greinke, McCarthy and Anderson..if healthy…..

    Reply
    • Tmax

      Well Michael as usual you are right. When you drill down to how many spots on the roster there are actually open there isn’t room for another pitcher. I am happy with what they have. I like the comments of Zaidi when he talked about a fluid eb and flow from the AAA & AA Teams. I would like to see some of the guys they need to evaluate like Baez, Reed, Lee, DeLeon, Anderson etc. come up to help start or relieve to see what they have. I think Urias needs another year or so but he is an amazing prospect. Do you think if League does not excel in Spring and one or two of the Farm guys do they might eat the salary and cut League loose? With that said the AAA team should have some very good pitching. Getting close to Spring I can hardly stand the waiting.

      Reply
      • Michael N. Norris

        Lee has really slipped on the prospect list…Reed has a better chance to be an impact player somewhere down the line…Lee needs a monster season at AAA just to be considered relevant again…His best bet at a big league career is to get traded

      • Tmax

        From what I have read on Lee he has fought his mechanics which caused control issues. He has a good arm and if he can get his head into it and simplify his mechanics he may become relevant again. You never know. It is such a very hard thing to do, pitch consistently with good numbers against a high level of talent. Hershiezer became great.

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