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A Pair of Former Indians’ Relievers Make Sense in Los Angeles

Dodgers
Sep 29, 2018; Kansas City, MO, USA; Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Andrew Miller (24) delivers a pitch in the sixth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

It’s no secret by now that the Dodgers’ front office will be in search of bullpen help for 2019. This is especially true when considering the less than encouraging year that Kenley Jansen endured. While trades seem to be the more realistic route, there are two free agent relievers coming out of Cleveland that appear to be the perfect match.

Cody Allen

Allen is considered by man to be the lesser of the two, but he comes with a solid history behind him. From 2012 to 2017, Allen pitched to a sparkling 2.67 earned run average out of the bullpen. He also compiled  11.7 strikeouts per nine innings to go along with a 1.15 WHIP in those six seasons. Unfortunately for him, the 2018 season sort of derailed him.

Allen threw 67 innings and gave up the most home runs of his career. He also watched his walk rate spike while his strikeout rate took a decent hit. All told, he finished up 2018 with a 4.70 ERA and a 1.358 WHIP. Not to mention a FIP well above 4.5. He also melted down even further during the Indians’ short playoff run. He allowed six earned runs to come across in just one total inning over his two appearances.

As concerning as it may be, Allen’s recent failures should give the Dodgers a chance at a reasonable contract. Los Angeles has been known to be hesitant in paying high annual averages to relievers, aside from Kenley Jansen. They let Brandon Morrow take a contract in Chicago that paid out roughly $10 million a year rather than coughing up the money to retain him. Allen earned $10,575,000 in 2018, up from $7,350,000 he earned in 2017. There is a chance he would be willing to take on a one-year deal to rebuild his value in what will be his age 30 season.

Andrew Miller

Andrew Miller sort of falls in the same category as Cody Allen in regards to his value being damaged. From 2013 to 2017, Miller was one of the most dominant relievers in the game. He pitched to a 1.82 ERA over the course of 297 appearances and his WHIP was a jaw-dropping 0.85. Again, 2018 hit Andrew Miller hard.

He made just 37 appearances after battling a knee injury and was not effective when he was able to pitch. He pitched to a 4.24 earned run average across 34 innings of work and saw his strikeout totals plummet. He also walked batters at a rate almost twice as high as he has throughout his career. Not a great year for him by any means.

Again, this almost makes for an ideal situation for the Dodgers. Miller will be 34 in May with time running out on his career. Perhaps he would consider a one-year deal in hopes of regaining value and searching for a four-year deal to carry him into retirement after the 2019 season. The biggest question with Miller is how much he will demand. He signed a four-year, $36 million contract with the Yankees that guaranteed him $9 million a year prior to the 2015 season.  Miller at his peak is no doubt worth considerably more than that, but perhaps the timing is just right for Los Angeles.

Predictions For the Two

Of the two relievers, I think that Allen would be the most likely for the Dodgers to go in on. Andrew Miller, despite his rough season, will no doubt garner interest from almost every team in baseball. There will likely be a team willing to ignore 2018 and pay him as if the year never even happened. And if that is the case, Miller could be getting a Kenley Jansen type of contract. That is a contract that the Dodgers just cannot afford to match at this point.

Allen makes sense and I fully expect him to rebound. So how much is he going to cost? We will just have to wait and see.

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Written by Brook Smith

Brook is the Senior Editor of Dodgers Nation, with several years of experience in sports journalism. He is an avid Dodgers and Lakers fan, and can be spotted fairly often at Dodger Stadium and Staples Center.

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  1. The problem with these 2 relievers is that you would be paying for what they did, not what you can expect. They both have alot of innings on their arms. Maybe one of them, at a reasonable price would make a good fit while still trading for a younger up and coming pitcher or one in his prime.

  2. Let’s take a step back – I agree with Daniel’s comments on going in on both possibilities, but let’s look inside the organization. The Dodgers are talent rich in starting pitching, so why not turn over the 8th inning to Caleb Fergerson? He proved beyond a doubt that he can thrive in that situation. Keeping him as a starter is not a great idea, he will end up as trade bait because of the depth of the Dodger starting pitching. Another possibility is to work a trade of some of the older starting pitching to make room for Ferguson and gain a trusted reliever. The problem is good relievers are hard to come by and usually cost you tomorrow’s stars.

    • I guess the good news is that bullpen arms are abundant this offseason. So hopefully, that leaves us some room to make a move for a good arm. Whether it be via trade or signing.

  3. My concern with Cody Allen is in fact that notable increase in HR’s allowed, but then again this year’s Dodger BP pitchers made serving up the long ball a daily habit. I can’t count how many games in 2018 that the relievers let an otherwise close game get away with allowing game winning HR’s.

  4. Kenley is not what he used to be. The sure thing would have been to get Diaz but that’s over now. Allen, is he that special. Give them Kiki or Joc who are not necessary with Verdugo in the wings.

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