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.
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 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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