The 2020 World Series win for the Dodgers was unlike the last few postseason runs for a lot of reasons. The fact they were able to finally win it all is enough to tell you that. But this year, Kenley Jansen’s playoff role was not what is has been over the years.
And maybe that is the key to success, maybe it’s not. But as of right now, Jansen remains the Dodgers closer. To make his as effective and useful as possible, the team will have to replace a few key arms in the bullpen and then some. Even after adding Corey Knebel to the mix for the 2021 season, Andrew Friedman and the front office are looking to build off of that.
I think it’s safe to say that as we sit here in the beginning of December, that we still have some work to do in the bullpen. We like the guys who will be returning next year, but, obviously, we got some work to do there and fortunately, there are a number of guys on the market — both in the free-agent market and trade market — and so that’s where a decent amount of our attention is being spent right now. And I expect us to add at least a few guys before we get to [spring training].
The Dodgers could potentially lean heavily into free agency in order to fill their bullpen needs. If ever there was a year for them to do that, it would certainly be this offseason. There are a couple of really big arms on the market as of late, including a few names the team has already been linked to.
Brad Hand represents an intriguing option that could give the Dodgers a mix of looks out of the pen. If they were to go that option, he would likely cost them a pretty penny. Liam Hendriks is another guy that they have been linked to, and he could potentially fill any role that the Dodgers might need. Again, he would come at a pretty high cost.
Whatever they chose to do, Dave Roberts has reminded us that Kenley Jansen is still the closer. In his words, “The best-case scenario is Kenley is our closer, but that is solely dependent on him.” We’ll have to wait and see.