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Dodgers New Acquisitions Are Hurting the Bullpen

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September 2, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Ryan Madson (50) throws against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the seventh inning at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps you’re like me. Maybe you like these strange nickel and dime trades for bullpen pieces that had so much potential at one point. Joe Blanton, Brandon Morrow, even Bradon Beachy. Small deals that have such low risk and offer so much reward. Unfortunately, that has not worked out for the Dodgers this year.

The trades for Ryan Madson and John Axford actually got me really excited for a bullpen that was in desperate need of help. Madson is just one year removed from an incredible season that saw him 1.83 earned run average pitching with the A’s and Nationals. Granted, 2018 had been rough on him, but the potential was there.

We all knew John Axford was more of a project piece and roll of the dice. But his unusual effectiveness against left-handed hitters made him seem like a diamond in the rough. Neither of these guys cost the team much, just a few unproven prospects. Both guys certainly looked like a gamble well worth taking.

But alas, here we are. Axford is out with a broken fibula and he wasn’t exactly missing bats when he was healthy either. The two have combined to allow 11 earned runs across just 6.2 innings of work. That amounts to an earned run average of 14.85 in their short time with Los Angeles.

The two were brought on in hopes of adding some postseason relief help, but it’s looking like they won’t even make the roster. It’s weird to think that Pedro Baez is pitching infinitely better than those two in the same time period. Baez has allowed just one earned run in his last eleven appearances. That amounts to a 0.77 ERA.

Outlook

While there have been some welcomed additions, these two, in particular, have made the past few weeks rough. Madson most recently allowed three earned runs against Cincinnati on Monday night, a game where the Dodgers were blown away by a terrible team. Don’t expect to see these guys on the team by the end of the year.

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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.

23 Comments

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  1. I never heard last winter, so do you know what happened with Brandon Morrow negotiations? I would be angry if the Dodgers didn’t do everything in their power to keep him. We desperately needed him

    • It mostly just came down to money. The Dodgers didn’t like the idea of having multiple guys in their bullpen making more than $10m annually, they felt they could distribute the wealth and have a better bullpen. Clearly didn’t work out as they had hoped.

      • Long term Dodgers may have made the correct call. Morrow with a history of injuries and has not pitched for the Cubs since mid July and still not scheduled for any rehab assignment.

      • Remember the Dodgers lost Tom Kohler before the year even started. Clearly, they miss Tony Cingrani. Alexander is no Watson. Bullpen has been decimated by injuries. Maybe getting Fields back will help. Schedule does not favor the Dodgers; 14 away games and only six at home, not that the Dodgers have been a great home team. Colorado can really hit–Blackmon, LaMahieu, Arenado, Story, Gonzalez, Dahl, Holliday, etc.–the bullpen is weak; Wade Davis is vulnerable. Bud Black is a solid manager. I give Colorado the edge down the stretch.

    • The Dodgers were never going to be able to keep Morrow because he wanted to close. That chance did not exist here. Morrow said he wanted to stay but after last season’s success, he wasn’t going to turn down a lucrative, multiyear deal to close somewhere else. And he didn’t. And now he is injured again–surprise. Are you regretting that?

  2. He was paid Jansen-type money to become the closer and has spent roughly 2 months on the dl after a hot start. He wasn’t getting either to stay in LA.

  3. 135 different lineups in 144 games there is your problem players don’t know if they are in or out of the lineup that night or even where they are playing Yes it looks good to see all those HRs but most are solo shots this team need to play the short game when you have guys on base do not always aim for the fences so many games have been lost due to this non team play, where is the leadership DR is a joke the way he manages no starter is safe for more than 4 innings the pen is about as awful as can be Baez is a gas can every time he comes in he is giving up runs, hits getting men on base other than Jansen this is a AAA bullpen at best Just making the playoffs is not going to cut it Not to be doom and gloom but there is no way this team advances past the first round changes need to made guys like Axford and Madsen not the answer there was a reason they were picked up so cheaply they stink Why DR keeps trotting Madsen out is the same wonder ment as to why Granderson was playing so last year when he was terrible.

    • No argument from me, but I do wonder how much freedom Roberts may have in his decisions. Is he making these lineups, pitching changes, etc. or is he Robbie the Robot only doing what he is directed by Dr. Morbius (Forbidden Planet movie reference) AKA Friedman/Zaidi? Hitters home run approach is definitely a FO mandate that has been implemented throughout the Dodgers minor league system.

    • Please use punctuation. It is extremely hard to read your writing when everything is a run-on sentence.

    • Actually Jansen has 5 losses and 5 blown saves so he is almost as bad as the other rejects in the pen. The two buffoons in the front office need to hire a competent manager and keep their worthless butts in their offices. All their micro-managing is obviously not working. Machado has been average, Dozier has been awful and the fact that this “team” can’t beat the Reds shows how bad the team truy is.

  4. The comment from Mark is so right on ,you cant change a line up every night another thing Mr Puig should be in right field every game his defense saves runs time after time i guess the two idiots that make the lineup can’t figure it out.

  5. Please use punctuation, Mark. It is extremely hard to read your writing when everything is a run-on sentence.

  6. Okay.. last night it’s 5-3. The Dodgers seem like they are on the brink of a comeback and could win a vital game in the race for the division title. Alex Wood is being pummeled. Any half way decent manager would relieve Wood after the Dodgers scored two to come back. I would have brought in Stripling to start the 4th but you need guys who will stop the bleeding. Venditte is okay but he came in too late He leaves in Wood not for one or two batters but for several and he gives back two runs. Then he brings in Madson who everyone knows is terrible. Dave Roberts has no idea of what he is doing and should be fired. He can’t make any good decisions regarding the bullpen.

    • i agree roberts should and will be gone when they miss the playoffs in two weeks.his foolish decisions with his pitchers cost the dodgers the world series last year

  7. This team would make a good triple A team. As far as I’m concerned,this season is over. Maybe next year. That’s the same thing I’ve been saying since 1988.

  8. Oh Boy!! Now we get to go to St lewis and get swept!! in their park .The problem with the Dodgers is they don’t have any pitching. Kershaw can’t go 3 innings without giving up a home run and the Dodgers can’t get any runs.Kershaw has to throw a Shutout to win,if the Dodgers can score a run. Alex Wood is a triple A pitcher at best. Maieta and Ryu are both over the hill. The bullpen stinks top to bottom!! They couldn’t get their Grandmother out!! The thing I hate the worst is the other teams pitch guys you never heard of and they pitch like Sandy Kofax on a good day. Jansen is done and will never be the same. The best relief pitcher the Dodgers ever had was Eric Ganue. Anyway the Dodgers aren’t going anywhere this year. No Wild Card!! No playoffs!! See you next year!!

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