Besides re-signing relievers Brian Wilson and J.P. Howell, the team also signed right-handers Jamey Wright and Chris Perez. With Wilson and Perez, the bullpen has more than a few arms that are capable of closing ballgames.
According to ESPN writer Paul Swydan, the Perez signing was one of the five strangest moves of the off-season:
With as many as eight competent relievers under contract, surely the Dodgers didn’t need a ninth? And yet, they decided to lock in Perez. This makes little sense, and will probably cost a kid like Withrow or Dominguez a shot at a big league job.
Swydan also went on to explain why the move wasn’t logical from Perez’s side:
If he doesn’t work out in a middle-leverage role, he’ll be cut. And if he does work out, he may have pigeonholed himself back into the far-less-lucrative setup man territory.
Perez has been primarily a closer the past four seasons but will be behind Wilson and Kenley Jansen in the Dodger bullpen. He may only get a handful of save opportunities and will likely see himself throwing in the sixth and seventh innings. The 28-year-old struggled last season with a 4.33 ERA in 54 innings and may be looking for a strong season to increase his value. Manager Don Mattingly will hope that he gets the same Perez that was an All-Star in 2011 and 2012 to use in the middle innings.
Signing Perez did seem unlikely heading into the off-season, especially with the emergence of rookie Chris Withrow and the development of Jose Dominguez; however, the Dodgers may have been looking for depth at a position that can easily be weakened by injuries. A strong season by Perez will only help the team and could give them the type of bullpen necessary for a deep, playoff run.
ICYMI: Here’s our Dodgers Nation Week in Review video