Los Angeles Dodger fans everywhere were scratching their head when reliever Paco Rodriguez was optioned to Triple-A on Tuesday as the team activated Brian Wilson. Along with Rodriguez, Chris Withrow and Kenley Jansen are the only relievers with options left. Manager Don Mattingly’s decision to option Rodriguez means only one lefty, J.P. Howell, remains in the bullpen.
Brandon League has frequently been the scapegoat of any bullpen trouble. League could have been designated for assignment, to the liking of fans, but that means the Dodgers would take on the close to $15 million left on League’s contract in order to clear him out of the bullpen, which is a financial liability the organization is clearly not ready to assume.
Most recently, League gave up a 12th inning walk-off single right after throwing a wild pitch that advanced a runner to third. Despite the blunders, Mattingly seems to be a little more confident in League than fans are, via Bill Plunkett of the O.C. Register:
He’s one of our guys, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly offered in frain support of League. I’m confident in Brandon. Like I said, he’s one of our guys. We’re going to continue to use him. But obviously, there has to be a plan. We can’t just keep running him out there.
League also seems optimistic amidst his struggling season via Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times:
Brandon League says season is still young, no reason to think last year’s problems will bleed into this year.
— Dylan Hernandez (@dylanohernandez) April 16, 2014
In four games so far, the right-handed reliever has given up six hits and four runs in 5.1 innings and has accumulated a 6.75 ERA. The 31-year-old added that his struggles will have to eventually come to an end. With Clayton Kershaw next in line to be activated, it begs the question as to who the Dodgers will be willing to send down next.
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