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Dodgers: Relief Pitching Identified as Biggest Area of Need for LA in Off-Season by Expert

If you were shopping for the Dodgers, what would you buy?

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MAY 02: Will Smith #13 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the San Diego Padres in the top of the seventh inning at AT&T Park on May 2, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

While Monday marks the beginning of a new season – MLB free agency – teams have the opportunity to match need with commodity on the open market. Therefore, it’s time to examine what the Los Angeles Dodgers truly need most.

Over at MLB.com, MLB Network Insider Mark Feinsand has done exactly that. Aside from identifying the biggest need for every team in baseball, he believes the most pressing need for the Dodgers is relief pitching.

Within the column, Feinsand explains his reasoning. Moreover, he lists a few top candidates that should be good targets for the Dodgers to make a pass at. Here’s what Feinsand had to say.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Relief pitching

The Dodgers boasted the lowest rotation ERA in the Majors (3.11), and while their 3.78 bullpen ERA ranked fourth in the league, it appears to be the area most in need of a boost this offseason. Kenley Jansen should return as the closer, but adding an arm or two to help get him the ball would improve the 106-win team.

Potential FA targets: Will Smith, Dellin Betances

Obviously, I have mixed feelings on this. Indeed, the Dodgers could use a couple dependable relievers. However, I can’t say that signing both Betances and Smith would make me feel like the Dodgers have done enough to put themselves over the top.

Furthermore, it sounds like Hyun-Jin Ryu is postmarked for a new big league city. That will leave a good hole in the rotation, so referencing last year’s ERA for the Dodgers’ starting pitching is irrelevant; in my opinion.

Finally, I will be thrilled if the Dodgers do add a reliever. Still, I would list starting pitcher (1) and middle-of-the-order thumper bat (1, any position) ahead of that if I was making a list.

What do you feel the Dodgers’ biggest off-season need is? Let us know in the comments below.

Written by Clint Evans

Clint lives in Ohio, and played collegiate baseball. He loves the Dodgers due to his first memories of Chavez Ravine when he was nine years old. The voice of Vin Scully has been a staple in his life since he was a kid. No amount of baseball talk is ever enough, and he wishes the regular season was year round. He has written about baseball online since 2007.

26 Comments

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  1. Do you think Bumgarner could actually put on a Dodgers uniform and not vomit in the process? …..I see 1 FA Vet SP in our future. MUST BE INJURY PRONE! & 3 youngins’ Gossling, May, and Stripling fighting for the final starting job.

  2. Man, Feinsand is really really observant. Genius, expert. Glad he figured this out, we sure could use some Bull pen help…

  3. Attention Mr. Feinsand – the sun rises in the east. Thanks for your brilliant grasp of the obvious.

    • Middle of the order thumper bat??? How about middle of the order contact, put-the-ball-in-play kind of bat? Can’t this team learn from its mistakes??? We exited the playoffs early this year because of our boom or bust offense, not our pitching…. although we do need another lock down starter and Will Smith in the bullpen.

      • I could not agree more. I want contact hitters. If you make good contact you’ll get your homeruns. Just look at Rendon. Lindor would be fine but not at the expense of Seager. I think he’ll have an excellent year in 2020 as he will have adjusted to his new body shape and maybe bulk up a bit. Bows the time to shift Seager to third. Lux may be the odd man out. We got lucky this year with Ryu. Need another stud to help Buehler in the rotation. Bullpen needs a 50% overhaul. The numbers were ok but anyone who watched all year could tell they were very shaky.

      • yes the poor boom or bust offense was part of the early PS exit but when it’s all said and done, the HR’s given up by Kershaw and Kelly in game 5 of the NLDS is what ultimately led to an early PS exit. With that said the Dodgers scored 22 runs in those 5 games and the Nats scored 21. That tells me that pitching was the major culprit.

  4. First of all great starting pitching and defense wins Championships.
    Front Office priority this off season should be (1) A great starting pitcher: Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg if available.
    (2) Defense: A great hot corner Anthony Rendon also a clutch right handed hitter.
    (3) Bullpen relievers: Keep Kenta Maeda, Adam Kolarek, Tony Gonsolin, Joe Kelly, Kenley Jansen. Replace the rest.
    (4) Starting pitchers: Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, Julio Urias, Dustin Mays.

  5. Who even cares anymore, nothing will be shored up the way it needs to and something will go wrong in the biggest games again. It’s so exhausting every year it’s the same shortcomings and then we talk about how we can fix it

    • I agree here with ya Manny. Dodgers will not do what it takes to get through another PS. Maybe a replacement for Roberts would be a good start but that won’t happen. but we do know that any big name FA’s will not be coming to the Dodgers. What’s exhausting is these pages on how Dodgers are ‘linked’ to every big name FA or trade person that most know is just a fairy tale.

    • We are in a position of strength at catching. We have Smith, Ruiz, and don’t forget mega stud Cartaya. All we need is a backup for Smith for part of 2020. Barnes would do if he has a nice spring.

  6. Ultimately relief pitching has always been the reason the Dodgers fall short in the end each year. They need a reliable lefty in their bullpen! Plus another solid righty would be even better. Replace Ryu with Strasburg or Cole. And find a reliable bat, not necessarily a power hitter. Someone like Adam Eaton or Jose Altuve. Forget the salary cap. They need to go get it now…

    • Remember Kershaw’s meltdown cause they left him in too long against the Cardinals and had no bridge to Kenley. This has been going on for years. They don’t take their bullpen nearly seriously enough. Always piecing it together with has beens and reclamation projects. Owners need to step up or step out.

  7. Dodgers bullpen was near the bottom of MLB in allowing inherited runners to score, blown saves, and % of save opportunities converted; the $25MM setup man only had 8 holds all season; left hander Cingrani was out all season; Scott Alexander only pitched 17 ineffective innings; Pedro Baez, Joe Kelly, and Yimi Garcia had 2 saves, and 14 blown saves. Of course the bullpen is the first priority.

    • Nope. Best bullpen in the NL. You aren’t a real fan? I’m a real fan. Are you a real fan? Or… snowflake or… anti dodger when you need it so that makes it. The cat and the hat and the five Chinese brothers. What am I saying again?

  8. Re-sign Ryu and Hill (bullpen).
    Sign Cole/Strasburg/Wheeler and Will Smith ‘II’; Rendon/Donaldson; Gardner/J.D. Martínez
    Trade Pollock, Hernández, Pederson, Barnes

    SP: Cole, Ryu, Buehler, Kershaw, Urias
    RP: Hill, Maeda, Gonsolin, May (2+ IP); Kelly, Smith, Jansen (1 IP)

    Smith, Ruiz
    Turner, Muncy, Seager, Rendon/Donaldson, Lux, Beaty
    Verdugo, Bellinger, Taylor, Gardner/Martínez
    (Complete the roster)

    Is this roster possible (financially)?

  9. PUT ROOKIE PITCHERS IN THE PEN O YES MAY THE CLOWN W/HIS OVER DONE HAIR, CUT THE BUSH, LOOK LIKE A PRO. HE IS NOT A STARTING PITCHER. GET RID OF KELLY, CINGRANI, ALEXANDER , MAYBE PEDRO & YIMI . BETTER PITCHERS ARE OUT THERE

  10. Dodgers need a top starting pitcher with a proven track record. They could also use a good right handed hitter to play second or third base. Next would be a top relief pitcher who could close games out if need be
    We have to spend the money to get quality.

  11. Hard to argue that the bullpen is not a problem, since it has been one for the pas 2+ years. But – unlike last year – there aren’t a lot of obvious choices. Smith could turn out to be the next Kelly, although he does have a better long term record. Tell you what. Let’s grab both Cole and Strasburg. Then we will have plenty of “arms” that have proven they can pitch when it matters. And while we’re at it, we should add Bumgarner. Not for his arm (we don’t need him during the 162) but for his bat. He could be on the IL all season long and then we could activate him for the playoffs (putting Kershaw on the IL) and we’d have both his arm and his bat. We might get a better result this time.

  12. Dodger management needs to get away from extreme analytical baseball because it’s not working for the post season or for the team. Also we need the players to have consistent positions!!!

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