It hasn’t been for lack of trying that the Los Angeles Dodgers haven’t acquired a great reliever to pair up with Kenley Jansen this offseason. They certainly made a run at Aroldis Chapman, but ultimately decided that his legal issues were not worth the headache.
They then opted to take a cheap route, signing Joe Blanton to a one-year deal worth $4 million. Whether you want to call Blanton a difference maker is up to you, but he certainly performed well out of the bullpen last season.
None of that means the Dodgers are set in their bullpen, though. They still need some help, and they’re still right-hand dominant there, with Luis Avilan and J.P. Howell being the only left-hand options out of the pen.
Still, the Dodgers could use some additional help, unless they plan on using starters such as Alex Wood or Hyin-jin Ryu out of bullpen at times this year.
Los Angeles Dodgers — The roster is pretty well set but they could use some bullpen depth. Tommy Hunter, Bobby Parnell and Burke Badenhop could all provide potential help in middle relief.
The interesting thing is that all three relievers suggested are right-handers.
Badenhop had a 3.93 ERA in 66.1 innings for the Cincinnati Reds last year, while striking out only 36 batters and walking 20. He’s predominantly a groundball pitcher, but didn’t get an adequate number of them last year, which is partially why he struggled.
Meanwhile, Hunter spent time with the Baltimore Orioles and Chicago Cubs last year. He compiled a 4.18 ERA and struck out 47 batters in 60.1 innings. But Hunter was better in 2013 and 2014, where he had a 2.88 ERA in 147 innings over those two seasons, as well as 113 strikeouts and only 26 walks.
Lastly, Parnell has spent his entire career with the New York Mets, and he finished 2015 with a 6.38 ERA in only 24 innings. He struggled, walking 17 batters and striking out only 13. However, during a four year stretch from 2010 to 2013, Parnell had a 2.79 ERA and fanned 202 batters in 213 innings. He would be an interesting reclamation project.
They’re all very intriguing options on several fronts, but do any of them move the needle at all? I guess we’ll find that out if the Dodgers sign any of them.
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