With the spring coming to an end in the next week, the Los Angeles Dodgers still have a few decisions to make in terms of bench and bullpen.
While the bench will be a tough decision, it should be a position of strength for the Dodgers; meanwhile, the bullpen will be a tough decision, but it’s unclear of the effectiveness. The relievers took a brunt of the blame last season and in the postseason, and the new front office made it a point to improve the production in the later innings. Rather than spend money to revamp the bullpen, Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi decided to focus on depth and trying to find a diamond in the rough.
When talking about making a decision before the season, Zaidi said what will factor into the final seven men via Bill Plunkett of the OC Register:
You have a pretty small sample here so we actually go less on the numbers and more on the quality of the stuff these guys are showing,” Zaidi said. “And like I said a few times this offseason, strike-throwing is going to be a high if not the highest priority. We don’t want a bullpen that’s going to beat itself. That’s going to be at a premium. So guys who have a history of throwing strikes are going to be at an advantage and anybody who doesn’t is going to have to show that ability at least in the spring.”
Although some younger players may be doing what is asked of them and performing on the field, it’s a possibility that they could not make the Opening Day roster because of their options. If they are able to be sent down without being lost, then it’s likely they could start the year in the Minor Leagues until they are needed. Relievers like Paco Rodriguez, Yimi Garcia and others could find themselves on the short end of the stick because of their options.
Zaidi mentioned that they will try to make the sure the roster is at full strength, but they also don’t want to lose players to release or waivers:
If you ask me right now who our seven-man bullpen is on opening day, I honestly couldn’t tell you. We have a group of good options and those guys are all going to make three or four more appearances here. Preserving depth and preserving your options is always a good thing and it’ll be at least some factor in how we open the season.”
It’ll be a race to the final day for the Dodger bullpen and it will be one of the decisions that could determine how the team starts the season.
Dodgers 2015 Spring Training – Sergio Santos