Dodgers Without Established High-Leveraged Reliever, SI Says

Sports Illustrated says Dodgers are good, but…

Indeed, the Dodgers failed to make the big splash move at the MLB trade deadline earlier in the week. Still, the team has aspirations to win the 2019 World Series with a current cast of characters attempting to find their way. While possible, the Dodgers may face an uphill battle unless a few guys emerge elite from their current state.

Now, Sports Illustrated is examining the biggest questions remaining after the MLB trade deadline. Of course, the Dodgers highlight the list of teams brought to task for not bringing that headlining reliever into the boat.

The opinion of note written by SI is that the Dodgers don’t have a ‘singular, established high-leverage option’. Here is the snippet that jumped out within the article that you may care most about:

Still, the problem with Los Angeles is that, with Kenley Jansen struggling, the team doesn’t have a singular, established high-leverage option. Pirates closer Felipe Vazquez would have been that arm, but his price was prohibitive. Instead, the Dodgers will have to hope that someone in that aforementioned group of starters can play up in relief—a big maybe for a team trying to end a 31-year championship drought.

The Dodgers added left-hander Adam Kolarek from Tampa Bay. However, one wonders if that along with the current group is enough to get the Dodgers past some of the current American League heavyweights if Los Angeles reaches the final series of the season.

As always, we’re most interested in your thoughts; the reader, the fan. Do you agree with Sports Illustrated’s evaluation in this article that the Dodgers really lack the impact arm to get this done and win a World Series title? Sometimes, those that watch the Dodgers on a daily, every-pitch basis are more qualified to give their opinion than that of a national writer.

In the comments, let us know your feelings on the matter. Will the Dodgers be alright with their current group? Or did they miss out in a major way by not getting an impact guy or two?

Written by Staff Writer


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  1. The Dodgers possess game-changing talent at starting rotation AND bullpen. These are the arms that WILL take any potential American League team to task. The bullpen boasts the likes of Jensen, Kelly, Baez, and Urías whom are all difference makers capable of rising to the occasion in the post-season. Add in Hill, and any of our upcoming arms and you’re looking at a grueling haul for any foe.

    • Homer much? God damn can you be more Pie in the sky? This bullpen stands no chance against an AL powerhouse and although we have a very good offense they will likely flounder in the World Series again

  2. The second riches team in baseball needs to get away from Andrew Friedman. Andrew Friedman is the problem. Playing out his own cheap organization agenda with the Dodgers. I also don’t think many other organizations want to deal with him. I believe the Dodgers will never win a World Series with him. I am a die hard Dodger fan since 1962. You will see….

  3. Dodgers lack a reliable reliever – NO KIDDING – breaking story from SI – it’s two years plus now. You won’t print what I think of management, i.e. Freidman all to blame, now that Farhan is gone.

  4. The Dodgers are getting a bad rap for not trading their prospects for a top reliever. But trading top prospects for a relief pitcher is tough. Maybe they made the right choice there. But this whole debate misses the real point, which is the Dodgers could have purchased a top reliever without giving up any prospects if they had been more aggressive during the off-season. In my mind, that is when they made the real mistake. As an accounting professor, I can guess what happened. They took on too much debt, so they needed to pay it down. To pay it down, they brought on some equity investors. The equity investors demanded frugality. That frugality has crushed the Dodgers bullpen. So in my mind, the Dodgers made some very real mistakes that have hurt the team. But let’s don’t blame it on the prospects. Let’s put the blame where it squarely the lines, which is on executive management that is unwilling to go all in financially for the team.

  5. I think we’ll find that the relievers are rounding into form for the playoffs. Add Maeda and Urias to the pen in the playoffs and we will be fine. Dodger fan since ’72…

  6. The problem with relievers is the shelf life. Look at folks like Cody Allen or Andrew Miller or any one of the guys who were dominant just two years ago. It doesn’t usually last. Even Jansen is not the pitcher he was two years ago. So a Vasquez is not worth multiple high end prospects who are major league ready and likely to be productive for multiple years. Yet, the bullpen has cost us five games in the past two WS. Between a rock and a hard drive place this year.

  7. I honestly believe Urias can be that dominant lefty reliever also with Maeda moving to the bullpen and Rich Hill coming back to the rotation the Dodgers are fine plus Dustin May looked good in his first start. Dave Roberts just needs to shore up the defense with the best position players on the field.

  8. What did Darvish accomplish with the Dodgers? Basically lost Game 7 at home before we even had an at bat!!! Then there is Machado…Manny went silent offensively in the World Series, and is only remembered for kicking the Brewers 1st baseman in the NLCS…I am OK with there position as it stands. Give this team a chance. Starting Pitching is Solid…Offense is more than capable, and Joe Kelly is starting to pitch a lot better of late.Best record in Baseball through 112 games. 1st team to 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70 wins this Season…hopefully the 1st team to 4 wins in the 2019 World Series!!!
    Go Blue!!!

  9. This Dodger Management Team has continued to build on its success. They will win the division for the 7th year. The team continues to get younger and better. They have multiple players coming up this year and next with Smith and probably Lux. The Starting Rotation with or without signing Ryu will be one of the better ones in baseball. Winning the WS is about Talent but it is also about Momentum, Injuries, and Luck. It is truly a game of inches.
    I was brought to my first Dodger game as a child in 1958 in the Coliseum. I have been a baseball and Dodger fan ever since. I will never understand the negativity of some of the fans towards this Management Team as they have been incredibly successful and we can all see they are continually building towards a better more sustainable team.

    • My experience is similar to yours—first game as a child at the Coliseum, and a loyal fan for decades. Our current management (front office and field) is doing an amazing job. Of course, I find stuff to puzzle over or disagree with, but in the end I am extremely appreciative of these guys who have been entrusted with the Blue.

      • Dewey exactly. Look at the current Scouting Team! In 2016 they drafted Lux, Smith, May, and others.
        They certainly make moves that we all find puzzling but they have access to a lot more information than we do. Think about this the Team is going for its 7th division title and they still have a top 5 rated Farm System. That is not supposed to happen. They were the only team to rate Lux and May that highly. And they look to have been correct. You are always going to have some misses like Kendall and Alvarez but overall the Scouting and Coaching departments have proven to be top tier. How do the Dodgers end up with Buehler? Think of a future rotation of Buehler, Urias, May, Gonsolin and? All young live arms. Are they always right? NO…But talent evaluation is an inexact science. This team despite the Negativity of many will continue to compete and win titles.

    • Easy for you, you got to see the best era’s in LA Dodger history right off the bat as a child and into adulthood. Many of these fans that complain all of the time have only ever seen bitter disappointment from some really good Dodger teams

  10. There is no guarantee that the Dodgers can make it to the WS for a third straight year, but if they do, it will take professional efforts in all facets of the game to secure the title. The starters are fully capable at their best. The defense is adequate when playing error free. The offense when healthy is the best in baseball. Keep Negron, and his speed, as a utility player. The arms in the bullpen, like the starters, are fully capable at their best. The coaching staff and front office have done a very good job of compiling and readying the team to this point, so let them play a traditional style of baseball. It is unfortunate that the FO didn’t acquire a postseason stud or two that this team could ride to a championship. But with professional efforts from the players and old fashioned traditional baseball from the staff this team is completely ready for great things.

  11. It doesn’t take a baseball genius to see the obvious. Yes, the Dodgers lack that dominant bullpen guy. Doesn’t mean they can’t win without him, but it does make it that much more challenging.

  12. They will blow it like they always do. The dodgers should be worried a little cause the braves and Nationals fixed their bullpen problems at the trade deadline. The dodgers may be the best in national league but the braves and the Nats are not far behind the dodgers of being the best in the national league. This year is a must win for them. Because the Padres will content next year and they will give the dodgers problems. Because the Padres will get pitching “Noah syndergaard” or Gerrit Cole, or bumgarner. But Andrew Friedman won’t do anything big at the winter meetings. will need SP and Bullpen help and fix our 2b problem. Lux will not play 2b He’s a SS. He is way better at SS then 2b. They need to move Corey seager to 3b, lux play SS, Turner to 2b, keep Muncy at 1b. Astros vs braves world series calling it. Hope it’s the dodgers but don’t trust the bullpen nor Jansen.

    • Kennypowers my how negative. I suggest you trade in your Dodgers gear and start rooting for that super team down South the Fathers…
      Next year the Dodgers may have a Rotation of Kershaw, Buehler, Maeda, Urias and either Ryu if they sign him or Gonsolin or May. The Infield may be Muncy, Lux, Seager, Turner, and Smith. The outfield Bellinger, Verdugo, and Polluck. I will gladly do battle with that team against the Padres any day. This team continues to get younger and better. Granted the Padres will be much improved as Tatis and others get more time and guys like Machado and Renfro compete. But I see them as a perennial Wild Card Team. The Dodgers are positioned to compete for the next decade and beyond. If I were an NL West Team I would be concerned by the Dodgers current roster, Farm Team and Resources (Money) going forward. Also, there have been some very impactful International Signings recently that bode well for the future.

      • Tmaxter, the one thing I would question Kennypowers on is that no way does Turner move to 2nd base, as his knees and legs are not conducive to handling that all important middle INF. position on a regular basis. As I understand it Lux is now playing 2nd at OKC to prep him gong forward. and let’s also not forger who just may be our 3rd baseman in the future….the guy we signed in the 1st round this year, Kody Hoese a RHB with some sock. Seager should be at SS until he and the Dodgers decide that another position would be better for him. What do ya think?

    • Good let the Braves get humiliated The last thing we need is to not only lose 3 in a row but also lose to the Astros for a 2nd time

  13. I agree that something has to be done about the bullpen. Not only have they cost us 5 world series games, but I believe they have been responsible for close to half our losses this year.

    Kenley now makes me nervous when he comes in. He has to develop another pitch he can rely on besides the cutter. He appears to require more pitcher-catcher conferences than any of our other pitchers, regardless of who’s catching. Lot of shake-offs too. You get the feeling that he is pretty stubborn about what he wants to pitch and is over-confident where it is not justified. He’s not a ‘game over’ Gagne type pitcher and should realize it.

    As for the general bullpen, glad Floro is not around. He’s been bad, along with Ferguson, Alexander before he got hurt, and I don’t trust Yimi with his tendency to give up the home run ball. Now that the trade deadline is over maybe our only hope is to either find a couple of pitchers in the minors we can use and rely on, whether starters or relievers and use them in the pen.

    I know we didn’t want to give up Lux and a few others, but couldn’t we at least manage to make a deal to get a couple fairly dependable relievers? Nice to be in the Series, but the goal should be to WIN it, not just compete every year. I’m not optimistic unless something changes. We have a big lead. Let’s try a few more pitchers out.
    ps. Glad the Pedersen 1st base experiment is over, but, if last night is any example, White is not the answer

    • Kenny powers, correct on those games the BP contributed in those WS games that were losses. However, keep in mind that the starters were just as guilty because they too surrendered the HR’s to put the team in a hole. 23 HR’s given up combined in these past 2 WS (12 games total) And Dodger offense was full of striking out in key situations as well. Dodgers did not hit well with RISP in either series. So I am only saying there is plenty of blanme to go around, not just what the BP did. and again, the fact that the Braves and nats improved their BP guarantees those teams ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, and perhaps not even getting out of a 1st round of playoffs should they get there

  14. Great insight from all even Kimbrel who I wished we had gotten is blowing it. I still think we could have kept Chapman if Jansen wouldn’t have made such a fuss for having to be the guy. Even Haders had a bad streak. Crazy as it may sound but if Hill is healthy and can start I’d go with Kershaw in Relief and mix and match Urias to start or close. Maeda relief and pray Others like Kelly can close with Jansen. I think Ryu Buhler Hill Urias start and the rest can do One to four innings as needed. Maybe Gonsolin will factor in or May for long relief. Will see As it all unfolds John Yreka

  15. Hard to see this team beating Houston with no bullpen to speak of. Putting Maeda or some kid in that role in high pressure situations is not ideal to say the least. Nothing we can do now.
    A Chapman is opting out at years end. Do we go after him for a 4-5 year contract?

    • No way on Chapman as dodgers don’t want to spend, especially on a reliever as look at the Joe Kelly 7 mil mistake..

  16. Nahhh . . . that’s just another national level pundit reporting what is the “accepted wisdom” of the masses. Even now the Dodgers have one of the top five bullpens in the big leagues, and how much better will it be once May, Gonsolin, Hill, Maeda, and Stripling get there . . . No worries!

    • They actually posses one of the worst pens and none of those names inspire any confidence in most fans

  17. It doesn’t matter if the Dodgers win 105 games or more in the regular season. If I was sizing up their chances to win the World Series this year, I would have to classify them as an also ran. It’s possible things could break their way, but they are not set up to win it all.

    Andrew Friedman has to take most of the blame for this. The idea that you can always wait until mid-season to pick up what you need is now a trap, as no waiver trades are possible now as they used to be up until the end of August. If there aren’t a number of active sellers you can pick and choose from, you either have to pay a huge price for what you need or walk away with nothing. The Dodgers got nothing (of real value) and will probably pay the price for this mismanagement in October.

  18. The Dodgers have for the playoffs a good threesome of Kershaw Ryu and Buehler. Could be more dangerous than Cole Verlander and Grenke. Plus Hill and Stripling should be healthy. Urias and May look strong enough to start or with Maeda work middle innings before Baez Garcia and Kelly. Janssen we need healthy. Interested to see Gonsolin performs. But that’s a strong core.

  19. This may sound crazy now, but an alternate option is to shift Walker Buehler to the closer role for both 8th and 9th inning. Every team with lights out relievers have fastball in the high ’90’s. It’s very obvious that Jansen is done, he’s averaging only 91mph – 92mph, his cutter no longer gets hitters out, but most scary part is Jansen is very homerun prone, so is Baez and Kelly. At least Buehler have 4 different pitches he can mix. If Dodgers keep Jansen as their closer, I can already envision him giving up a game winning homerun in the World Series, 100%.

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