It’s been the winter of adding former closers to the bullpen mix for Los Angeles Dodgers GM Ned Colletti as Chris Perez and Jamey Wright were signed while Brian Wilson and J.P. Howell re-signed.
With a bullpen that features closer Kenley Jansen coupled together with these additions, the Dodgers have seemingly cut the game down. Wilson will serve as the set-up man while Perez seems to have the seventh inning job entering Spring Training. As he’s done the past two days, ESPN.com baseball analyst Buster Olney is ranking units and today he ranked bullpens with the Dodgers in the Top-5:
They’ve paid handsomely for their relievers, spending $10 million annually for Brian Wilson to be a set-up man, after paying $22.5 million in a multi-year deal for Brandon League last year — and their closer is Kenley Jansen, who settled into that role in 2013. The Dodgers also retained J.P. Howell on a two-year, $11.25 million deal, to re-join Paco Rodriguez in Don Mattingly’s left-handed tandem, and signed right-handers Chris Perez andJamey Wright, giving the Dodgers perhaps the deepest and, undoubtedly, most expensive bullpen in baseball.
The Dodgers are ranked fifth in his eyes, behind the Pittsburgh Pirates, Kansas City Royals, Oakland Athletics and Atlanta Braves. As Olney mentions, the Dodgers will have arguably the deepest bullpen in baseball with several former closers.
Youngsters Chris Withrow and Jose Dominguez are both now in limbo with the big league club and it isn’t known how manager Don Mattingly intends to use League, who had an awful 2013. Withrow was a solid arm out of the ‘pen and it’s possible he sticks, but it’s less likely that Dominguez starts 2014 at the big league level.
Wright will likely serve as the long reliever, but if the Dodgers sign Masahiro Tanaka, things get cloudy with Josh Beckett and then eventual return of Chad Billingsley from Tommy John. Regardless, Colletti and company have assembled a top-5 bullpen that should have Dodger fans feeling confident with a lead late in games.
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