With Spring Training in full swing, you can expect teams to start making decisions for the regular season. Dave Roberts has begun doing so, although today’s decision isn’t a surprise to anyone. Roberts announced 5 of the 8 relievers that he expects the Dodgers to carry this season.
Roberts: Jansen, Baez, Cingrani, Alexander, Stripling set for bullpen. Dodgers expect to use 8-man pen.
— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) March 3, 2018
The list of relievers includes Kenley Jansen, Pedro Baez, Tony Cingrani, Scott Alexander, and Ross Stripling. That leaves 3 open spots with the Dodgers’ intention of carrying 8 relievers in 2018. Expect to see the remaining relievers battle it out for those final spots for the rest of the Spring.
Kenley Jansen needs no introduction. He’s the best closer in baseball, so there was clearly never a doubt that he’d make the roster. Kenley has been mostly MIA during the Dodgers Spring Traning games to this point. However, this was all part of the plan. Jansen is only expected to pitch in two cactus league games and once in the Freeway Series, per Alanna Rizzo. He’s still getting his work in, just not often during these exhibition games. Kenley will be where he needs to be for Opening Day, and that’s all that matters. Expect another tremendous season from the big man who anchors the Dodger ‘pen in 2018.
Pedro Baez is a player who has all the tools to be great, but struggles with consistency. One day he can look like a top 10 reliever, the next he could implode. Despite this, he’s still a player the Dodgers will rely on to get outs and be a bridge to Jansen. If Baez can find consistency under new bullpen coach Mark Prior, the Dodgers could have one of the better setup guys in baseball.
Tony Cingrani and Scott Alexander will be two of the Dodgers’ lefties this season. Cingrani was acquired at the deadline last season from Cincinnati, and exceeded expectations with the Dodgers. He became a go-to lefty out of the pen through the rest of the season and the postseason. Alexander was acquired from Kansas City in January, and will likely be more than just a situational lefty. Last season, he was one of the better relievers in all of baseball. He has shown the ability to get out both lefties and righties, and could challenge Baez for the 8th inning role.
Ross Stripling will likely be one of the Dodgers multi-inning relievers in 2018. A converted starter, Stripling found some success in the bullpen last season. Like Baez, he struggled with consistency at times but still gave the Dodgers quality innings. Lets not forget this is the guy who threw 7 2/3 no-hit innings in his Major League debut, so he knows a thing or two about pitching in big moments.
With 3 spots up for grabs, the options to fill them are still plentiful. Guys like Josh Fields, Yimi Garcia, Adam Liberatore, and Brock Stewart will compete for those spots, among others. One option who some expected to make it, Tom Koehler, will likely start the season on the disabled list so he’ll likely have to wait to get his shot in the Dodgers’ bullpen. Still, the Dodgers look to boast a deep bullpen in 2018.
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