When the Los Angeles Dodgers were eliminated from the playoffs in the NLDS, much of the blame fell upon the bullpen.
When the Dodgers got a new front office, it was expected that they would focus on the bullpen. It has been quite the opposite thus far, as they have not made any significant deals in the bullpen and have traded away Dee Gordon, Dan Haren and Matt Kemp. However, in the trade that sent Gordon, Haren and Miguel Rojas to Miami, the Dodgers received four players including reliever Chris Hatcher.
While addressing the media around midnight, Andrew Friedman had some high praise for the right-hander:
We like Hatcher quite a bit. We feel like he fits in really well within the constructs of our current bullpen and really lengthens our pen. He’s got really good stuff, misses bats and we feel like has a chance to really help us in 2015 and beyond.”
Hatcher made a career-high 52 appearances last season, finishing with a 3.38 ERA and 60 strikeouts in 56 innings. The 29-year-old throws hard and developed into a solid relief pitcher. He will slot into the Dodger bullpen and give manager Don Mattingly a power arm for use at any time. Like Kenley Jansen, Hatcher is a former catcher that converted to pitcher.
With a mid-90s fastball, slider and changeup, Hatcher has the ability to get outs in a few ways. His off-speed pitches became his most effective pitches in 2014, meaning he’s becoming more of a pitcher than a thrower. The Dodgers would greatly benefit if he can become a serviceable arm, as he comes cheaper than any arm that was on the market.