The Los Angeles Dodgers bullpen has been the victim of heavy criticism, not only during the regular season, but also during this offseason with the bullpen being a critical reason as to why the Dodgers failed yet again to defeat the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLDS.
The one star to shine amongst the Dodgers relievers last year was Kenley Jansen. The closer was by far the most consistent player out of the bullpen; he finished the 2014 season with a 2.25 ERA and tied for the fifth most saves in the majors with 44. Despite being the best reliever, he recorded just one save over one inning of work during four postseason games.
At Dodgers Fan Fest this past Saturday, Jansen did not hide his disappointment when asked about how he felt regarding the scrutiny placed upon the bullpen last year. “It bothers me a lot because, you know, when they criticize the bullpen, they criticize me,” he said. “So if the bullpen is not doing good, I am not doing good.”
With the revamping of the bullpen this offseason, the Dodgers’ closer is hoping to eliminate the errors that proved costly for the teams postseason success.
“Now we just got to go as a unit, as a team and in the bullpen and get better and try and help the team win because if it’s not for us, you’re not going to be getting far in the playoffs,” added Jansen. “We got to do a better job.”
The Dodgers added right-handers Joel Peralta and Chris Hatcher via trades, and should see youngsters Paco Rodriguez, Pedro Baez and others continue to develop. Gone are the bearded, former closers Chris Perez and Brian Wilson, as well as long-man Jamey Wright.
Manager Don Mattingly should have more options this year in the later innings that should lead to more victories. Jansen will once again start the spring as the closer and leader of a hopefully improved relieving corps.