With the Winter Meetings taking place, many relievers are coming off the market quickly. Guys like Brandon Morrow, Bryan Shaw, and Tommy Hunter have already been scooped up. On Wednesday morning, Anthony Swarzak was also taken off of the market by the New York Mets. Andrew Friedman said recently that adding to the bullpen was the Dodgers main priority this offseason.
There are still some good relievers available, like Wade Davis and Brandon Kintzler, but the Dodgers are likely to avoid the higher priced options.
As middle relievers fetch multi-year deals, the Dodgers still appear committed to a less aggressive approach in building a bullpen. Can rely on in-house talent, scouting acumen to fill it out.
— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughTimes) December 13, 2017
The loss of Brandon Morrow creates a big hole in the Dodgers bullpen, leaving them without a true setup man. Morrow is one of a handful of top free agent relievers to fetch a multi-year deal, something the Dodgers are likely to avoid. Although Morrow was phenomenal in his time with the Dodgers, he’s living proof that you can catch lightning in a bottle with under the radar signings. Another good example of this is Joe Blanton in 2016.
Morrow’s 2017 campaign earned him a 2-year deal worth $18 million with the Cubs with a $12 million option for a third year. Byran Shaw received a 3-year deal worth around $9 million per season from Colorado. Anthony Swarzak, another breakout reliever in 2017, got a two-year deal worth $14 million with the Mets. Tommy Hunter received a two-year deal from Philadelphia worth $18 million.
The Dodgers have been burned by big contracts with relievers in the recent past, such as Brandon League and Brian Wilson. When Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi took over they immediately seemed intent on changing that. They’ve stuck to guys like Morrow and Blanton to supplement their internal bullpen options at the best value.
The Dodgers do have plenty of internal options for the bullpen. Guys like Tony Cingani, Pedro Baez, Josh Fields, Luis Avilan and Ross Stripling will all return to try to create a bridge to Kenley Jansen. The return of Yimi Garcia from Tommy John surgery could also provide some much needed bullpen help. Young pitchers like Brock Stewart and Wilmer Font could become full-time relievers in 2018 as well.
The Dodgers are still likely to acquire a reliever or two, either through free agency or a trade. They could still pursue a trade for a big name like Zach Britton, but they’re more likely to stay under the radar and sign guys for good value. Who do you think will be this season’s Brandon Morrow? Let us know in the comments!
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