Dodgers 2019 Roster: Let’s Start Building a Bullpen

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(Mandatory Credit: Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press)

Without question, the biggest move the Dodgers made so far this offseason was signing fireballer Joe Kelly to a three-year deal. Actually, it was the only big move (unless you count the Kershaw contract), as most of the other signings and deals were mostly dribble in creating depth right along the fringe. We’ll talk more about that in a bit.

Right now, many fans are wondering if the club will add another bonafide arm to the relief corps. Personally, I don’t see it happening based on all the resources presently available within the organization. That’s not to say that I could be wrong.

As a matter of fact, I think we’re bound to see some roster movement—most specifically a few players being dumped or outrighted back to the minors. At the moment, I’m counting about 17 relievers who will be competing for big league spots during 2019 Cactus League play, so to say the competition will be stiff is an understatement.

That led me to do a little scribbling and figuring in an effort to assemble my own 8-man Opening Day bullpen. Of course, injuries and setbacks will occur between now and March 28, so my list may end up being terribly inaccurate. And, I’m not going to type out a ton of statistics, as the final few spots may ultimately boil down to which players are throwing the best and which players have option years remaining on their contracts.

Keeping all that in mind, here’s my 2019 Opening Day bullpen:

  • Kenley Jansen
  • Joe Kelly
  • Pedro Baez
  • Dylan Floro
  • Tony Cingrani
  • Ross Stripling
  • Caleb Ferguson
  • Josh Fields

I guess I should start out by saying the final spot came down to a choice between five different players. I have a suspicion that Caleb Ferguson may not make the Opening Day relief corps, as management may still view him as a starter and prefer that he begin the year in the Triple-A Oklahoma City starting rotation. It’s certainly a shame, though, because I feel he’s definitely one of the Top 8 relievers in the organization. For that reason alone, he’s staying on my Opening Day roster.

There’s a lot of mediocrity in the guts of the above crew, so if guys like Dylan Floro and Josh Fields can’t find their grooves early, there are plenty of fringe players who will be on high alert. Floro and Fields each have one option, by the way.

One of the notables missing is lefty Scott Alexander. I omitted him because he has options, and I feel that he’s going to need to prove himself after his command meltdown in the 2018 World Series. Besides, I already have Ferguson and Tony Cingrani on board as my lefites. Needless to say, there will be injuries and there will be roster movement throughout the 2019 season, so there’s no doubt that Alexander will get his chances.

Along those same lines, JT Chargois is another significant omission. However, to be honest, in my view, it was a coin toss between him and Fields. This spot could eventually be based on who is throwing most effectively at the end of spring camp. Chargois also has options, so he’ll certainly get his big league opportunities as long as he’s not shipped out to another club before Opening Day.

It’s also worth mentioning that neither Yimi Garcia or Brock Stewart have options remaining on their respective contracts, so it will be interesting to see how much management values them. Garcia could conceivably make the major league roster, but the competition is extremely stiff, unlike 2018 when Wilmer Font made the squad because he was in the same situation. I don’t see Stewart having a shot at making the big league roster at all, so if he isn’t traded, he could end up being outrighted to OKC if he’s not claimed by another club after he’s designated for assignment.

Consequently, we have the two new additions in Kevin Quackenbush and Adam McCreery. The 30-year-old Quackenbush doesn’t have any options, but he’s not on the 40-man, so he’ll be stowed away down in Triple-A until he’s able to prove himself, similar to how Daniel Hudson began his progression last season. McCreery has two option years remaining on his contract and he’s also on the 40-man, so he’ll be good to go if the Dodgers require his services in the bigs.

On top of all that, we have the two newest additions to the 40-man roster, Josh Sborz and Yadier Alvarez, who could both theoretically make a play for the big league squad at some point in the year. The righty Sborz is a reliever converted to a starter back to a reliever, so he’s no stranger to the bullpen. For all intents and purposes, Alvarez is still being viewed as a starter, but he may fit the same swing man mold of somebody like Dennis Santana, who could also make an appearance in the big league bullpen before everything’s said and done.

My personal darkhorse is Shea Spitzbarth, but considering how all the spots on the 40-man are at an insane premium, the dice will need to roll a certain way for him to get a look. Still, I’m sure he’ll get a non-roster invite to the big league side of spring training to show what he can do.


42 thoughts on “Dodgers 2019 Roster: Let’s Start Building a Bullpen

  1. If Cingrani could come back to his 2017 self that would be huge. I think Ferguson will definitely start the year in OKC and that they will continue to evaluate him as a starter, knowing that if he doesn’t cut it or if they get desperate he can be brought back as a valuable piece in the bullpen. Who is Pedro Baez? If he duplicates 2018 he’s a huge asset. If not, the 2019 bullpen looks much weaker. Somehow they need to get Alexander’s control under control, because if he can cut down on his walks he’s a major part of the bp. Which Kenley will we get? Time will tell. Which Kelly will we get? Time will tell. Lots of questions.

    1. It looks to me like there are a lot of good arms from which to choose. They paid Kelly and are paying Jansen. There won’t be any more big names added to the bullpen, but there will be continued turning over of rocks searching for spin rate and velocity.

  2. A couple of minor leaguers could make an impression in spring. Broussard and Kosowski. Spitzbarth was pretty impressive last year. I am seriously beginning to doubt Ol Andy adds another quality pitcher.

  3. I’d still love to add one more proven reliever like Britton, Cody Allen or Kelvin Herrera but I don’t see Andy doing it. Boras is insisting Britton gets 4 years so there is no way in hell Friedman goes for that and I doubt any team will. That being said Allen or Herrera for 2 years $15 million would be great. If not watch for Joe Broussard and Marshall Kasowski to make a name for themselves. I love Caleb Ferguson and think he can be a good starter but I think he can be a GREAT reliever and LA would be wise to leave him there. We need a ground ball specialist so getting Scott Alexander back to form is important.

  4. Just read we are early favorites for the World Series again. Opening odds 8/1, current odds 7/1. The next closest NL teams are the Cubs and Cards at 12/1. The early money likes us. It also likes the same AL teams more, but this Dodger team apparently remains better than most expected them to be, and for me personally better than I thought they would be since Friedman took over. We’re good. If we don’t do anything else we will continue to be good. From Friedman’s perspective the plan is working.

    We will do something of course, but according to the money, which clearly has the loudest voice in this world, we don’t need to do anything big. Just fill the holes and get ready to do what it is we do every year – win the West ….. and of course….. be hot in October.

  5. We can win the west all we want but we will still run into Houston, Boston or New York and they all are arguably better teams. I would feel much better with Kluber slotting between Kershaw and Buehler.

    1. Forget Kluber Alex. He is not on the market right now. He is not even in the conversation. The Indians seem content to start the season with what they have and they still are the favorites in the Central.

      1. How can you say Kluber isn’t in the conversation in the same sentence as you’re talking about him? I’m bored.

      2. No player is ever off the market in the right deal. As it stands I think LA should have a serious talk talk with Grandal and convince him to come back on a 1 year deal worth good money, maybe $15 million then hit free agency again next year without the draft pick compensation attached to him like he has this year. I think that has been a huge holdup in his market. Bring Yaz back then go get DJ LeMahieu for 3/$40 to give you a high contact hitter and gold glove defense up the middle while keeping all your top prospects. If a trade presents itself for an impact player like Kluber or a big bat then you still have all your prospects to deal from.

      3. Yeah, for the right price, but what price is that? As of right now, Indians look to be holding on to both Bauer and Kluber who seem to be more likely candidates for a deadline trade than now. When some contender is desperate for help. The Dodgers are not desperate got starting pitching and the Indians seem content adding fringe players right now.

  6. Marwin Gonzalez is also a very intriguing player because he’s a switch hitter with some pop who can can play every position besides catcher and CF.

    1. I don’t have a problem if we sign LeMahieu but I would have a problem if the contract was 3/40. I think he’ll have a hard time getting a 3 year deal, but if he finds one it will be closer to 3/30 than 3/40. I’m thinking something like 2/20.

      1. LeMahieu’s offense outside of Coors concerns me and I wouldn’t give a 2B more than two years, so Lux isn’t blocked. Same as signing a catcher, 1-2 years tops so Ruiz or Smith isn’t blocked. I’ve seen a lot of comments here and there having Muncy playing a lot of 2B again. Why not Turner for the next couple of years and bring Machado back to play 3B? We are really short on RH power with Puig and Kemp gone. While JT’s 2B range isn’t ideal, he would certainly play better D than Muncy and Machado would challenge Arenado for the gold glove.

      1. He would give you a legitimate option to hot at the top of the lineup too. That’s something we keep missing out on.

  7. I’m honestly shocked he’s still on the market. I figured both he and Jed Lowrie would be long gone.

      1. I’m in. Also wouldn’t mind Lowrie. It seems like a very long time since we’ve had an every day second baseman who was actually a benefit both in the field and in the lineup. Let’s do it Andrew!

      2. 2B to me should never be a platoon situation just as shortstop shouldn’t be. Those positions are too valuable defensively you need guys that are used to playing with each other everyday. LeMahieu may not hit more than 7-10 HR but I don’t care if he’s getting on base and hitting .300.

      3. In his career he is a .264 hitter away from Coors and only .236 at Dodger Stadium. Taylor would give us si liar numbers or better than that.

  8. I am going with your picks with the exception of Scott Alexander being added and Caleb Ferguson going to OKC as a starter. Friedman said that Ferguson is still considered a starter, and Caleb seemingly wants to start. He is still very young (turns 23 in July), so he has time. Alexander is a solid ground ball pitcher that has trouble controlling his pitches. But when he does, he is extremely difficult to hit. Alexander pitched in 73 games and was scored on in only 16 of those games. He also allowed 7 inherited runners to score out of 27, with none since July 25. If Ferguson wants to relieve, I do not see any way he cannot be another Andrew Miller. Pitch any time in any situation and for multiple innings if need be. He just has to want to relieve.

    Remember the name Jesen Therrien. He should be up by June. Marshall Kasowski needs to develop a secondary pitch with consistency before he is a viable ML relief candidate. He is working on a curve, but it just is not ready for prime time yet. Just as Baez had, Kasowski relies on his rising fastball way too much. It looks like it comes out of his ear so it is deceiving to minor league hitters. But ML hitters will get used to it. I am a fan of Kasowski, but just like Baez did, he needs that second pitch. If he develops that curve, he will be a late inning high leverage bullpen ace.

    I will be anxious to watch Josh Sborz and Yadi Alvarez this spring to see if either are legit ML relievers. I would like to think so, but it is way too early to tell. Sborz got back to relieving and pitched well at times, and not so well at others. If Alvarez can get his head and heart into his game, he could be a devastating reliever. I do not think he has the attention span to be a starter any longer.

    Like Ferguson, Dennis Santana is going to get his chance to continue to start at OKC, but he is also another potential reliever. There are also many who think that Mitchell White is destined for the bullpen. I am still holding out hope that he can stay a starter.

    I am not nearly as high on Joe Broussard as some are, and not so much Spitzbarth either. Last year Shea pitched in 40 games (38 AA and 2 AAA) and was scored on in 16 of those 40 games. Spitzbarth should get his chance to relieve at the AAA level in 2019. I think most fans still remember Shea as a youngster in 2017 Spring games, when he pitched outstanding. He is just too inconsistent.

    One other I would not dismiss, is Jordan Sheffield. He has been almost unhittable since he moved to the pen and was outstanding this fall in the Arizona Fall League. I think he moves very quickly up the ladder. Who breaks camp, will not be the same 8 as will be in July.

    With respect to DJ LeMahieu, I have been promoting him as a FA signee since last Spring. The team needs a GG 2B to work full time with Seager at SS. More than any other combination the SS/2B must work together in unison. But I would not sign him for more than 2 years. Gavin Lux should be ready to assume the starting role no later than 2021. I can also think of much worse mentors for Lux than a solid bat to ball guy with excellent defense in DJ LeMahieu. Who knows, maybe he can convince Arenado to come to LA in 2020.

    1. Scoop was just asking about you yesterday Jef, but then maybe you saw that. In any case, hope you’ll continue to comment here. Very thought provoking.

      1. It helped last year for awhile. There are so many relief options available that Spring Training should sort things out. I am hoping for the best 8 relievers regardless of option status.

  9. What I’m saying is it is possible that I could be wrong about the Dodgers doing something big. Sign the second catcher, choose which of the FA second basemen we want and tee it up. Without Harper or Kluber or Realmuto we are still favored to do it again.

    Agree with Jef about July. There will be rosters move all year, starting after breakfast today. We know this because we have 5 years of Friedman history as precedent.

    We have many good arms in the bullpen, all of whom have been mentioned here many times over the last few months. That situation will work itself out.

    I’m still on board with Harper for no other reason than I want big names in Los Angeles. That and I don’t want his production added to a NL rival. This is Los Angeles not Tampa. This is where Magic, Kobe Kareem, the Fearsome Foursome, Sandy Koufax, Maury Wills, Don Drysdale and Kirk Gibson all did their thing. That’s the way it was AND WE LIKED IT! We are the Dodgers dammit. Stop it with the utility players, platoons, 5 inning pitchers and guys named Quackenbush already. We should have Arenado at third, Yelich, Harper and Babe Ruth in the outfield. We should have Kluber pitching to Scioscia, not Floro throwing to Barnes. Anybody that wants to play in LA (Stanton and Harper) should be welcomed to do so. CBT? Shove it up your Lazy-faire. We are Guggenheim, the OPM Capital of capitalism. We’ve got more money than all the baseball gods combined and it isn’t even our money – we make it out of thin air. We’ll pay your flippin’ CBT and raise you a Holländische Merkwürdig. I have no idea what tf I’m talking about, but, hopefully you get the idea.

    Time for more coffee.

    1. No comments huh?

      I’m sufficiently caffeinated now so I’ll again ask for edit capability so I can clean things up. I’m a terrible proof reader until it’s out there.

      Clint Evans, of the infamous website Thinkers to Evans by Chance, has this to say:

      Los Angeles is going to do something to make a splash – but reading between the lines may be telling us that it’s unlikely for it to be one of the Indians’ coveted starting pitchers.”

      FINAL WORD, when read in all caps sounds determinate. So, a splash is coming, just not an ace. More likely a Quackenbush cannonball in the Dodger pool.

      1. Word is out this morning (although you certainly can’t always believe everything you read) that the Nats have made an offer substantially over 300 mil to Harper. To me it looks like it’s going to be Philly or back to DC. No way Andrew will try to compete with those kind of offers. Sorry Scoop, you probably won’t be getting your big star. And I don’t know why in the world you’d want The Babe in your outfield. In case you hadn’t noticed he’s really slowed up in the last few years. I think we would have to play him at first base. One last thing, Quackenbush is tired of being the butt of our jokes and has officially changed his name to Jones.

      2. First name? Jonesy Quackenbush? Or maybe Kevin Quackenjones? Whatever. Won’t stick.

        I have a theory about that 300+. Washington knows Harper wants out of there. It’s Washington. There’s a cerebral sucking vortex in that city that’s driving everyone batshit crazy. The Nats are just driving the price up. Philadelphia? Nobody but Diplo and Will Smith like Philly so, Harper doesn’t really want to go there either. White Sox? Please. He’s from Vegas. He’s a West guy. Just sign him ‘drew.

  10. Well if the reports are true you can forget Bryce Harper if he turned down 10 years $350 million from DC. I think the most Friedman would think about giving Harper was 7 years $231 million. That’s $33 mil per year. Personally I don’t think he’s worth more than $25 mil per year.

  11. If fans would think with their brains instead of their hearts, they would see a lot more clearly and forget some of the pipe dreams and really bad trades they think up. But that’s just not the way things are. I am a realist. I still have a complete list of Friedman’s moves since he took over on my computer. It is easy to go back and see what the guys has done since he took command of the good ship Dodgers. There ya go Scoop….new pic is General Thomas Lasorda and one of his quotes.

      1. I didn’t much care for it. I liked Peraza and I thought Schebler would be a starter soon. I didn’t like the Hill trade either. Reddick was a bust and Hill was on the DL, only pitched 34 innings in 2 months. Cotton has won 11, Montas is still there and Holmes is still striking out hitters at 9+ in the minors at age 22. There weren’t many early moves that I did like to be honest. But the team kept winning so I stopped barking about them.

      2. All the writers thought it was genius of the Dodger hierarchy to sign Friedman in the first place. And then Friedman was a genius for hiring Zaidi and having more former GM’s on the staff than any other team.

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