3 Dark Horse Relievers Dodgers Could Target During 2019-20 Offseason

(Photo Credit: Dale Zanine/USA TODAY Sports)

While some fans of the Dodgers believe that a big splash this winter personnel-wise is vital in improving the team, there’s a good probability that Andrew Friedman and his crew will make one or more of their trademark, reclamation-type of acquisitions to fortify the roster.

We tend to see these kinds of moves quite frequently from the Los Angeles front office. Last year, veteran Kevin Quackenbush was roaming the plains of Triple-A Oklahoma City, although he was never called upon to throw in the bigs. During the 2018 season, veteran righty Daniel Hudson surfaced from a minor league contract to emerge as a key contributor to the team’s bullpen. The same can be said for Brandon Morrow in 2017.

2020 could prove to be no exception. There are quite a few players the Dodgers could potentially sign to minor league contracts, perhaps being laden with lucrative incentives should they somehow land back on their feet in the majors.

The bullpen is one of those gray areas that the Dodgers could certainly use improvement. By scouring the league’s free agents in search of a diamond in the rough, there is indeed the possibility of an upgrade at the luxury of a low-cost, low-risk type of deal.

This doesn’t mean that the Dodgers will not spend any big bucks this winter. It simply reflects a few dark-horse players the team could target to fortify the top levels of the farm, should there eventually be a need at the big leage level.

Here are three free-agent relievers who conceivably could make some kind of impact in 2020:

Chris Martin—In case you weren’t paying attention, righty Chris Martin was one of a handful of relievers the Braves landed in the moments before last season’s trade deadline. Standing at a whopping 6-foot-8, the 33-year-old Texas native is not easy to miss on the bump. He throws hard, and he has a fantastic spin rate—all attributes that Friedman seems to favor. What’s more, he’s much more successful against lefties than righties, which could be beneficial to the Dodgers’ righty-dominant relief crew. Between the Rangers and the Braves last season, Martin made 58 appearances and posted a 3.40 ERA with a 3.25 WHIP over 55-2/3 innings of work. His 10.5 K/9 in 2019 was a career-high. Earning $2.25 million last season, Martin was probably the highest paid reliever you never heard of.

Luke Gregerson—According to our good friend Connor Byrne over at MLBTR, Luke Gregerson has been especially good since he debuted in the majors in 2009, as his lifetime 3.15 ERA helps illustrate. But injuries have played a key part in stalling the right-hander’s career during the past couple seasons. The 35-year-old Illinois native signed a two-year, $11 million contract with the Cardinals entering 2018 and then combined for 18-1/3 innings of 7.36 ERA ball over parts of two seasons limited by hamstring and shoulder issues. The Cardinals flat out released Gregerson back in May, and he hasn’t caught on elsewhere since. If he can prove he’s 100% healthy towards the end of the winter, a minor league deal could be the type of risk the Dodgers might take. Gregerson is no stranger to the NL West, as he spent his first five MLB seasons throwing in relief for the Padres.

Arodys Vizcaino—The youngest reliever of this trio at 28 years, Arodys Vizcaino probably had the highest upside until season-ending shoulder surgery brought his career to a sudden halt last year. He pitched in just four games in 2019 before going under the knife to clean up his labrum. In 2018, the righty made 38 appearances for the Braves, logging 38-1/3 innings and registering a sparkling 2.11 ERA with a favorable 9.6 K/9. At the peak of his career in 2018, his four-seam averaged a little better than 98.2 MPH, according to Brooks Baseball. He also commands a plus curveball, which he used about a third of the time. Even though he was on the shelf for the entirety of last season, he was traded to the Mariners in May in a three-player deal that proved to be a salary dump for Atlanta. Now a free agent, Vizacaino could be forced to accept a minor league deal to prove that his shoulder’s ready to go.


26 thoughts on “3 Dark Horse Relievers Dodgers Could Target During 2019-20 Offseason

  1. Interesting list. You could add Morrow to that if he proves he is ready to pitch again after an injury plagued year. Padres have stated they intend to pursue trades rather than free agents to improve the team and are willing to trade top prospects.


  2. You have got to love the rumor mill. It is ten times more entertaining that the truth. The cost for Betts or Lindor is according to the pundits, going to be through the roof. I am not trading for either if they insist on May and Lux or Ruiz. Lindor a 2 year rental, and Betts one.A lot of cases being made for the Dodgers to unload Pederson to earn some money since he will most likely be around 8 million this year. For his kind of power, that is cheap. A lot of people think that Verdugo and Beatty can replace that. Well, they were about 14 homers short of that last year. RH power bat is needed since the only real RH power they got until Smith got hot, was Turner. RH bats tallied 27, 17, 16, 15, 11 HR’s that would be Turner, Kike, Pollock, Smith and Taylor. They got 11 total from Martin and Barnes and Freese added 11. Reds are making a serious run at Grandal. He could become a 30 homer guy in that bandbox. Looking more each day like Smith is going to take the QO from the Gnats.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, interesting list. Have to admit, I don’t know those guys.

      So you aren’t buying the stats I posted the other day regarding our record against LHP. Well, stats are just numbers representing information. And you can’t trust information. Look at all the misinformation algorithms being used all over social media. Maybe we weren’t 30-22 against LHP. Maybe we were actually 22-30 and I was lying.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh I know you were not lying Scoop. I trust your stats and analysis. I just wonder who AF will really target. They have been unconventional in their signings for a while now, Even some of the trades have been out of the box. I am as confused as i ever was.


    1. I think he may go for pitching in places like Dennis just mentioned. I think he’s going to trust that Seager, Verdugo and Pollock will all be healthy and all those guys can hit LHP. So can Bellinger, so can Muncy and so can Turner, Smith OPSd .887 against left handed starters, Lux didn’t have many at bats but OPS’d .900 against LH starters. I think Friedman believes we can hit anybody and I agree with him. I’d look for pitching and that’s what I think Friedman will do. And if he and I are wrong with that assessment we will address the problem at the deadline.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Angels hire Tony LaRusso as a special advisor. Giants close to naming new skipper, and it seems the front runner is no longer the choice.


    1. Zaidi and Kapler are on the same page. They fit together like logic and tacit. Like Polyani’s integrative and conceptual coherence. Like asymptote functions and binomial coefficients. Like Cartesian coordinates and Fibonacci fractals. Like what the hell am I even saying…..

      The gints have a pretty good chance at being good this coming year. I’d say they will be…. 1.0642311 times better next year. I’m willing to bet everything I don’t have on it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Huh? You lost me at are on the same page. Shildt gets manager of the year. I think that should have went to Martinez. His team was basically out of the race and came back to win it all, but he was not even on the list. Hurdle retires from managing. Wonder if he will pull a Bochy and want to come back in a year or so. Mike Piazza is going to manage Italy in the World Baseball Classic……Yeah, Kapler and Zaidi on the same page, but 2 exe Dodger employees running the Giants>? That is not going to sit well with the fans unless they turn the Gnats around fast.


  5. We can hope it all blows up, but I don’t think it will. I also don’t see them competing for the Division. It’s going to take a few years. For the 8th straight year, the Division is ours to lose.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree on that. A report is now circulating that the Dodgers are showing a lot of interest in Josh Donaldson. He would take over 3rd with Turner moving to 1st. Serves the same purpose as Rendon with less monetary baggage. Power RH bat with a pretty good glove.


      1. Donaldson signed with the Braves on November 26th last year so he isn’t married to the idea of holding out until February in order to drive up prices. This could be very important to AF in planning his other moves. The problem with going after any of Boras’ guys is that (with the possible exception of Ryu) they will all drag their feet and hope to increase the bidding. That could hold up other moves that Friedman would like to make. Rendon is the better player, but the probability of an earlier signing, and the shorter contract coupled with the lower price makes Donaldson a worthwhile target to go after.


      2. I think he makes a lot of sense, but as always we will say. Reports also say Cole will probably not make his choice until January. Only 4 Dodger prospects eligible for the rule 5 draft, White, Peters, Santana and Sheffield. I think Peters is a lock to be protected, the others, not so much


  6. Hey All why is so many of you pushing Turner away from 3rd and Seager away from ss. I realize so many of you are into all these crazy initials OBP,ABC,XYZ stop with this shit and go with gut feelings. I realize you guys have listed me ancient with the bear etc but some gut feeling goes a long way. How much more is Rendon,Donaldson going to contribute over Turner. How much of a difference is Lindor going to make over Seager sorry guys we need a bullpen. Not worried about our offense or starting pitching we need a BULLPEN period


    1. Larry that all came about because of the rumors that the Dodgers were going to target Rendon, and Turner announced that he was willing to move to 1st base. Then the Lindor stuff started up and they had Corey on his way out of town. Not using stats, but my eye test, JT was not the same defensively at 3rd as he has been. I put that down to age a little. So a move to 1st makes some sense especially if they decide to move Lux back to his natural position, which is SS. But it is also a position where he had problems making accurate throws during spring training a year ago, so they moved him to second. It is all just hot air anyway since first off, they would need to sign someone or make a trade. The other rumor that was out there earlier, but not so much now, was trading for Kris Bryant. Gets another power RH bat in the lineup, Turner was the only real power from the right side with 27 dingers. Kike was next with 17.


    2. I have no problem improving every position on the field if possible.

      We grew up with some of those initials Larry. BA, OBP, slugging %, ERA. When I was a kid I practiced math by figuring those things out. I find the new stuff interesting. I give it the eye test too, but I have no fear of statistics.


      1. I kept a notebook of stats when I was growing up. My local newspaper published the overall league leaders only on the weekends, so I ended up updating my notebooks if I was able to catch the games on television or in person. If I missed a game—which was often on the East Coast—I had to wait until the next morning to see the stats in the boxscore in the newspaper. My, how times have changed.


      2. When I became a Dodger fan I was 10. We had just moved from Missouri to SoCal and the season had already ended. I didn’t see the Dodgers play until the following Spring, I was 11. I can still remember walking through the tunnel at the Coliseum for the first time and seeing the Dodgers warming up. Wow. I was hooked. Those beautiful uniforms. As I recall, the only Dodger games televised were the away games in SF. And it was in black and white. Half the time you couldn’t see much because of the fog. We had radio, we had the box scores and we had the back of our baseball cards.

        I like baseball numbers. I don’t know all of them but when I see something I don’t recall it’s easy enough to look it up. They all mostly make sense. They don’t explain everything (like not backing up a base, and why a passed ball is not an error, and a reliever can throw 1 pitch and get a W but a starter has to go 5…. I could go on) but they come close.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Back in those days I got all of my stats from The Sporting News. My home room teacher was a former player in the Red Sox system. He subscribed and every week he would give me it after he had finished. All the box scores for the week, complete team stats, transactions, The entire enchilada I loved it. deGrom wins the Cy Young. Ryu was robbed.


  8. de Grom – more games, more innings, more strikeouts, more WAR, more value. They got it right.

    The Sporting News in school.? You were spoiled.


    1. Less wins, on a team that did not come close to winning. Difference was that deGroms bad stretch came at the beginning of the year, and Ryu had a 19 inning stretch towards the end where his ERA went over 2. For most of the season Ryu was the better pitcher. Yep, my home room teacher gave that to me every week. Kept me on top of the stats. Baseball cards do not give updates.


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