While front-office boss Andrew Friedman wasn’t exactly all-revealing on Monday about the roster plans of the Dodgers this winter, he did provide a few hints to reporters regarding his club’s intentions.
Certainly, there’s been a lot of chatter about the Dodgers shaking up the landscape of the infield—with the potential addition of a particular third baseman—but the good news is that Friedman finally made note of addressing the team’s bullpen needs.
Or, at least we think we did.
During a break in the first day of the 2019 Winter Meetings, he told Ken Gurnick of MLB.com that the only department of need which is “omnipresent” is the club’s bullpen. The terminology vaguely reminded me when Friedman and Farhan Zaidi got together with Don Mattingly for the first time back in 2015 and had an “organic” dialogue.
For those wondering about the definition of omnipresent—a word that most people don’t hear every day—it basically means “present in all places at all times.” So, in other words, it’s probably safe to say that relief pitching is atop the team’s target list when it comes to prospective upgrades.
Furthermore, Friedman indicated that Kenley Jansen will be the squad’s closer heading into the 2020 season. However, Friedman told Gurnick that he’s definitely open to adding another “late-game” option, similar to the addition he made at last year’s Winter Meetings in the form of righty reliever Joe Kelly.
The biggest problem, though, is that the free agent market as far as decent bullpen arms go is overwhelmingly thin, especially when considering that players like Will Smith, Drew Pomeranz, Chris Martin and Jake Diekman were snatched up early.
While there are a few decent arms left—Will Harris comes to mind straightaway—the Dodgers may conceivably be inclined to take a chance on one of their trademark “reclamation projects.”
The team has already been linked to 31-yer-old righty Blake Treinen, who is coming off of a disappointing season that saw him tally a uncharacteristic 4.91 ERA and a 5.14 FIP over 57 appearances and 58-2/3 innings. These numbers came one year after he posted a ridiculous 0.78 ERA and 1.82 FIP in 68 appearances. Lifetime, Treinen has a 2.97 ERA in 345 games.
Along those same lines, another possibility could be righty Dellin Betances, whose 2019 season was a complete wash after he suffered a shoulder blowout, then later an Achilles tear. Reports say that the 31-year-old righty might be willing to sign a one-year deal in an effort to re-boost his longterm value.
Betances owns a career 2.36 ERA and a 2.31 FIP with a 14.64 K/9 alongside a 0.61 home runs allowed per nine. His 11.3 WAR ranks sixth among all MLB relievers since making his debut in 2011, despite missing all of the 2012 and 2019 seasons.
Of course, there’s always the possibility of a trade, too. According to multiple reports, the Dodgers have already dangled A.J. Pollock, Joc Pederson and Enrique Hernandez in potential discussions with other clubs.
At least we know the primary need is being addressed.