I’m coming in with a bit of a hot take this week, as you can tell by the title. Archie Bradley is now a free agent after being non-tendered by the Cincinnati Reds. Bradley spent five seasons with the division rival Arizona Diamondbacks before being traded to the Reds in 2020.
Bradley has been a villain for those close to the Dodgers for a couple of years now and has been in the middle of some big moments in the division rivalry. Some baseball fans describe him as the guy you hate on the other team but would love to have on your own The idea of Bradley in Dodger Blue does seem odd, and many fans may be highly opposed to it.
The Dodgers have a couple of bullpen arms who are free agents. Pedro Baez, Blake Treinen, Alex Wood, Jake McGee are among those. The Dodgers traded for former All-Star reliever Corey Knebel from the Brewers this week and re-signed left-handed reliever, Scott Alexander, on a one year deal to begin a reconstruction.
This situation is somewhat similar to last offseason, when the Dodgers were in pursuit of fan villain Madison Bumgarner before he ultimately signed with the Diamondbacks. Bradley appears to be one of the better relief pitchers in the free-agent market. Early rumors indicate that the Yankees may be a candidate for Bradley’s services. Although that’d mean Bradley shaving his beard due to the Yankee’s policies around facial hair.
Bradley being in the mix for the Dodgers I think depends on one situation, and that is Blake Treinen. If Treinen resigns, Bradley would be a nice piece to add but the bullpen may be overcrowded at that point especially if Baez returns. Treinen will probably have a lot of teams after him after a nice season and he’s shown in the past he can be an All-Star closer. Another big name in the free agency market is All-Star closer, Liam Hendriks.
In arbitration, Bradley was estimated to make about $4.3 million which the Dodgers could afford depending on what else they decided to do in free agency. The right-handed reliever is currently 28 years old and has a career ERA of 3.91. He first came up in the Diamondbacks system as a starter after struggling there he was moved over to the bullpen where he’s enjoyed more success.
Splitting the shortened season between two teams Bradley posted a 2.95 ERA in 18 ⅓ innings pitched last season. His fastball averages around 94 mph.
The bullpen this year was one of many strengths for the Dodgers as opposed to other years. However, as the season ended, there was uncertainty surrounding the closer role. Kenley Jansen struggled numerous times late in the season, especially in October. So as of now, there isn’t a clear closer, and while the Dodgers do have viable candidates, it doesn’t always to hurt to add better arms.
Bradley’s career K/9 is 9.91 while pitching in relief, so he definitely is capable of racking up strikeouts.
Ultimately, some of you may hate the idea of Bradley in Dodger Blue, some of you may be attracted to the idea. I think he’s worth a call, especially if Treinen and Baez walk in free agency.
You know what they say: If you can’t beat them, join them.