Examining Reliever Market During Time of Sadness for Dodgers Family

(Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

It has been a profoundly sad week for the Los Angeles Dodgers family and the entire baseball world. The passings of Tommy Lasorda and Sandra Scully have left everyone with heavy hearts and prompted solemn reflection.

That the Dodgers were able to end their prolonged championship drought so soon before these two treasures departed seems tragically poetic.

The love and support flowing towards both the Lasorda and Scully families during these unspeakable circumstances are powerfully moving. It might be the one bit of solace throughout all this.

We love you, we’re with you, and please know that a big part of why this is such a terrific franchise is because of all you’ve done. Thank you.

This extended Dodgers family unites by a shared love of all things Dodgers. We all remember moments shared with loved ones through the good times and the bad, and this most recent championship was certainly a cathartic release of both pent up frustration and unbridled joy.

The Dodgers are now on a pursuit to defend that championship. It is always a balancing act to look towards the future while never forgetting the past.

(Jon SooHoo)

This upcoming season will find various ways to honor these two icons, and their shared love of all things Dodgers can be potent fuel.

One of the primary goals was to tinker with the bullpen. Numerous possibilities have arisen to address that area, including Kirby Yates.

There’s an article by Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times that details the Dodgers plans with addressing that bullpen.

They have re-signed Blake Treinen and Scott Alexander. Corey Knebel and Garrett Cleavinger have acquired via trade. Tommy Kahnle got signed as a free agent.

The Dodgers were interested in Liam Hendriks, widely considered the top reliever on the market this offseason, but that potential acquisition is starting to appear less likely.

Hendriks is reportedly seeking a four-year contract, and the Dodgers don’t appear to have any interest in that type of commitment this offseason for a relief pitcher.

With Hendriks seemingly out of the equation, the Dodgers are looking towards alternatives, the main option being someone like Brad Hand.

While Hand wouldn’t be as expensive as Hendricks, the Dodgers are also reportedly interested in an intriguing option that’d be cheaper than Hand.

(Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images)

Yates looked dominant from 2018-2019. However, he ended up missing a huge chunk of 2020 due to undergoing elbow surgery back in August.

That recent injury history is what’s going to make the price tag on Yates fall relative to those other bullpen options on the market.

However, Yates has been excellent when healthy, and bringing him abroad seems like the type of move this front office likes to initiate.

Buying low on receivers with tremendous upside is becoming a familiar pattern that has reaped benefits for the Dodgers as of late.

Yates will seemingly be ready to go for the start of the 2021 season. He should be able to provide an immediate impact for whichever club signs him.

Yates led the entire Major Leagues in Saves in 2019, and getting that type of proven asset for a diminished cost is enticing.

It’s all a question of whether Yates will be the same player coming off that surgery, and the front office and medical staff need to do their due diligence exploring all that.

It feels like it could be a golden opportunity to get a decreased price on the type of player who could be the top receiver on the market in any given offseason under normal circumstances.

From 2018-2019, Yates threw a combined 123.1 innings and registered a 1.67 ERA, a 0.91 WHIP, and averaged 13.9 strikeouts per nine innings.

Just for comparison’s sake, from 2019-2020, Hendriks threw a combined 110.1 innings, registered a 1.79 ERA, a 0.90 WHIP, and averaged 13.1 strikeouts per nine innings.

Hand has a longer track record of success compared to both Hendriks and Yates but hasn’t achieved the statistical peaks of either one.

From 2016-2020, Hand has thrown 320 combined innings, registered a 2.70 ERA, a 1.07 WHIP, and struck out 12.2 batters per nine innings.

When last healthy, Yates put up even better stats than what Hendriks is now using to command what would probably be the top deal for a reliever this offseason.

The main differences are that Hendriks will turn 32 before this upcoming season and is healthy, while Yates will turn 34 before this upcoming season while coming off elbow surgery.

Hand is the youngest option of the three, set to turn 31 before this upcoming season, and has put up closer-type stats longer than either Hendriks or Yates.

If the market develops as such that Hendriks gets more than Hand, and Hand gets more than Yates, it will be interesting to see the discrepancies in those three eventual deals.

There’s a case to make that when healthy, Yates is better than both of those two, and if he ends up getting significantly less than Hendriks, that team signing Yates could be getting a steal.

Worst-case scenario, Yates is not as effective post-surgery, but it’s not like the market developing for him will make any team commit long-term.

The rewards could end up being impressive for a relatively cheap cost. If Yates is considered the fallback option, then a team like the Dodgers unwilling to go long-term to the extent Hendriks supposedly wants can be confident that they could potentially land someone who could put up similar numbers out of the bullpen for a fraction of the price.

(Featured Image: Jon SooHoo)

16 thoughts on “Examining Reliever Market During Time of Sadness for Dodgers Family

  1. I like the idea of Yates. Hendricks would have been my first choice, but not for 4 years. He will get that somewhere else. I still am keen on seeing if the Reds are interested in moving both Suarez and Castillo. I think that would be the perfect storm.


  2. The Padres need relievers also and, of course, Yates has history with them. I would say he’s more likely to wind up back in SD than in LA but add me to the list of people who would like to have him here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey we have the cash, lets sign em all! Then we have no competition. I would be happy with just one more really good back end piece and a 30 plus homer right handed banger who plays stellar defense. Know where we can find one of those??????


      1. How about Pedro Baez for a “really good back end piece” and Will Smith as that 3rd base “right handed banger”, although not sure about the stellar defense?

        But, I’m guessing you had Yates/Hand/Hendricks and LeMahieu in mind.

        Yates/Hand would definitely be a Friedman move at $5M/season or less, I’m not feeling LeMahieu at $25M/season, but hope I’m wrong.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I don’t think you could figure on 30 homers from DJLM if we signed him so I’m thinking Bear might have been referring to Arenado. If you see him in the hallway Box, you can ask him.

        You might get Yates at 5 mil but Hand is going to do a lot better than that. Not sure if anyone will give him three years but he’ll certainly get two and I’m guessing AAV will be in the 8-9 mil range. He should get at least as much as Treinen and we gave Treinen 2 years and 17.5 mil.

        If Baez is in the back end of a bullpen it won’t be ours. He’s fine as a middle innings guy but his numbers when he’s used at the end of games leave something to be desired.

        Just my opinions. Feel free to disagree. That’s what Hot Stove season is for.


      3. They won’t give him the 5 years he wants, me, I just trade for someone. Nope, I am through with Pedro. Smith has never played 3rd at this level. Defense is a key.


      4. Hi Jeff D. Don’t know what hallway bearone 48 hangs out at, so can I ask his twin brother Jerry Mathers?

        I agree, he was probably thinking of Arenado, and in my opinion, Arenado is more likely than LeMahieu. The right Arenado trade could keep us under the luxury tax threshold in 2021.

        Not sure what’s going on with Hand, if nobody wanted him at one year $10M, who’s going to want him at two years $17.5M? I wanted him at one year $10M. Agree on Yates.

        Baez, lifetime 3.03 ERA, 3.18 2020 ERA. He won’t be closing, but we can always use a cheap middle innings guy. Only “really good back end piece” I see Dodgers still signing is Ken Giles, but that would be for 2022 back innings.

        Bottom line, as I’ve stated, I think it’s dumpster diving time for Friedman unless an exceptional value presents itself, then he’ll pounce. Happily, some real jewels can sometimes be found in a dumpster.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Although I expect AF to sign or trade for at least one more bullpen piece (how good a piece, I really don’t know), the one move I’m waiting for is the Turner/replacement for Turner move. If JT and Andrew can come to terms, it’s possible that we just go into 2021 with some sort of Turner/Rios combo at third. On the other hand, if JT doesn’t return, Friedman might make an even larger move. Bryant, Arenado, Suarez, Ramirez or someone we haven’t even thought about. I do not think he will go into 2021 with Rios as the anointed third baseman.

        JT and Andrew are playing a game of chicken here and at some point if they don’t reach an agreement soon, one of them is going to move on and leave the other one holding the bag.


      6. yeah, I would love Arenado, but, I know the Rockies well enough to know they are not trading Nolan to a division rival They need someone not named Baez at the back.


  3. I don’t hate Baez, but I don’t want to ride that roller coaster any more, I wish him luck next season, but I hope it’s for one of the other 29 teams.
    I don’t mean to be sac religious guys, but I think I’d only want JT back for one maybe two more years unless there is a DH in the NL. Bryant hasn’t been able to stay healthy, or productive for several years,and I hate to agree with bear 😉 but I don’t think the Rockies will trade Arenado to the Dodgers. That leaves Ramirez, for a boat load of prospects, or DJLM for 25 mil a year, or someone none of us are thinking of. In my little fantasy world, I’d take Ramirez, his Cap number for the next three years would give the team a ton of flexibility.


    1. Of the guys we were thinking of Keith, you forgot Suarez of the Reds. He’d come cheaper than Ramirez although depending on what it would cost in prospects I’d prefer Ramirez.

      I’d bet good money that the DH will be included in the next CBA and that’s supposed to be after this coming season if all goes according to schedule. I’d be fine with signing JT to two years with a vesting option for a third based on something like at bats. By the time that third year rolls around there will certainly be a DH in the NL in my opinion and, as mentioned, I figure it will happen no later than next year with an outside chance that they can agree to use it this year still on the table.

      I have the same feelings toward Baez as you do. I wish him well, but I think it’s time for both sides to move on.


  4. I like JT for two with an option, one with an option would be better, and I forgot the reds were shopping Suárez. Still like Ramirez the most, wonder what the cost would be?

    Liked by 1 person

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