The Obligatory Corey Knebel Post

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

When manager Dave Roberts sent righty reliever Corey Knebel out to save Friday’s home opener against the Nationals, it seemed like there was a huge sense of relief among fans of the Dodgers everywhere.

That relief wasn’t just because fans realize that Kenley Jansen has been struggling, but it was also because those fans now know that Roberts is open to other options when it comes to closing out games.

After the contest was over, though, Roberts told the media that he was concerned about Kenley’s workload and there were plans set in place to keep him rested. “Today would have been three of four so we talked before the game and we wanted to try and stay away from him,” Roberts said of Jansen.

However, the skipper did mention that he is apparently receptive to using other relievers should a save opportunity present itself.

“I think we’re just in a really good spot whether it’s Victor when there’s a certain run of hitters, Corey or Blake,” Roberts said, referring to Victor Gonzalez, Knebel, and Blake Treinen. “So I feel good about any one of those guys outside of Kenley.”

There couldn’t have been a better candidate than Knebel to notch the save on what turned out to be a special baseball day in Los Angeles on many different levels.

It took Knebel just 10 pitches to put the Nationals away in order. Better yet, nine of those 10 pitches were strikes. And, he struck out the entire Washington side.

For the year, the 29-year-old Knebel has now made four appearances over 3-1/3 shutout innings, allowing no hits and one walk alongside six punchouts. He has registered one hold and two saves while emerging as one of the team’s most viable late-inning relief options.

After being close to not having a contract offered to him with the Brewers, Milwaukee struck a deal to send Knebel to the Dodgers for a player to be named later and cash just before the non-tender deadline last December. The PTBNL turned out to be young lefty pitcher Leo Crawford.

Knebel made his major league debut for the Tigers back in 2014. His best season as a big leaguer came in 2017 for the Brewers as the team’s primary closer when he posted a 1.78 ERA, 126 strikeouts, and 39 saves over 76 appearances.

The 6-foot-3, 225-pounder from Denton, TX, had UCL surgery in 2019 and was never able to recapture his superior closing magic with the Brewers.

All that could be changing with the Dodgers, as he couldn’t be off to a better start in 2021.

Nevertheless, there has been numerous discussions here in this space that support the idea of the Dodgers not necessarily needing an “appointed closer,” leaving that specific role up in the air based on matchups and/or certain in-game scenarios.

For example, if there is a lefty-dominated part of the order up for the opposition in a save situation, the Dodgers might be better off using Gonzalez. If there is a reliever who hasn’t thrown in three or four days, that particular arm could be the better option. If there are a few players due up for the opposing team who Kenley has dominated over the years, perhaps the team could use Jansen.

Whatever the case may be, it’s good to know that Roberts is open to using other arms in a save situation while it’s also refreshing not hearing him take the stance of “Kenley’s my closer and that’s not changing right now,” like he has in past years.

23 thoughts on “The Obligatory Corey Knebel Post

  1. Roberts is “loyal” to a fault and always makes a decision based on keeping a happy player rather than the right decision. Announcing that Jansen was “The Closer” was unnecessary. Teams are not obligated to declare a “Closer” why limit yourself when you do not have to? Bad strategy, dumb…
    Jansen has not shown the ability to consistently have pitch control. Control is the most important ability of a pitcher. Watch Jansen pitch in the last year or two. Jansen does not consistently come close to the catcher’s target. If your velocity and movement are degrading you must be able to put the ball exactly where a hitter cannot get the barrel on it. Jansen should not be trusted in one-run situations. It should not matter the Dodgers are paying Jansen $20 million this year if you control your pitches you should not be entrusted to close in tight games.
    Last night the pitchers had great control and movement.


  2. We’re all pretty happy that Doc didn’t use Kenley yesterday, but my son pointed out something else to me. I was questioning why they decided to go with Treinen in the 8th and Knebel to close it out and he pointed out to me that Doc used Treinen to face the meat of their order.

    This has long been a theory among baseball new-era strategists, that being to use your strongest reliever where he’ll do the most good. What I’m saying here is that although Knebel looked spectacular, Doc may have actually had more confidence in Treinen going in and had him face the strongest part of their lineup. Who says you need to use your best reliever to close out the game in the 9th when the opposition’s best batters may come up in the 8th?

    Knebel looked so good yesterday that he may now be at the top of the list, but that may not necessarily mean he’ll be used in the 9th. Use your best reliever where he can do you the most good. Maybe that’s the 8th against the best part of the order. Maybe that’s the 7th, coming in with the bases loaded.

    Using a single closer is an outdated concept.
    Saving your best reliever for the end of the game is also an outdated concept.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agree! look at the hitters coming up. Look at the pitchers available in the bullpen. Figure out which pitcher has the best record against those hitters. Don’t simply say Jansen is my closer so I use him no matter what. That is simply being ignorant and stubborn rather than strategic.
      Both Treinen and Knebel had good control and great movement on their pitches.


  3. Dodgers claimed pitcher Ashton Goudeau off waivers from the Giants. The Dodgers are his 5th organization in less than 5 months time. Spent spring with the Orioles. Originally drafted by the Royals. Some one will have to be moved off of the 40 man to make room.


    1. I can’t believe they’re going to kick someone off the 40-man roster for Mr. Goudeau. He was originally a 27th round draft choice, he’s almost 29 years old and his entire MLB career consists of 8.1 innings with the Rox last year in which he pitched poorly.

      Any chance they can just give him a minor league contract and not add him to the 40-man? I need a ruling here, please.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I keep hearing people say that somebody is gonna be bumped from the 40-man, but I haven’t seen or heard anything official from the team. Maybe Kelly goes to the 60-man? If somebody gets DFA’d they must have a valid reason. Friedman just doesn’t make “random” moves like this.


      2. I’m on as I write this, checking to see if there is a family connection between the Friedmans and Goudeaus. It’s the only logical explanation.

        Of course, Manfred may have already alerted Andrew to the fact the Bauer is about to receive a lifetime ban for altering baseballs.

        And in other news, A-Rod after being unsuccessful in his bid for the Mets will now be part of the new ownership group buying the NBA Minnesota T Wolves. Hopefully that will mean he’ll leave the MLB broadcasts and concentrate on basketball.


      3. The story is that they are going to put him on the 40 man, Since he was claimed on waivers he has to be placed on the 40 man or released. They can put someone on the IL, or they can DFA someone.


  4. LOL. ” If there are a few players due up for the opposing team who Kenley has dominated over the years, perhaps the team could use Jansen.”.

    I don’t think there is such a player as Kenley really hasn’t dominated since 2018.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Goudea is a 6″6 right-hander who throws a 93-94 fastball has a decent change and a 12 to 6 looping curve. But if he couldn’t break the Orioles, Rockies, or Giants line-up how can he make the Dodgers? Tis a puzzlement!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. They paid nothing for him except his contract. I still question this. I do not see this guy adding a thing to the pen. He has been abysmal.


      2. What I’m interested in is the name of the player that Andrew thinks is worse than this guy because someone will have to be cut from the 40-man to accommodate him.

        Of course, if you combine his great spin numbers with some extra tutoring from Bauer, plus some of that sticky stuff that Bauer won’t have use for any longer, this guy could turn into a HOFer.

        Farhan probably turned to somebody in their office and said “We’ve finally turned it around. The Dodgers are now taking our left overs instead of the other way around.”


      3. I’d have to do more research on the 40 but Bear mentioned something about it not being a problem. Friedman would not have done this if it exposes someone he really wants to keep. I’m very curious to see what it is this guy has that we can work with.

        Anybody read the article in The Athletic about Bauer and his “admission”? This story may get legs very soon. It’s already making some people nervous. I said early on if the League decides to enforce rule 3.01 Bauer could revert to the days he didn’t spin the ball so well, which would be every year but 2 – 2018 and 2020. After 2 games and 13 innings at 4.15 he’s sitting pretty close to his career ERA of 3.91. WHIP looks considerably better, so that’s a plus. We’ll just have wait and see where this goes.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. If you look on the Dodger site and pull up the 40 man roster, there are 44 players on there. 12 of those guys, including Goudeau, are assigned to the minors. 26 are active. The other 6 are all on the IL. So that means there are 2 spots open that could be active. Bellinger is the closest to coming back, no doubt either Raley or Beaty will leave the active roster. Graterol is maybe two weeks away, so someone would have to be moved down when he returns. Gonsolin could be moved to the 60 day along with Kahnle and Ferguson since they have no clue when he will be ready. That is also true with Kelly.


      5. In order to prove that pitchers are using a foreign substance, the umpires need to grab a ball and make sure no one tampers with it until it’s analyzed. They need to do that for all the pitchers in the league. They should not be able to pick the ones the MLB Brass doesn’t like.
        From the amount of chatter from the Angel Clubhouse guy, there is a very large population of pitchers that use a little foreign substance help. Baseball may be opening up a can of worms they do not want to go into.
        You can’t decide to make an example of one guy. Bauer will sue the crap out of them. The union will not stand for it.


  6. Hey, Scoop — you done with that other site? I have been watching the back-and-forth over there, and the amount of projection by those on the other side of the spectrum is pretty amazing. I lurk and read, but I think I am done. So nasty (about non-baseball issues) — and then they claim the other side is the nasty one. As I said, the projection is strong. It is sad when you open the hood and see what drives certain folks’ world view. Makes it hard to want to engage. Just wanted to let you know: I see the hypocrisy (at least from my vantage point) and I shudder. PS: Bearone48 and Jeff D — you guys are always civil (over there) — I really appreciate/enjoy your informative writings and love of the game!


    1. Appreciate the kind word Ghost. I just check to see where Scoop shows up and follow him around, although he uses different names in order to fool me. As far as Bear is concerned I try to tickle him every once in a while but make sure to steer clear of his big paw.

      With regard to the roster question and our new friend Mr. Goudeau, there is apparently a special Covid provision in the rules this year which allows a player to be put on a Covid list without taking up a space on the 40 man roster. I think that’s what’s happening here because, although they haven’t officially announced it, I think that is where Graterol is being stashed for the time being. So technically, Goudeau is taking Bazooka’s spot on the roster. What I don’t know is whether they’ll be able to just take him off the 40-man and option him once Graterol is activated but I think the Covid provision may allow for that.


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