More Thoughts on Dodgers Bullpen as Trade Deadline Approaches

With righty reliever Daniel Hudson going down to what is possibly a season-ending knee injury on Friday night, many fans of the Dodgers are wondering how the team plans to compensate over the long term.

Hudson threw for Los Angeles in the eighth inning of Friday’s series opener against the Braves and seemingly pulled something in his leg when he reacted to a dribbler off the bat of Ronald Acuna Jr.
The 35-year-old Hudson immediately fell to the ground in pain and needed the assistance of two trainers to leave the field.

In the post-game press conference, skipper Dave Roberts conceded that the injury is likely season-ending.

Earlier in the week, lefty Caleb Ferguson, who was conceivably a legitimate setup option, was placed on the 15-day injured list with left forearm tendinitis.

Blake Treinen has begun throwing, long tossing up to 120 feet last week for the first time since he went on the injured list on April 22. There is no concrete timeline for the 33-year-old righty, but the general feeling is that he could possibly be ready at some point after the All-Star break.

Treinen and Hudson had been the team’s optimal setup men entering the 2022 season. However, closer Craig Kimbrel, who has not exactly been the prototypical model of consistency, is now sitting alone at the backend of the bullpen.

There are some internal late-inning options, including Yency Almonte, Phil Bickford and Brusdar Graterol, but each seems to have their own sets of faults. Bickford hasn’t been anywhere nearly as effective as he was last year, and Graterol still can’t find the ability to miss bats, despite topping out on the radar gun at 103 MPH.

Dustin May will likely return at some point after the All-Star break, and he could help the team in a relief role. May appears to be on pace after throwing a live batting practice session this week.

Nevertheless, the club will certainly need to acquire several relief arms as the trade deadline approaches. Who the club pursues and what resources the organization parts with could be a good indicator of how much the trust management has for Kimbrel heading into the home stretch of the season.

At the very least, the team will need to acquire a legitimate setup man or eighth-inning guy, ideally someone who also has experiencing closing.

In the past, front-office boss Andrew Friedman has typically not been willing to sacrifice too much for a bullpen piece — at least until he dealt AJ Pollock for Kimbrel — but this year could be a lot different.

For as many diamonds in the rough the team has found in the bargain bins and lower levels of the minors in previous seasons, the pasture may be a bit barren this year.

12 thoughts on “More Thoughts on Dodgers Bullpen as Trade Deadline Approaches

  1. Almonte has a .98 WHIP! To my mind he is a bullpen piece that no one has counted on. I believe Pepiot with his change up and a couple of other farm guys can be brought in to acclimate to the MLB. No reason to panic. Besides until the Bauer salary issue is addressed the Dodgers are probably going to be reluctant to spend a lot of money. Why trade when U have young arms that should be given an opportunity?? Give that vaunted Farm System a chance. Young guys like Stone etc have real swing and miss skill sets. Stone has been highlighted as has Breeter who is averaging 2 strike outs an inning!!

  2. Most of the guys you mention, Tmax, such as Beeter, have great strike out numbers, but also walk way too many (in Beeter’s case it’s almost 6 per 9 innings).

    We’ve lost Treinen, Hudson, Vgon, Ferguson and Kahnle, all experienced high leverage guys. I, for one, do not want to throw some guy from Tulsa into their spot in the bullpen, especially guys who need to cut down on the walks they issue.

    The one exception for me might be Gavin Stone, who doesn’t walk many and has great numbers at Tulsa. But before I’d promote him all the way to L.A. I’d like to see how he does at OKC.

    If we hadn’t lost so many experienced guys, I’d be OK with trying some of the younger arms, but I don’t think we can afford to take chances at this point. I’d rather go out and see what it would cost us to get an experienced arm from a team who is out of the race, someone who has high leverage experience in the majors but isn’t a high end closer, so wouldn’t cost us a top 10 prospect. I’m thinking names like Sewald (Seattle), Bard (Colo), Robertson (Chicago) or a number of others who have high k/bb ratios and low WHIP numbers.

    I think we need to act on this now and not wait for the deadline. By the end of July, we might find ourselves in need of a closer or another high leverage guy and that’s when we spend our high end prospect capital if we have to.

    JMO. I know many of you agree with Tmax, but that’s why we all show up here and discuss things.

  3. Jeff, the Bauer appeal is still coming up. So the Dodgers do not know what the end result will be. The Dodgers are going to be careful about salary I would think. Also Gomes was in charge of the Farm Team before his promotion and was a pitcher I believe so probably has a good idea. Beeter and Knack both have great swing and miss potential although they do walk a lot of batters. Stone has the swing and miss & the control to throw strikes. I do understand they are at AA but there is a wave of young arms coming up that the Dodgers need to test under fire to see what they are made of and if they are trade bait or Dodgers material. The Dodgers are still in first place despite all their issues. They can try some of the young guys before the trade deadline to see how they do. Unfortunately it is a sellers market and AF hates buying high…Never a good idea.

    1. Tmax, I’m thinking of a guy like Scott Barlow of the Royals. Ironically, we’re the ones who originally drafted him.
      He’s been used in the 7th and 8th innings but has also saved games.
      His remaining salary for this year would be a little over one million, so AF isn’t going to worry about a number like that.
      And he’s got two years of control remaining after this year.
      Approximately 9k/9 innings, 3k/bb and a WHIP of just slightly over 1.0.

      I think someone like this, with MLB experience in high leverage situations is worth exploring, depending upon what the asking price would be.

      1. Looks like a solid pick up hopefully they will find someone that doesn’t cost them a prime prospect.

  4. I am sure AF is already hitting the phones checking on who is out there and for how much. If the price is right, go for it. If not, go with what we have as TMax stated. It would certainly be optimal if he can get someone right now. Teams may try to get more for what they have to offer thinking we are desperate.

    1. Makes sense to me that teams will wait. There will be more bidders in a few weeks.

      Graterol. Just look for something thigh high over the plate You’ll find it.

  5. Not sure what everyone thinks the cost will be for a good bullpen piece, but we don’t really have any top pitching prospects so it will probably cost a couple of the above named to secure a impact player and there will be a lot of teams bidding. AF will have to work his magic.

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