As avid followers of the Dodgers, many fans often know which relievers aren’t the most reliable out of the bullpen without needing to dig heavily into specific player statistics. At the same time, it’s difficult to comprehend that the Los Angeles relief corps still ranks second in the National League with a sub-3.00 ERA while having two or more relievers who seemingly are mainly utilized in low-leverage situations.
While most pieces of the bullpen have shown flashes of brilliance during the young 2017 campaign, Friday evening’s implosion against the Diamondbacks left many fans of the Dodgers wondering if the relief corps has the structural integrity to hold up over the long haul, or if the front office crew will feel the need to go shopping for a few upgrades before the trade deadline arrives in July.
While quite a number of spots on the Dodgers‘ 25-man roster are presumably set in stone, the bullpen is still a complex gray area that’s loaded with plenty of question marks. Yet after the dust finally settles at the end of March, versatile righty Ross Stripling may have found a spot among the big league relief corps.
When the Dodgers signed veteran righty Brandon Morrow to a minor league deal back in January, it didn’t create much buzz among the fan base, much less signify any type of major upgrade in the bullpen. However, if the 32-year-old Santa Rosa native can conceivably put his injuries behind him and earn a spot on the club’s 25-man roster, the relief corps just might end up being a bit stronger.
With all the speculation surrounding which roles certain players will fill in the bullpen for the upcoming campaign, it’s a bit tough to forecast the level of success for the relief crew of the Dodgers moving into the 2017 season.
According to several different media outlets on Tuesday morning, former Dodgers‘ reliever Joe Blanton has agreed to terms with the Nationals for a reported $4 million over one season. As specified by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the contract also includes potential performance bonuses which could total up to $1 million.
At first glance, there no question that the prospective 25-man Opening Day squad of the Dodgers could easily considered among the best in baseball. Yet after breaking down all the areas of the roster, the bullpen may be one of those areas which could use a slight upgrade, and veteran reliever Joe Blanton just may be the guy who fits the bill.
The first week of Dodgers spring training has come and gone, and the first game of the spring is upon us. The Dodgers will play the Chicago White Sox tomorrow, with whom they share the facilities at Camelback Ranch. Slated to be the starting pitcher is none other than Clayton Kershaw. He is expected to only pitch one inning. Taking their place in line behind him will be Alex Wood, Josh Ravin, Jacob Rhame, and Madison Younginer. Starters are expected to play through two at-bats.
While the status of the 40-man roster finally became locked down yesterday with the official addition of Franklin Gutierrez, the Dodgers now can begin honing in on the general makeup of the 25-man roster as Cactus League play begins this weekend. After reflecting on our projections in detail for perhaps the hundredth time, there may be two or three spots that are completely up for grabs, with some of the stiffest competition taking place among the bullpen crew.