The Dodgers were dealt a bit of a blow when flame throwing reliever Brandon Morrow signed with the Cubs this winter. Morrow was the Dodger’s eighth inning man throughout most of the second half of the season. This means the Dodgers are going to have to find a new set-up man to bridge franchise best closer Kenley Jansen.
One of the “two Tonys” are gone as well. Tony Watson just recently inked a deal with the hated Giants. Fortunately the other Tony, (Tony Cingrani) is still with the Dodgers. Which reminds me how good both of the Tonys’ were last season. The Dodgers traded for relievers Tony Cingrani and Tony Watson to solidify the backend of the bullpen before the 2017 postseason run. Watson came from the Pirates and Cingrani from the Reds. Both came with some baggage which included injuries, inconsistencies and slumps despite having past successes.
Speaking of Cingrani, he was even better than Watson. While Watson was effective, Cingrani was fantastic. The 28-year old former starter made 22 appearances for the Dodgers in 2017 and posted a 2.79 ERA and 1.86 FIP across 19.1 innings pitched. Cingrani struck out 28 and walked only 6 while allowing just 7.0 hits per nine frames. That came out to a 13.0 K/9 and a 2.8 BB/9 rate as the left hander allowed just one home run as a Dodger. That’s a far cry from the 5.40 ERA and 9.6 hits per nine he was allowing in Cincinnati.
Cingrani limited left handed hitters to a .247 batting average against and posted a 0.90 ERA in the month of September. During that final month of the regular season batter hit just .194 against him with a .497 OPS against. Cingrani tossed five innings in the postseason last October and allowed just one earned run on two hits and posted a 1.80 ERA. He didn’t allow a run until the World Series. I think the Dodgers should have used him more last year.
More than likely Cingrani will be utilized as a left handed specialist during the 2018 season. I think the Dodgers should look closely at letting him share some of the eighth inning duties. If Cingrani continues to progress, develop his blazing fastball, sinking change-up and make the necessary adjustments, then he could become a big secret weapon for the Dodger bullpen this season.