The Dodgers Should Consider Using Tony Cingrani in a Setup Role

Tony Cingrani

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.

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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.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Former Co-editor of Lasorda's Lair. Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic Cheap MLB Tickets

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43 thoughts on “The Dodgers Should Consider Using Tony Cingrani in a Setup Role

  1. 100% agree. Watson was the better known name last July, but Cingrani was the much better acquisition. He showed big time stuff, and as usual, Honeycutt corrected something in his delivery.

    I expect an even better year from him this year, and he should grow into a more prominent role (more than just facing 1 leftie)

  2. I could easily see him stepping in. The Dodgers reportedly are working on getting Baez his confidence back. Garcia is an unknown right now since he has been out close to 2 years. Of the non roster guys I am really interested in seeing Broussard pitch. I followed his progress in the minors last year and he has impressive stuff.

  3. Interesting:

    Alex Wood intends to pitch out of the stretch throughout 2018. He said he had an epiphany to scrap his delivery in September, watching Stephen Strasburg pitch against the Dodgers.

  4. I’m looking forward to Garcia and Baez stepping up. I don’t know from Cingrani, but of course I too want him to be successful.

    I’m not one to put emphasis on the inning. Those who know me know I have been professing “match up” for a long time now. I’ve heard for years the last three outs are the hardest to get. I don’t believe that’s always true. It’s not the inning that matters, it’s whose coming up in what situation. If the top/middle of the order is coming up in the 7th, I want my best bullpen arms in the game then. Personally, I think the definition of “Save” should be changed and given to the pitcher who actually gets the clutch outs. Example: 7th inning, go ahead run in scoring position, #3 hitter up, #4 hitter on deck. Getting out of that mess is much more clutch than say 9th inning, nobody out, nobody on, bottom of the order coming up. Everything is quantified these days. Well, everything but catcher plays that actually matter, (but that is coming). I predict those outs in the 7th and 8th that are high pressure clutch outs will eventually be weighted differently than they are now.

    1. I could see that scenario very easily Badger. And it is actually something that makes total sense. I wonder if they are going to implement the new pace of play rules during spring games. They probably will since each team needs to know what it going on this year. I myself would like to see the return of blocking the plate. Made for some exciting baseball, but you know that will not happen. Players are way to valuable in todays game to risk injury in a home plate collision. We have Buster Posey to thank for that.

      1. You ever play in the Over 50 softball leagues? No sliding at any base. Force outs everywhere. Two bases at first. At home, there is an imaginary line, 90 degrees from home plate. Cross it before catcher steps on home and you’re safe. It’s fun. Not suggesting that for pro ball, just mentioning it. Really made the game safer for old guys still wanting to play.

        1. Baez had more trouble last year then his confidence, if you look at his FIP numbers, which tells you more about a pitcher, then their era.

          Baez’s strikeouts were down last year, and his walks were also up last year, from the year before.

          And Baez is going to have to go with his catcher’s calls too.

          Because he was throwing fastball, after fastball at times, when his catcher was calling for something different.

          And I agree with both Scott and Bobby, about Cingrani having better stuff, then Watson.

          I think Cingrani pitched better then Watson too.

          I think Roberts is just going to try different guys in the set up role, and find out who is going to do the job.

          Morrow wasn’t even on the major league team until right before the Allstar break, or after, so Roberts has enough time in the first half of the season, to find out who should be our set up guy.

          Roberts had to do this in his first season as a manager, after both Baez and Hatcher could not do the job, so I trust Roberts to find out which of our relief pitchers, are the best to set up for the team.

          I think if the Dodgers think Baez really has a confidence issue, it is stupid to say every year that they are going to try to build Baez’s confidence up, especially in this day.

          Baez should have been sent to a sport psychologist in the off season, a long time ago.

  5. I am not sure I am on the Cingrani bandwagon, remember Dayton had great numbers too in 2016 but not so much in 2017. Injury concern are everywhere in our roster. But I agree we should use Cingrani more than just a LOOGY. Actually Watson was more of the LOOGY last year – Cingrani has better stuff to both sides.

    We had a bunch of 2016 BP arms coming back. Yimi Garcia probably won’t be able to do much early in the year, same with Liberatore.

    1. I don’t think Yimi is going to have good command this year, after just coming back from TJ surgery, so I don’t think we can expect to much from Yimi this year.

      I am not worried about the bullpen, because the front office has done a pretty good job building our bullpen,in the last couple years.

      And Roberts is good about trying different relievers in the set up role, to find out the best guy in our bullpen, to be our set up guy.

  6. I believe Baez has one of the better arms in our system. His career ERA is around 3 and last year it was under 3. He averages over 9K’s per IP with a career WHIP of 1.12. That is excellent. He can be frustrating when he insists on throwing one 95 mph fastball after another, but hopefully he’s learned something. I see him with 50-60 IP, an ERA just over 3 and over 9 Ks per IP again. And yeah, an xFIP around 4. He’s 30 this year so maybe it all comes together for him. He had a stretch of several games last year where he was nails. Don’t forget he also had a hand injury that bothered him.

    I also expect Garcia to surprise. Like Baez, he’s got a great arm. Our pen could very well be our strength. Hope so. We’re going to need it.

    1. Badger

      In the first half of the season, Baez’s xFIP was 444 and his FIP was 379, and those are not extraordinary numbers, but everyone still talks about how good of a first half Baez had, last year.

      And in the second half of the season, both Baez’s XFIP and FIP was over five.

      Non of those numbers Baez had last year, were particularly good numbers, and those numbers mean much more, then a pitcher’s ERA.

      Baez might have a good arm, but he isn’t a pitcher.

      But once again this year, we are still talking about a confidence issue with Baez, so I don’t know how another year is going to make that big of a difference with Baez, but I hope it will.

      Because I don’t like having to watch the big smiles that the Dback’s players, and the Rockie’s players have on their faces, anytime Baez is brought into a game.

      I think Yimi is more of a pitcher then Baez, but pitchers usually don’t have their good command, when they first come back from TJ surgery, so I won’t expect to much from Yimi, in his first year back.

      But I do like Yimi a lot, because he goes right after hitters, unlike Baez.

      But I rather have seen Baez come into the game two of the World Series, then McCarthy, and I still wonder who put McCarthy on the World Series roster.

      1. “None of those numbers Baez had last year were particularly good”

        I just gave you several numbers and they were ALL good. Sounds like your mind is made up.

        1. Badger

          I really think Baez was pretty lucky in the first half of last year, and the numbers that really count, showed that.

          Like I said, I would love for him to prove me wrong, because that would be better for the Dodgers.

          But with his strike outs going down, and his walks going up, along with his confidence issue, it is hard to believe he is finally going to turn it around.

          And I bet Hatcher has not turned it around yet, either.

          And he is another guy, that had good stuff.

      2. Why in the world is there a question about who put McCarthy on the roster? Isn’t the answer the same people who put every other active player on the roster?

        1. Bluto

          I really don’t think every active player, deserves to be on the World Series roster, especially McCarthy.

          McCarthy didn’t deserve to be on the World Series Roster!

          Why would anyone think McCarthy should be on the World Series roster, after he spent most of the second half of the season, on the bench, because he had the yips?

          McCarthy spent much more time on the bench, then the mound, in the three years, he was with this team.

          And Ryu even if he wasn’t fully warmed up, would have done a better job by far, then McCarthy.

          1. Yes, but that’s hindsight and irrelevant.

            You asked who put McCarthy on the roster as if it’s a mystery. It’s not and never has been.

            A better question may be why, but you answer that. Long relief and an applicable approach to pitching (I’m guessing on the last one.)

      1. The close button is more of a courtesy. First time yeah it closes then it comes back with a vengeance, button no longer works. At least for me that is. Thanks

  7. According to the Dodger website, Garcia is back with a vengeance. He wants to prove he is healthy and can help the team.

  8. Story on Dodgers web site about the 3 longshots to make the Dodger roster. Yimi Garcia, Trayce Thompson and Liberatore. I think of those 3 the one with the hardest road is Thompson. Liberatore and Garcia have had some success. Since his injury, Thompson has been less than scintillating.

  9. Baez is the only one with a long-ish track record in the bigs. Yimi may come up a winner, but I have serious doubts about Thompson. He sure looks like a ballplayer in person, but has never had a season over .250. We’re in the wing-and-a-prayer leagues here. Me, I’ll put my money on Baez (for a couple years, and then Yimi, but not a slam dunk until August or so–needs to work back from injury. No thrills for me in the non-roster group–unless Banuelas can cut it–born with arm–don’t know if he’s still got it. Coming to Camelback March 16th. Hoping to start against the Chisox on the 17th. Still talking back and forth with Davey and Andy. We’ll see.

  10. It will be interesting to see both Font and Yaisel Sierra (Font will be starting the ST opener, with Sierra to follow after him).

  11. I don’t look at Garcia and Liberatore as long shots. If they are healthy they are in the pen. Thompson is another story. With already a crowded outfield it might be time to give him an opportunity elsewhere.

          1. I made it really small until I figure out somewhere else to put it. It’s supposed to stream Dodger videos once the season starts. It’s really tiny now, 😉

    1. Badger
      FAZ is king of the Spin. They will slowly lower the payroll while staying competitive for years. They have the Tampa mentality. Small market. They will make tons of money while giving us the fans very little except hope. Watch and see. They will not sign big name FAs for 2019 either. Just my opinion. By the way, I think the Dodgers are way short of the good pitching they need both in the pen and rotation.

      1. Package

        Your right we don’t have much back up for our starting rotation, except the kids.

        But I rather watch the kids, even if they are still learning how to pitch in the majors, then McCarthy, Kazmir, and Anderson, any day of the week.

        The front office has created a pretty good bullpen, the last couple of years, so I am not as worried about the bullpen.

        You should just concentrate on Cody and the extra muscle he has added during the off season.

        I think he is going to have another big year, just like Corey did in his sophomore year, before he hurt his elbow.

    2. Bad ownership or bad executives are truly demoralizing and infuriating.

      Much of the Dodger fanbase suffered in similar (but not equal) ways during the lamentable Colletti / McCourt years.

      Let’s hope we never see those people or regimes ever, ever, ever again.

      1. If we ever get rid of FAZ I will go on a drunk to end all drunks. It will be a happy, happy day. These guys are the kings of getting a unexciting roster. I never thought I would see money do nothing to help the Dodgers.

  12. They initially continued to spend. I remember some immediately saying payroll was about to go DOWN – and it went UP. And, they spent like an inebriated Package on Cubans, players that to date haven’t really helped. It looked to me like, coming from Tampa and Oakland, they were 19 year olds with their first credit card.

    We’re going to be a good team for a while. Good enough? Depends on the goal.

    The ad is the same size for me. And it doesn’t go away.

    1. Badger

      Thanks I read that article that you posted.

      I didn’t know the small market teams were working the system so much, that they are making so much profit.

      And not only are they probably making a higher percentage of profit then the big market teams, but baseball is still making the big market teams, give money to these small market teams, with the competitive balance money.

      All of this, and these small market teams, get the best of the draft too.

      These teams that are not putting enough money into their payrolls, to have competitive teams, should lose all the competitive balance money they are getting.

      But I would really like to know, is what the Dodgers and Yankees, and these other big market teams, are making in profit too.

  13. Well Barnes is nursing a bad elbow. First bad news of spring. But it is early and hopefully it is nothing serious….have my MLB on…..its time for Dodger baseball!!!!!

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