The Dodgers Need Another Left handed Reliever

Luis Avilan

It’s almost time for the Dodgers to construct the bullpen for opening day. With just a week remaining until the regular season kicks off, the Dodgers have to make the annual roster decisions. With the all of the injuries and focus on the starting rotation, few people have been looking at the bullpen. We all know that the bullpen has been a weakness for the Dodgers for the last several years now. In particular left handed middle relief.

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The 26-year old southpaw was acquired by the Dodgers from the Braves last summer during the three team deal with the Marlins that sent Alex Wood, Jim Johnson, Bronson Arroyo, Jose Peraza, Mike Morse and Mat Latos to the club. Avilan has allowed six earned runs on ten hits over 5.1 innings pitched in seven appearances this spring.

So what do the Dodgers do if something happens to Avilan, or he keeps sucking? They could go with Adam Liberatore. The 28-year old has pitched much better this spring, but had an up and down season with the Dodgers in 2015. Liberatore was acquired from the Rays in the Jose Dominguez trade. Liberatore appeared in 39 games for the Dodgers in 2015, and posted a 4.25 ERA. Although advanced metrics like FIP liked his body of work much better. Liberatore had a 3.40 FIP, and a strikeout to walk ratio of over 3-1. He struck out 29 and walked only 9 and usually kept the ball in the park. This year Liberatore has appeared in 10 exhibition games, and posted a 3.00 ERA. In 9 frames he’s allowed three earned runs on eight hits and struck out 11 against just three walks.

After Libertore the depth gets spotty. There’s nobody behind Liberatore and Avilan. I guess there is Ian Thomas, but ughhh no thanks. We’ve seen enough of him. The Dodgers were pretty good against left handed hitters last season. They allowed left handers to hit .251 against them with a 3.38 ERA. That ranked them fifth in the majors, thanks to solid work from Howell and Liberatore. This spring Dodger hurlers have limited opposing southpaw batters. They’ve posted a 3.34 ERA in 91.2 Cactus League innings pitched.

Not bad for exhibition play. I still think the Dodgers are thin on left handed relievers. Once again the club may become outmatched in the late innings if they have nobody to call on and can’t get tough left handed hitters out. Pray nothing happens to Howell. The Dodgers may have to pick up somebody at the trade deadline. Maybe they can even work out a deal before then.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic Cheap MLB Tickets

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47 thoughts on “The Dodgers Need Another Left handed Reliever

  1. I pushed all winter for Jake McGee (FAZ would not take my call). That would have solved an additional lefty in the pen, and a very good 8th inning setup RP. I would guess that FAZ did try, but were not able to consummate the trade; not willing to give up what may have been asked. The Rays did get Corey Dickerson, a pretty solid 26 year old MLB OF with team control through 2019. The Dodgers do not have a Corey Dickerson on the roster, so I do not know what package it would have taken to get McGee. But I was hoping that FAZ would sweeten the deal with trying to also acquire Jake Odorizzi, which would have filled the #2 slot in the rotation.

    Regardless, I am still confident, and I still believe in Dodger Blue for 2016.

  2. I was hoping for more too AC.

    My confidence level is mid meter. I remain hopeful. Puig, Pederson, Seager and AGon have the potential to keep us in games. Grandal, Kendrick, Crawford, half the pitching staff and I fear even Turner, have the potential to not be in games for long stretches. We have Kershaw. With him we always have a chance to be the best in the West.

    1. Badger…Grandal, Kendrick, and certainly CC are not only potential to not be in games, they have a history of it. Kendrick not as much until last year and this Spring, but it might becoming a trend. Even Orel projects Turner to be a 120-130 game player. Both Grandal and Seager are currently green-lighted for Opening Day. Seager is supposed to make the lineup tomorrow night against the Halos.

      The position players have competent backup, as does the SP if FAZ elects to push the kids. But it is the bullpen that is questionable right now. There really is no good backup for LHRP. Howell is really only a situational lefty. But Avilan has looked horrible to date, and Liberatore is average right now. You really cannot go into the season with only one situational lefty and six RHRP in the pen. Hopefully FAZ can find something better than average with their glut of RHSP before Monday.

      1. I was hoping we would find a way to get the young players we traded for more playing time. Other than Grandal, who is having his own health issues, they appear to be nothing more than depth. From my point of view, this is the time to see what they can do. It’s not going to happen until the old dudes go down. And I can’t help but anticipate they will.

      2. If the Dodgers don’t make a trade for a lefty reliever then maybe they should think about using Wood in the bullpen. Frias, Bolsinger, Lee, Stripling can hold the fort in the 4th and 5th spot and probably do as well as Wood.

        1. Bums, I actually thought that is where Wood was headed before Anderson went down, and before Blanton was signed. I think he could be very good in the pen. He only has to go through the lineup one time. I would be very happy to see Stripling in the rotation until Ryu is ready. And Frias and/or Lee can hold down #5 until Bolsinger gets back. If anything happens, or the results are not very good, it’s time to push De Leon and Urias.

  3. F&Z, here is my advice from the stands . . .

    Make a list of needs for the roster. Then take a couple of Dodger minor leaguers — and go fill those needs in a trade or two.

    I am tired of hearing that you do not want to give the farm away. That is what a farm is for. Formula: you have a need, make an offer to fill it — with something the other team will make the trade for. Forget the fact that they guy you give up might or might not be something some day — you need to fix a flat tire now to continue the journey.

    Sure, you can work instead with Dodger minor leaguers. That is your choice, but then you have a team of AAA trying to take the place of MLB players.

    1. Man Roger, what an old school way of thinking.

      I went to the same school.

      FAZ didn’t go to that school. Now, Mark has made the point that last July we didn’t have the minor league depth to go for a championship by getting what we needed at the deadline. But, we do now.

      Looking at this roster, as it is currently constructed, it’s impossible to know if we will be in a position to go for it with deadline trades. Who will be back on the field for us in mid to late July? Who that is currently playing will not be there? It’s possible we have an outfield of Crawford, Pederson and Puig – or Van Slyke, Thompson and Ethier – or? The infield possibilities are similar. I think I can say, with near certainty, the lineup, including the rotation, at the beginning of each month all the way to August will be different. How do we know anything with so much uncertainty? How can we say we are confident when a few hours before Opening Day we don’t know what our lineup will be, who is in the rotation, who is in the bullpen and who, if anybody, will come back from injury and actually help? “I’m confident because I believe in the Blue” just doesn’t work for me. I need a more solid foundation. Hernandez, Thompson, Johnson, Barnes were all traded for and are now all of age. Play them! Wood, Avilan, Blanton, Coleman, Hatcher were all acquired to pitch, so let them pitch and see what happens. Management has had 2 off seasons to put it together. They’ve made 300 moves. This is the team FAZ wanted for ’16. Play ball.

    2. Too many guys who have yet to pitch at AAA are being pushed forward, like Stripling and DeLeon. Why not put Urias in the pen? How could that go wrong? They could’ve gotten McGee if they’d tried. KFZ don’t think the pen is that important.

      1. Snider fan I agree that the front office couldn’t get McGee. The Rays are still upset that Friedman left, and they don’t really want to help Friedman, to succeed, and the Dodgers don’t have anyone, who would blow the Rays away, to make that trade.

        I think everyone is over looking Libatore. Mattingly really didn’t use him, in the right way, and I think he could help this bullpen, if he is used properly, and I think Roberts, and his team, could use Libatore, in a way, that would help strengthen, the Dodger’s bullpen.

        And Libatore, has pitched much better, then Avilan, in spring, and Libatore, was really good last year, until August I believe. It could have been a little sooner, but Libatore was solid, for a good while, before he started to break down, last year.

        Roberts doesn’t believe that Avilan has any confidence in himself, and look for Avilan to be put down, or on the DL, to work out his problems. I believe the Dodgers will go with only one lefty, in the pen. Coleman, can pitch to both leftys, and righties.

  4. We may already have a pitcher who actually led the team last year vs LHB with a .156 BAA. Other Pichers below him were: Avalin-.217: Howell-.220; Baez-.222; Coleman-.238; Hatcher-.239; Liberatore-.242. Oh, the most efficient vs LHB? Yimi @ .156.

    1. Yeah, as you can said they already have a few right handers with reverse splits. The bullpen shouldn’t have much trouble with lefties even without another lefty reliever.

  5. I think we need to go a couple of months to see what we really have. If everybody has a good year, we are fine. If not, we are in trouble. Injuries happen to every team. We had more than our share this spring.

    Puig still has problems. Gets picked off at second. Takes a pitch without any effort. My patience is starting to run out with him. He has so much potential, but he may never realize it with the Dodgers. If a trade is made, I would hope he is in the trade. He may have some trade value right now. In mid-summer he may not have much value. Puig seems to say all the right things and then when he plays, he is right back to his old ways. I would trade him and a prospect for a good starting pitcher. I would look at Cleveland. Roberts gave Puig a clean slate. I have not seen all the games because they were not broadcast, but it seems to me he has not changed.

  6. What happened to Paco? Is he no longer on the roster?

    I don’t think Liberatore was that bad last year; lets give him a shot if we have to have a 2nd leftie. Avilan looks clueless

    1. Thanks for posting! I especially liked the following: “L.A. is building a monster, and we’ve let a few disappointing postseasons distract us from that fundamental fact”.

    1. They should have not traded Withdrow away, in that one trade. We would be getting him back, at probably the Allstar break, and he would be another strong pitcher, for the bullpen.

  7. I looked up to see how Libatore did last year, and I found some good stats. Libatore pitched 13 innings aganist Righties, and 15 innings against leftys. His era was high against right handed batters, but his era against leftys, was barely over one.

    What was weird, and deceiving, right handers, had a slightly lower batting average, against Libatore, then left handed hitters, but the difference, really isn’t a significant, because it is just a few points.

    So actually Libatore, really was good against lefty hitters, last year, his high era, is because he faced almost as many right handed hitters, as left handed hitters.

    These stats show, that Libatore, would be a good pitcher, against leftys. And last year, was Libatore’s first year, in the majors, so maybe the Dodgers should give him, another try, instead of going with a trade, unless the trade, would bring a high quality, set up guy.

  8. I think we have to take a lot of Spring Training stats with a grain of salt… on both sides of the plate. The lack of humidity and thinner air affects certain pitchers very differently. Avilan has pitched in Florida in Spring’s past so the climate here may be messing with him. I still think it’s possible he makes the team despite his horrid record.

    1. So, let me get this right, a study showed that if a person and their parents and grandparents are vegetarians then that person’s kids might be susceptible to cancer but 1000 studies that say global warming is real is a scam?

    2. So science you might believe tells you eating dead flesh is better for you than eating apples.

      Good luck with that.

      Sounds like those scientist may have been employed by the beef industry. No doubt they have wealthy lobbyists.

      I just read that the U.S. could feed 800 million people on what livestock eat here. You know who did that study? Cornell University. The lesson? Don’t trust anything coming out of Cornell I guess.

      1. Those involved with that study need to watch “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead”

        Of course, vegetarian diet can also consist of too much pasta, donuts, and such, so maybe that’s what they’re basing this study on?

      2. Why so defensive? Just thought you might be interested in this quote in the article: “The message for vegetarians is simple. Use vegetable oils that are low in omega-6 linoleic acid such as olive oil.”

      3. There was a wonderful report on NPR about a town in Italy that seems to have the highest concentration of people over 100. It is so fascinating that American and Italian doctors want to conduct a study. The NPR report mentioned a culture of anchovies, rosemary, wine, and getting together to talk and laugh.

        1. That used to be a large part of our culture. I remember block parties as a kid. We are a very different country now.

  9. Three games at Camelback with a friend from VA. Last time we saw a ST game together was the last ST at Vero. All that equals an epic trip…
    A couple things that made throw up a little in the back of my throat was watching Puig and his give a s— attitude at the plate and on the bases… Also a thrill a minute was watching Joc… Damn that hurts to watch…
    Things that made me happy… Austin Barnes play in the hole with a underhand flip that was a laser… It hurts to say it becuz Mark T./Mountainmover had it right…
    Culberson has got to be soliciting calls from other teams because he’s playing to win a spot with someone.
    Maeda was really fun to watch… He can make good hitters mumble with that change…
    Hell, I’m ready to go and the first month of the season will be pivotal…

    1. Joc has struck out way too much this spring and it is very hard to see him keep doing that. I think the weakest part of Joc’s offense is hitting with risp. That said, he is quietly having a decent spring with .302 ave 2 HR 6 RBI 1 SB .834 OPS.

  10. Hope you had a good time Pete.

    Have the same feelings about Joc & Puig and definitely about Culberson – he’s playing like his life depends on it, which is refreshing to see.

    Ireland was a blast. Paddies Day in Dublin was unbelievable. People starting their day’s with a beer for breakfast.
    Got in the spirit but managed to lose my phone somewhere, but all a bit hazy.

    The drinking didn’t help my golf…

    I

    1. Sounds like a Great trip other than the phone. I’ve always heard Ireland is a blast. I need to get into golf. Countdown to opening day!
      Cheers

  11. Very interesting lineup today:

    Chase Utley, 2B
    Trayce Thompson, RF
    Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
    Scott Van Slyke, LF
    Joc Pederson, CF
    A.J. Ellis, C
    Rob Segedin, 3B
    Charlie Culberson, SS
    Clayton Kershaw, P

    Obviously Culberson will be replaced with Seager and Segedin by Turner but still, if a trade is in the works for pitching, this might be the lineup.

    1. Hernandez is hitting like a backup player that can play short and probably 3B. Johnson is not intriguing me yet. Thompson could be awesome in LF, now. I like Barnes. He might make the 25 at least until Kendrick is ready.

      1. It’s my opinion every one of them need at bats at the ML level. They were ALL traded for. One has to wonder why. These players aren’t A League 19 year olds. These guys are in their prime years NOW.

  12. Culberson with another RBI

    Just a thought – if we don’t keep him after ST then what is the point of invitees?

  13. It will be good to see Corey playing again tomorrow. I know everyone thinks he doesn’t get nervous, but I don’t believe that for a minute. He may not show the classical symtoms of being nervous, on the outside, but he does get nervous, everyone does, at times.

    I’m glad he can get in these next three games. Maybe Cory missing spring training, will allow him, to make it through his first long season, a little easier.

    I remember that Cory’s legs got tired, at the end of last year, and he had to ask for a day off. I hope he does well, because there is so much pressure, put on him.

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