One of the big keys to the Dodgers 2017 World Series run was a dominant bullpen. The Dodgers relied heavily on their relievers and ran them to a National League championship last season. Their bullpen was one of the best in the majors and it was super fun to watch. This season the bullpen has been less than stellar. They’re bad, unwatchable and totally undependable. Dodger management severely weakened the relief corp and for the record I have no idea why.
Brandon Morrow and Tony Watson were two of the Dodger’s best relievers during the pennant run last October but the Dodgers decided not to bring them back. If you want to cite luxury tax restrictions and lowering payroll, I get it. But Morrow signed for only 21 million dollars with the Cubs and Watson signed for seven million with the Giants. Watson is earning just 3.5 million in San Francisco this season. That’s a drop in the bucket for hedge fund owners with deep pockets. How are the two doing? Morrow has pitched nine scoreless innings with the Cubs. Watson has a 0.77 ERA in 11.2 innings with the Giants.
Meanwhile the Dodger relievers have been one of the worst in the National League and all of baseball in holding leads. The Dodger relievers rank 21st in baseball with a 4.70 ERA. They rank 20th out of the 30 clubs in batting average against, (.257) 16th in walks issued (40), fifth most home runs allowed (15), ninth most in hits allowed, (98), and have only converted 4 of 11 save opportunities.
We know about the struggles of Kenley Jansen, and the rest of the guys have been unreliable. You know your staff is pretty bad when you carry Wilmer Font as a long man/mop-up guy. The Dodgers finally jettisoned him off the roster but the rest of the flotsam remains. JT Chargois has been a pretty solid pickup but the newly acquired Scott Alexander has been one of the worst relievers in the League.
I have no idea why the Dodgers made that stupid trade. I would rather have Luis Avilan back. Alexander was recently optioned to Oklahoma City when the team called up Alex Verdugo. It was a long time coming for that move. We’re all familiar with Pedro Baez and his issues as well. He did this in San Francisco during Friday night’ loss.
Again, the Dodgers had the right mix of guys last year but decided to fix what wasn’t broken. The trade for Alexander was one of the worst and unnecessary deals of the winter. The only value from that swap obtained by the Dodgers was infielder Jake Peters, but it sure didn’t do anything to help the bullpen. And to make matters worse, their best reliever Tony Cingrani has dead arm.
I don’t understand the reasoning for the tinkering. I would expect that the front office knows that they’ve built a really bad bullpen this season and they’re starting to take action to correct it. When you think about it all they’re doing is cleaning up their own mess. The Dodgers are going to need arms at the trade deadline if they want to compete this season.
The bullpen is awful and unless the Dodgers fix this then it’s going to be a long season filled with blown leads, irritated fans and a trail of tears. Expect a lot of losing if this isn’t corrected. Oh my goodness there will be losing, lots of it.