Dodgers Rumors: Looking At a Different Reliever
By Alex Campos
The Dodgers left the Winter Meetings without addressing their bullpen, not for lack of trying.
This has been one of the weirder off-seasons in recent history, as the Dodgers have been suspiciously quiet. Part of me thinks they just have a lot in play, and part of me thinks they’re about to execute a 30-team trade. So far, the club has only confirmed the signing of Chase Utley, and they’re reportedly in agreement with Hisashi Iwakuma, which is quietly a very good signing.
They were rumored to have a deal in place for Aroldis Chapman before domestic violence allegations halted those talks, leaving the Dodgers without an upgrade to their bullpen. Of course, there is still plenty of time before the season starts, but some news would be nice and calming.
This may just be speculation by Morosi, but Jake McGee was also a hot name during the trade deadline as well. McGee turned 29 in August and had been a stud at the back end of Tampa’s bullpen. He appeared in 71 games in 2014 and posted a 1.89 ERA/1.71 FIP and struck out more than five times more batters than he walked. He had Tommy John surgery in 2008 and had a smaller elbow issue last year, which kept him off the hill until May 17. When healthy, he was very good last year as well, posting a 2.41 ERA/2.33 FIP and striking out six time as many batters as he walked.
Jul 24, 2015; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Jake McGee (57) throws a pitch at Tropicana Field. Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Baltimore Orioles 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
McGee won’t exactly surprise anyone, as he’s pretty much a straight fastball pitcher. He threw a fastball almost 93 percent of the time last year, but if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. This post from Fox Sports provides great insight about how everyone knows what pitch McGee is throwing, and it’s still close to unhittable.
McGee only has 26 career saves, but hasn’t been a closer during his career, which makes him an even better fit in LA. One of the talking points around Chapman was wondering how he would fit in the back end of the bullpen with Kenley Jansen, as both of them have been dominant closers during their MLB career. This won’t be an issue with McGee, if the Dodgers were to acquire him.
McGee, like Chapman, is a lefty, which also could give the Dodgers an option to platoon the back of their bullpen and use McGee against tough left-handed hitters.
The main issue with McGee, like Andrew Miller, is that trading for relievers always seems like an overpay. While great relievers can take a team from good to contender, paying a ton in money or prospects for 60-70 innings of production doesn’t really sit right with me.
Again, Morosi was speculating that the Dodgers could be involved in McGee. Nothing has been reported about it, and the price might be extremely high. He would be an enormous addition to the bullpen, but could cost a valuable prospect or two. Corey Seager is obviously close to untouchable, but I probably wouldn’t be happy moving a top-five prospect for a pitcher that might throw 70 innings next year.
Next: Dodgers Surprisingly Quiet in Winter Meetings
The Dodgers will likely be attached to any reliever that potentially becomes available, as they should be. They haven’t been extremely active yet in the offseason, but with some big names remaining and four months until the season starts, it’s not time to panic. If the Dodgers roster is the exact same come April, maybe it’ll be time to worry. For all we know, half the 40-man could be different in the next week.