8th inning, Set-up role
With Joe Blanton signing with the Nationals earlier this week the Dodgers need to figure out who will fill the void. Dave Roberts has already expressed interest in managing the setup role as players by committee job. Let’s dive into the players competing for this role.
The Dodgers elected to move on from Blanton and signed Romo to a heavily incentivized deal. The signing of Romo presumingly put him as the frontrunner to bridge the way to Kenley Jansen. Romo is coming off of a good season last year with the Giants but only appeared in 40 games. Romo’s career success against right-handers and postseason experience is what intrigued the Dodgers this offseason. In his career, Romo has held righties to a .185 batting average with over 400 strikeouts. His slider is a nice change of style from Jansen’s dominant cutter.
Baez solidified himself this past postseason by only allowing 2 earned runs in 7 appearances. He’s a hard-throwing right-hander who is coming off a solid season last year. Baez had a 3.04 ERA in 73 appearances with a 10 K/9 ratio, including 23 holds. His issue is that his high 1.34 HR/9 rate brings nervousness to all Dodger fans.
Liberatore could be another option. He held the role in the early part of the season and finished the year with 13 holds. Liberatore had a great start to his rookie season before getting injured. He only allowed 2 earned runs in his first 33 innings pitched, before undergoing elbow surgery. Liberatore will most likely be used in high-pressure situations against lefties. But his success early on should put his name in the conversation.
Louis Coleman, Grant Dayton