Dodgers: Four Questions the 2018 Dodgers Must Answer

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 01: Clayton Kershaw
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 01: Clayton Kershaw /
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LOS ANGELES, CA – NOVEMBER 01: Kenley Jansen /

Who will bridge the late innings leading to Kenley Jansen?

The Dodgers had one of the best bullpens in baseball this year since they had a dominant duo at the end of games in Brandon Morrow and Kenley Jansen.  The issue is that Morrow is now a free agent and figures to be in high demand this off-season.  Given that Morrow is 33 years old and has a laundry list of past shoulder injuries, the Dodgers would be wise not to overpay him.  The Dodgers have had poor results from previous reliever signings who were coming off of injury, see Sergio Romo and Brian Wilson.

If Brandon Morrow does depart then, the Dodgers will have a gaping hole in the eighth inning.  Pedro Baez completely melted down at the end of last season and played himself off of the playoff roster.  Despite finishing with a 2.95 ERA, Baez posted an ERA over ten in September and appeared to lose all the confidence he once had.  If Baez cannot bounce back, then the Dodgers will have holes to fill for the seventh and eighth innings.  That doesn’t even cover the fact that Kenley Jansen can not close every single game so for some games, the Dodgers will need to cover the last 2-3 innings without Jansen.

As you can see, there is work to do for the Dodger bullpen to be a big strength like it was this season.  The good news is that there is a surplus of quality relievers on the market, unlike the starting pitching market.  Still, given that relievers tend to be volatile from year to year, the Dodgers will need to acquire 2-3 relievers this off-season to shore up the pen.