Dodgers: Pedro Baez Will be a Key Member of the Pen in 2018


The Dodgers lost Brandon Morrow to the Chicago Cubs and will now look to shore up their bullpen.  Don’t count out Pedro Baez as one of the possible solutions.

The Dodgers find themselves in the hunt for a reliever at the start of the winter meetings.  Brandon Morrow has already signed with the Cubs, and Pat Neshek is off the board as he signed a two year deal with the Phillies.  While the rest of the free agent market has been slow to develop, the relief market looks like it will be settled quickly.

There are still plenty of relievers on the market that would make good setup pitchers for the Dodgers.  The Dodgers will likely sign one free agent reliever, but it’s not a sure thing that they will sign multiple relievers.  One of the reasons the Dodgers do not need to spend big on relievers is because they already have a late-inning reliever in Pedro Baez.  While Baez is not a hit with most Dodger fans, he is a very solid reliever with plus stuff.

Baez pitched his way off the post-season roster with a 10.38 ERA in September but don’t forget that Baez was very dominant until then and he has had several good years in the past.  Before the all-star break, Pedro Baez had a 1.43 ERA and only allowed the opposition to hit .208 against him.  Factor in that Baez has a 3.04 career ERA with the Dodgers and a lifetime opponent’s average of .216 and it’s clear that Baez is a better than average reliever.

Let’s take a look at how Baez’s 2017 numbers stack up against some notable free agent relievers:

Pedro Baez: 2.95 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, .225 AVG allowed, 9K/9IP
Addison Reed: 2.84 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, .226 AVG allowed, 9K/9IP
Brandon Kintzler: 3.03 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, .248 AVG allowed, 4.9K/9IP
Bryan Shaw: 3.52 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, .247 AVG allowed, 8.5K/9IP

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Pedro Baez has a lower opponent’s average than three of the better non-closers left on the free agent market, and his strikeout rate is tied with Addison Reed who is one of the most coveted non-closer relievers on the market.  While it still makes sense for the Dodgers to add at least one reliever, Pedro Baez should give Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi confidence that they don’t have to splurge on a reliever.  Brandon Morrow got about 10 million a season which is far too much for the Dodgers to pay a setup reliever.

The Dodgers pen as it currently stands is projected to be Kenley Jansen, Pedro Baez, Tony Cingrani, Luis Avilan, Josh Fields, Ross Stripling, and Yimi Garcia or Adam Liberatore.  Besides Kenley Jansen, Pedro Baez is arguably the best reliever of the group after that.  Josh Fields blew a lot of Dave Roberts’ trust in October, and Yimi Garcia is an unknown as he looks to bounce back from surgery.  Baez is the most reliable right-hander not named Kenley Jansen.  While the Dodgers will likely add another right-handed reliever, it still makes sense for Baez to be no worse than the seventh inning setup man.

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No matter what the Dodgers do at the winter meetings or for the rest of the winter, it’s clear that the Dodgers are going to once again rely on Pedro Baez to pitch important innings in 2018.  While his stock is currently low, he will hopefully regain the confidence of Dodger coaches and fans because it wasn’t long ago that he and Jansen formed a stellar late-inning combo.  Pedro Baez will be a key member of the Dodger bullpen in 2018.