Dodgers: A Pair of Contract Year Relievers Could Make or Break the Pen
The Dodgers’ bullpen played a big part of their successful run making it back to the World Series. Josh Fields and Tony Cingrani will look to stay healthy in their contract years.
The Dodgers finally signed a big-time free agent reliever during the Friedman era when they inked Joe Kelly to a three-year deal in December. While Kelly will play a big role in setting up Kenley Jansen, there are other key relievers who will stabilize that bridge during the middle innings. Two of those relievers are Josh Fields and Tony Cingrani.
Both Cingrani and Fields had injury-shortened seasons in 2018 and both are playing out their final years before free agency this coming season. Josh and Tony are very similar in that they both throw hard and played big roles in the Dodgers’ 2017 World Series run. Now both will try to re-establish their value in 2019 ahead of free agency.
Josh Fields was acquired from the 2017 World Series winners, the Houston Astros in a trade where the Dodgers sent now highly touted prospect Yordan Alvarez to Houston. Despite pitching just forty-one plus innings in 2018, Josh had a solid season posting a 0.95 WHIP and .196 opponent’s batting average. In 2017, Fields allowed batters to hit just .194 against him. When he is healthy, Fields is a good power arm for the middle innings.
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Like Fields, Tony Cingrani had an injury-shortened season in 2018 and completed just over twenty-two innings for the boys in blue. Despite his 4.76 ERA in 2018, Tony’s .221 average allowed and whopping 14.2 strikeouts per nine innings pitched tell the tale of just how lights out Tony can be when healthy. The failed starting pitcher was also an integral part of the Dodgers’ bullpen during their 2017 World Series run.
Due to Cingrani’s power stuff, he is capable of being more than just a situational left-handed reliever. Given the proposed rule amendment of making a reliever face at least three batters, Tony Cingrani could see increased value if that rule ever gets enforced. Right-handed batters hit just .235 against Cingrani in 2018 and .237 in 2017. Like fellow Dodger Scott Alexander, Tony Cingrani gives the Dodgers two southpaws who are more than LOOGY’s in a very underrated bullpen.
While both Fields and Cingrani came up as possible non-tender candidates, the Dodgers did the smart thing to bring both back in 2019 as they try to parlay a dominating season into a nice contract on the free agent market. If Tony and Josh are healthy and effective for the 2019 season, it would not be surprising to see the Dodgers have one of the most elite bullpens in all of baseball.