Dodgers: Possible “Damaged Goods” to Help the Bullpen

BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 10: Starting pitcher Chris Tillman #30 of the Baltimore Orioles reacts after giving up a grand slam to the Kansas City Royals in the first inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on May 10, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 10: Starting pitcher Chris Tillman #30 of the Baltimore Orioles reacts after giving up a grand slam to the Kansas City Royals in the first inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on May 10, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

The Dodgers have been on a tremendous run this season. This is despite a wildly inconsistent bullpen. The bullpen’s inconsistent performance will be a problem come October.

Andrew Friedman will likely look to make improvements but he may not be able to find an elite reliever.  We all know he loves looking for bargains and here are a few names to look out for that the Dodgers could target.

Once again, Friedman will look for “damaged goods” to improve the bullpen. This has been the way Friedman went about his business in Tampa Bay and now with deep pockets, his demeanor has hardly changed.

In 2016 Friedman went “dumpster diving” and found Joe Blanton. He served as the bridge to Kenley in the playoffs and was one of the most consistent relievers in the bullpen.

In 2017 Friedman used that same exact logic and once again he struck gold. This time in the form of Brandon Morrow. He was far and away from the most consistent reliever on the squad not named Kenley Jansen. After a dominant 2017, Morrow earned himself a large chunk of changed via the Chicago Cubs.

Friedman tried the same tactic in 2018, but as we found out sometimes these moves do not pan out. Tom Koehler was brought in to fill that Morrow/Blanton role after their departures, but he didn’t even get to pitch in the regular season after going down with a significant shoulder injury.

Entering the 2019 season, Friedman finally broke that mold and showed off his deep pockets. He spent significant money to sign Joe Kelly. As of today, this does not look like the best of deals but there is still time for Kelly to prove me wrong.

With an inconsistent bullpen, Dodger fans know that this performance will not get it done in October. After two consecutive seasons of heartbreak, fans and players alike are as desperate as ever to win the World Series. In order to achieve that goal, the bullpen needs to be fixed. That can come via a big trade or improved performance out of the current members of the bullpen.

But if we all know Friedman, he will likely go his normal route of finding gold in the “dumpster”.

Mike Dunn

The Dodgers bullpen as a whole has struggled. However, the biggest problem has arguably been their lack of a reliable left-handed reliever. Scott Alexander was wildly disappointing. The supposed “lefty-specialist” was absolutely awful.

Caleb Ferguson was originally pitching very poorly. In fact, so poorly that he was sent down to the minors. He was very successful down in the minors. Ferguson has also looked much better in his recent outings for Los Angeles. Julio Urias has been very reliable as a reliever. However, Roberts has rarely used him in high-leverage situations. Instead, he has opted to use him for multiple innings in games that aren’t very close.

Tony Cingrani was supposed to be the “savior”. Unfortunately, he has undergone season-ending surgery before he even pitched in the bigs this season. Mike Dunn is a possible option to solve this issue. He was recently DFA’d by the Colorado Rockies. His 3 years in Colorado were woeful at best.

With the exception of his 2018 campaign, which was just terrible, Dunn has actually not been bad at all. The issues came for him when he pitched in Colorado. As Dodger fans, we all know how tough it is for pitchers. This season in Coors Field, Dunn had a .394 BAA. When he pitched away from Coors that plummeted to .125 BAA in 3 more innings. His splits away from Coors are very good.

Dunn could be a solid risk. He was only DFA’d because he was unable to get the job done in Coors field. Take him away from Coors and you have a very solid reliever. This could help solidify the issue the Dodgers have with LHP in the bullpen

Chris Tillman

This feels more like a Friedman move than Dunn does. Joe Blanton, Brandon Morrow, and Tom Koehler were all primarily starters before signing with the Dodgers to become a relief pitcher.

Tillman was terrible as a starter in 2018. A change in scenery and move to the bullpen could be enough to turn Tillman into a reliable reliever. Obviously, not every single failed starter will thrive in the bullpen. However, Tillman does have a nice 3 pitch combination that would best be suited for a relief role.

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He throws a fastball, curveball, and changeup. His velocity has consistently taken a hit, but if he is only throwing one inning that will likely spike the velocity. Meaning he could be sitting 93-94 on a fastball with 2-seam action a complementary changeup and a nasty curveball. He has the makings of a Dodger relief project.

Tillman is only 31 and is a So-Cal native. He would absolutely be willing to take a minor league deal and eventually have the opportunity to be an impact player on a contending team.

Those are the two main names that come to mind. There are of course other options.

AJ Ramos

Ramos is coming off surgery to repair a torn labrum. I’m not sure he would even be able to get back into form by October. So stash this name away and store it for 2020.

Luke Gregerson

Gregerson was awful in St. Louis. At least, Allen had some bright spots. Gregerson was just flat out bad and did not look like he deserved a shot in Los Angeles. He is also 5 years older than Allen. Once again I could be wrong about him just being done, but it sure does look that way for the veteran.

Next. Dodgers may have trouble landing an elite reliever. dark

Bartolo Colon

No reason he’s here other than I just want him on the Dodgers so bad. PLEASE! IM BEGGING YOU FRIEDMAN! BRING ME BARTOLO!