The one area that may not feel the brunt of the Dodgers’ September depth moves is in the bullpen. To remedy this, the Dodgers should claim Jeremy Jeffress.
Adding Jeffress could help correct the lack of bullpen depth, or at least quality bullpen depth meant to throw innings late in games. While he is currently nursing a strained hip, he should be able to pitch some innings this September.
One major caveat is that he’ll be ineligible to pitch for any team this postseason.
But even so, if the Dodgers claim Jeffress, they would have him for the rest of this season and next season as he has an option worth just over four million dollars. He could provide tons of value next season for a team with tons of questions in the bullpen, especially at closer.
To be clear, Jeffress wouldn’t pitch many innings as a Dodger, he would just take on some late innings of garbage time, or even some early innings when needed. He’d be used to save the arms of Kenta Maeda, Ross Stripling, Caleb Ferguson, Pedro Baez, Joe Kelly, and especially Kenley Jansen over the next month.
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The ultimate goal would be for Jeffress, soon to be 32 years old, to become familiar with his new teammates over the next month before rehabbing and strengthening his arm so that he could compete to be the set-up man alongside Kelly for 2020. This 2019 stretch of a few weeks, probably with 10-15 innings pitched maximum, would act as a clubhouse audition more than anything.
If healthy and effective, Jeffress could even help the team win some games, or stay in some games, in the interim. He had a career year in 2018, becoming one of the three members of the Milwaukee Brewers’ three-headed bullpen monster with Josh Hader and Cory Knebl that pushed the Dodgers to Game 7 in the NLCS last season.
Last season, he went 8–1 with 15 saves and a 1.29 ERA. His electric fastball netted him 89 punchouts in 76.2 innings.
But most importantly, he is an option for 2020 at the lowest possible cost with some of the best upside available in the game today, making him the perfect Friedman buy-low candidate.