Dodgers: Is the bullpen the only true area of need?
Andrew Friedman labeled the Dodgers’ bullpen as the only true area of need. His statement carries some weight for this off-season.
Dodgers’ President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman spoke to the media on Monday at the Winter Meetings and identified the bullpen as the club’s only area of need. While that kind of statement is sure to make some Dodger fans mad who are hoping for Gerrit Cole or Anthony Rendon, the comment does carry some truth.
As currently constructed, the Dodger lineup is full of left-handed sluggers like Joc Pederson, Max Muncy, and Cody Bellinger. Then from the right side of the plate, there is A.J. Pollock, Justin Turner, and Will Smith among others. The biggest question for the offense is how Seager and Pollock will rebound from subpar seasons in 2019.
While a player such as Anthony Rendon would take the Dodger offense to another level, the offense as is will be more than good enough to win 95+ games in 2020 and also give the Dodgers another shot at the World Series. The same can be said for the Dodgers’ rotation which has plenty of talented young starters ready to give the rotation a lift next year.
If the season started today, the Dodgers would roll out a rotation that would feature Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, Dustin May, Kenta Maeda, and Ross Stripling or Tony Gonsolin. While the rotation could certainly use another veteran to eat up innings, from a talent standpoint, the rotation is more than good enough.
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Then there is the bullpen that has more holes than swiss cheese. Kenley Jansen is no longer the dominant closer that he once was and his velocity sits around the low 90s. When his location is off he can no longer get by on throwing his cutter past opposing batters. After Jansen, there is the consistently inconsistent Joe Kelly.
Joe Kelly had a horrific start to his Dodger tenure but then he put together several strong months to end the 2019 season. Unfortunately for the Dodgers, Joe Kelly as on the mound to give up Howie Kendrick’s grand slam in the NLDS that put the final nail in the Dodgers’ season. The Dodgers’ most consistent reliever is the one that fans once booed on sight, Pedro Baez.
While the Dodgers could go without adding a star hitter or starting pitcher, it would still be a good idea to improve a team that fell way short of expectations in the 2019 postseason. Regardless of who the Dodgers add to their lineup or rotation, they need to add one if not several quality relievers to their bullpen.
Andrew Friedman is right, the Dodger bullpen is the biggest area of need this off-season. The blue could go out and add Gerrit Cole or Anthony Rendon, but if they don’t patch up the bullpen then the 2020 season could end in a similar fashion to the 2019 season.