All-Decade Busts: Relief Pitchers (and Scott Kazmir)
Jim Johnson- Johnson came from the Atlanta Braves with Alex Wood all the way back in 2015. At six-foot-six, Johnson was not only one of the tallest relievers in the majors, he also was amongst the best. Across the 2012 and 2013 seasons, Johnson racked up over 100 saves, good enough to earn All-Star game recognition and to lead all of baseball in saves in both seasons. The imposing former closer pitched in 18 regular-season games for the Dodgers with a 10.13 ERA that was largely due to a 25% HR/FB rate.
Brian Wilson– A classic Dodgers bounceback candidate, Wilson had not pitched in over a year before LA picked him up, thanks to the second TJ surgery of his career. In his small stint with LA in 2013, Wilson was lights out, with a 0.66 ERA in 13.2 innings, but in 2014, it all came crashing down. After a dominant stretch the season before, 2014 saw Wilson walk rate double, which ballooned his ERA from 0.66 to 4.66, ultimately ending his MLB career.
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Sergio Romo- Another former Giants closer, Romo is one of the few players on this list who is still in the MLB. Romo pitched just 25 innings for the Dodgers this decade as a 2017 addition, and despite striking out more than 11 hitters per nine, his 6.12 ERA and 4.32 BB/9 marks meant he did not fit in with a team looking to win a World Series. Romo’s stint in LA was the worst in his career, especially in terms of ERA and BB/9, as he never had numbers anywhere close to these even after he left LA.
Brandon League– One of the worst signings of the decade, League’s performance varied wildly over the course of his time with LA. After coming over from the Seattle Mariners via trade in 2012, League finished up the season with a 2.30 ERA while with the Dodgers. League went on to pitch two more seasons with the Dodgers, with a dreadful 2013 and a solid bounceback in 2014. In 2013, League’s ERA soared above 5.00, largely due to the long ball. Despite allowing zero homers in 2012 and 2014, League allowed a HR/FB rate of over 19% in 2013, which helped knock him out of the closer’s role and (a few seasons later) out of the MLB.
Scott Kazmir- One of the worst starters of the decade for the Boys in Blue, Kazmir, like League, landed an expensive extension with LA that served to backfire in the faces of the front office. In 2016, Kazmir pitched far below expectations, following up his resurgent 2015 season with a 4.56 ERA in 26 starts with the Dodgers. After missing all of the 2017 season, the lefty was dealt to the Atlanta Braves during the 2017-18 offseason in a salary dump move for LA.
Honorable Mentions- Sergio Santos, Yimi Garcia, Paco Rodriguez, Javy Guerra
Ultimately, the Dodgers had more success during the 2010s decade than many fans give them credit for, but certainly, despite all of the acclaim, the Dodgers front office displayed time and time again that they were only human.