The Los Angeles Dodgers have added former Brewers All-Star closer Corey Knebel on non-tender day.
As always, the Dodgers appear to be one step ahead of the rest of Major League Baseball.
While MLB teams across the country, both thin of payroll and quite rotund, sliced former core players off their roster on Wednesday in service of the almighty dollar, the Dodgers used that sad display to continue to improve their roster.
At a low cost, too.
After word leaked that the Milwaukee Brewers were intent on releasing former All-Star closer Corey Knebel, the story quickly changed. Turns out, the Dodgers had jumped in ahead of the deadline to acquire Knebel for next to nothing.
Knebel had a rough 2020 (but hey, who didn’t?!) coming back from injury, posting a 6.08 ERA in 13.1 innings while still striking out 15. In his last near-full season (2018), he whiffed 88 in 55.1 innings pitched, coming off an ungodly 126 strikeouts in 76.0 innings the year prior in his All-Star campaign.
In other words, an elite, high-strikeout closer or setup man available for a fraction of the cost of, say, Blake Treinen, who might’ve played the same role in 2021 in LA if he hadn’t priced himself out of the gig in the postseason.
Are we sure Treinen will walk? No. Of course not. We’re not sure of anything in this economic climate. But the Dodgers acted quickly to secure Knebel, a bonafide back-end guy, for pennies on the dollar on Wednesday, with other options like Brad Hand, Liam Hendriks, or the recently non-tendered Archie Bradley still available.
Like running backs in the NFL, it generally makes more prudent financial sense to build a bullpen featuring rotating pieces on a budget.
If Treinen shows an urge to return at the Dodgers’ price, then that’s a different story. But you could do far worse than Knebel as an alternative, and the Brewers were more than willing to lose him.