Dodgers: 3 bullpen roster swaps LAD should already consider

Adam Weinrib
SURPRISE, ARIZONA - MARCH 07: Pitcher Garrett Cleavinger #61 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws against the Texas Rangers during the sixth inning of the MLB spring training baseball game at Surprise Stadium on March 07, 2021 in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
SURPRISE, ARIZONA - MARCH 07: Pitcher Garrett Cleavinger #61 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws against the Texas Rangers during the sixth inning of the MLB spring training baseball game at Surprise Stadium on March 07, 2021 in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images) /
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Stop us if you’ve heard this one, but the Los Angeles Dodgers have a laundry list of problems with what was supposed to be a perfect roster.

Their World Series odds haven’t changed much, sure, but if this same leaky bullpen shows up in October, significant problems will present themselves. Prognostications that remain bullish on the Dodgers are certainly based on the idea that something — nay, many things! — will change.

But … well … how long are we supposed to wait to shake things up?

Due to the injury bug, the Dodgers have dipped into the minor-league well in an effort to nearly exhaust their Triple-A depth, and none of the moves have really worked, at this point.

Luckily (?), there are a few more upper-level arms on the 40-man roster, as well as one intriguing Triple-A arm who could be added to the roster mix. As far as we can tell, Dustin May remains on the 10-Day IL, meaning the team is likely waiting to transfer him to the 60-Day version until they have a corresponding 40-man addition to make.

The Dodgers seem to be gaming the system … but for who?

We hate to say it, but there are three (at least three!) relievers currently on the active roster who we’ve already seen enough of. We can’t guarantee these corresponding pieces will get the job done any better at this juncture, but we’d at least like to see them try! We’d be willing to sacrifice left-handedness for effectiveness, please and thank you.

These 3 Dodgers relief swaps would help the bullpen.

Dodgers
Los Angeles Dodgers (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) /

3. Andre Jackson for Mitch White

We’ve covered Mitch White’s ineptitude in depth, but we haven’t posited an electric solution yet: how ’bout an Andre Jackson-for-White swap?

Basically, we’re in favor of whatever maneuver gets White out of the highest leverage possible innings (seriously, why?), and we’re also intrigued by Jackson’s power arsenal, even though he’s currently on the 40-man roster but stuck all the way down at Double-A Tulsa.

Jackson, a 25-year-old who made a significant cameo in Cactus League action this spring, ranks No. 29 on MLB Pipeline’s Top 30 Dodgers Prospects list, and profiles as a future starter in the big leagues … except, perhaps, in 2021, when his innings were already set to be more limited than ever before following the shortened 2020 campaign.

In one start this year, Jackson’s gone four innings, allowing a pair of solo homers while striking out three. While he may not be an ideal candidate for high-leverage innings at the MLB level (granted, none of our proposed solutions would be the perfect choice to get the final outs of an extra-innings thriller), Jackson at least brings to the table two things White doesn’t possess: a strong minor-league track record and the ability to secure strikeouts.

Pitching to contact can sometimes be a death sentence, especially with one final out to nail down. In a full season at Double-A Tulsa in 2018, White struck out only 88 men in 105.1 innings pitched. In 2019, it was 105 K in 93.2. Jackson? An astounding 141 whiffs in 114.1 innings in his most recent full season. White’s most recent full-season ERAs were 4.53 and 5.09, whereas Jackson posted a sterling 3.06 mark in his breakout 2019.

The Dodgers should be the last team on earth concerned with starting someone’s service clock, and they could use a major shakeup. Jackson’s persona and flashy stuff could be just what this slumbering unit needs.

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