Dodgers letting Corey Knebel leave for Phillies seems like serious oversight
The Los Angeles Dodgers lost another free agent on Wednesday and the move weakened their bullpen as a result. While Kenley Jansen’s been the main focus there, perhaps we didn’t pay enough attention to right-hander Corey Knebel.
Didn’t he seem like the perfect fit for the Dodgers? He was deployed all over the place for LA in 2021, even starting a couple of playoff games. He recorded three saves during the regular season and saw the bulk of his work during innings 6-8.
Manager Dave Roberts always love having a guy like that at his disposal, but Andrew Friedman will have to find him another. Knebel signed a one-year contract with the Philadelphia Phillies and reunited with Dave Dombrowski — the GM who drafted him years ago.
Chalk it up as another area of need for the Dodgers this offseason. Knebel joins Max Schezer and Corey Seager as those who departed the franchise.
Why did the Dodgers let Corey Knebel go to the Phillies?
It doesn’t appear as if Knebel will immediately be named the closer in Philadelphia … so why didn’t the Dodgers match or exceed this one-year contract? Seems like a minor expenditure especially after a ton of money was freed up when Scherzer and Seager signed their mammoth contracts elsewhere. Maintaining familiarity and stability in the bullpen cannot be overstated.
Joe Kelly likely isn’t returning. Jansen’s return is up in the air. Jimmy Nelson probably won’t come back. The addition of Daniel Hudson helps, but he’s largely been bad these past two seasons (6.10 ERA in 2020 and 5.21 ERA in 23 second-half games with the Padres). He’ll be more of a mixed bag than anything.
It’s not exactly simple to replace a 2.45 ERA and 0.97 WHIP. That was Knebel’s first healthy-ish campaign since 2018, too. So that’s only a good sign for 2022.
The right-hander only possesses a two-pitch arsenal, but he pumped an average of 96.4 MPH on his fastball and 79.9 MPH on his curveball. That’s a favorable mix due to the discrepancy in velocity, and it clearly paid dividends in 2021.
MLB Network reported Knebel will earn $10 million on his one-year contract, which is just $3 million more than what the Dodgers paid Hudson. For now, we’ll trust Friedman’s judgement, but it’s not out of the question to raise an eyebrow here given Knebel’s contributions in his lone year with LA.