2. Archie Bradley: Two Years, $12 Million
Even if the Dodgers promote from within, make Blake Treinen the closer and welcome Tommy Kahnle back to the fold, they could still use a bullpen arm or two to flesh things out.
They also shouldn’t overpay significantly for a reliever, the most fungible possible baseball token. There’s no telling what a reliever will look like year-to-year, especially as he ages. Therefore, the Dodgers should stay out of the deep end of the pool … but they still shouldn’t sit tight and hope Justin Bruihl, Alex Vesia and Phil Bickford, among others, will all repeat their career years now that the league has some version of “the book” on them.
Why, exactly, did Archie Bradley command only a one-year, $6 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies last offseason? He was still just 28 years old, and though his first half in 2020 in Arizona was erratic (read: first 10.2 innings pitched in a BS year), his finish with the Reds was impressive and it earned him a 51-inning season in Philly with a 3.71 ERA (11 saves).
In essence, Bradley’s a seventh-inning guy at the moment locked into a bullpen with plenty of potential seventh-inning guys if he joins the Dodgers. However, at this price, we’re not talking about a head-scratching commitment, nor are we suggesting the Dodgers go hog wild for a reliever whose better days are in his past. Bradley’s highest possible upside might not eclipse the best-case scenario for Bickford, but his pedigree dictates he’ll earn his contract value at a rate like this.
And, at a certain point, the Dodgers have to stop assembling a bullpen full of Comeback Player of the Year candidates. Just add one sure thing, that’s all.