Dodgers bullpen could be on mend with two key updates

Jason Reed
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 21: Blake Treinen #49 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts to the third out during the sixth inning of Game Five of the National League Championship Series against the Atlanta Braves at Dodger Stadium on October 21, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 21: Blake Treinen #49 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts to the third out during the sixth inning of Game Five of the National League Championship Series against the Atlanta Braves at Dodger Stadium on October 21, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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The Los Angeles Dodgers bullpen has been good for the most part this season, but it does have some holes that need to be patched up. Los Angeles currently ranks sixth in baseball in bullpen ERA and second in the National League. If the team can address a few key weaknesses, then there’s potential for this to be an elite unit.

With the MLB trade deadline looming, there’s the potential for the Dodgers to trade for a wipeout reliever that can get outs in high-leverage spots in the postseason. However, the team’s not-so-great history in trading for relievers (Yordan Alvarez for Josh Fields, Oneil Cruz for Tony Watson) may prompt Andrew Friedman to look at internal options.

Better to do that instead of overpay and then realize you did so in a big way five years later, right?

Luckily for the team, it appears that reinforcements might be on the way. LA’s best reliever, Blake Treinen, threw off the mound for the first time on Monday and Dave Roberts could not hold in his excitement about how he looked.

Treinen’s been out since mid-April with a shoulder injury and most of the updates concerning his condition have been ominous. This is the most encouraging by far, and it could make his contract extension all the more worthwhile for LA.

Treinen is not the only familiar face that could be returning to Chavez Ravine in the coming weeks, though. An even older friend might be on his way back to the team and it’s someone that Dodger fans have not seen in person for three years: Pedro Baez.

Baez was designated for assignment by the Houston Astros in April and quickly reunited with the Dodgers on a minor-league deal. The 34-year-old right-hander finally made his 2022 debut, tossing a 1-2-3 inning in the Arizona Complex League on Tuesday.

The Dodgers bullpen could benefit from Blake Treinen and Pedro Baez

Treinen is obviously a lock to re-join the bullpen once he’s healthy, and he should be taking over the high-leverage spots that have been given to Brusdar Graterol. As Treinen gets back into the flow of things, it wouldn’t be totally surprising if he takes over the closer role from Craig Kimbrel, either.

Kimbrel has not been good in the slightest this season, and when the playoffs roll around the Dodgers can’t afford to throw this version of him out there in the ninth inning. Treinen is far from perfect, but he’s a much better option in the ninth inning at his best than Kimbrel has been in 2022.

Baez is not a lock to re-join the Dodgers this season, but it’s unlikely he spends much time in the minor leagues. With Baez, it seems to be a case of him either having it or not. He’s coming back from shoulder issues, and if he has it, he will make the quick trip back up to the big league club. If not, he’ll be let go since this was a low-risk move.

Regardless, there are arms in that bullpen to replace, especially someone like Phil Bickford.

Add in Caleb Ferguson, who did not even think he was injured in the first place, and the Dodgers could be getting some serious internal reinforcements soon.

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