What if … the Los Angeles Dodgers made better bullpen decisions that could’ve led them to Not Craig Kimbrel? Would’ve been pretty cool, right?! Instead, despite cheering for the best team in baseball, Dodgers fans are tasked with managing their blood pressure with Kimbrel handling ninth-inning duties (with an already thin bullpen around him).
There are plenty of great contributors at the moment, from Evan Phillips to David Price to Alex Vesia. But it hasn’t been easy without Blake Treinen for most of the year and Brusdar Graterol for the last five weeks.
Though Kenley Jansen was the source of frustration for many Dodgers fans, most of you miss him a whole lot right about now, huh? Take that continuity from the back end, coupled with a bunch of bullpen signings that didn’t really make sense, and there seems to be a paramount problem brewing for October.
Looking back, the Dodgers making these three moves with the intent of “helping” the bullpen appear to be totally wasteful. The troubling aspect of it is not that the signings didn’t “pan out” — it’s that the warning signs were alive and well to suggest exactly that.
What was the front office thinking? Fans rightfully questioned these moves at the time, and now it’s safe to say that’s been validated. Had a couple of better decisions been made, the Dodgers might not be in the precarious situation they are right now with the postseason fast approaching.
3 recent wasteful Dodgers signings that fans were right to question
3. Jimmy Nelson
Last August, Jimmy Nelson was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery in addition to a procedure to repair his flexor tendon. Pretty brutal stuff, especially for a 33-year-old.
But that didn’t stop the Dodgers from giving the right-hander a new contract in March. He was signed to a one-year, $700K deal with a $1.1 million club option for 2023 (which also contains performance bonuses).
This isn’t anything to overly criticize since a) the Dodgers were doing a nice thing to employ an injured player and b) the front office was trying to reap the benefits of Nelson’s potential value when he was ready for action in 2023, but … was this necessary?
Nelson’s surgery at the time all but officially knocked him out for 2022, meaning the Dodgers paid $700K for nothing. Now, they have to make a decision in the offseason whether or not to pick up his $1.1 million option, which, again, isn’t costly, but you’re either faced with wondering if he can actually contribute due to the severity of his injuries or paying him to spend a season getting back on track after having not thrown a pitch since July 30, 2021.
We’ve seen so many players take a year off from Tommy John and then another year getting up to speed. Did the Dodgers really just pay almost $2 million for nothing? Weird, that’s all.