3 tiny additions the Dodgers front office has gotten big results from in 2024

Los Angeles Dodgers v San Francisco Giants
Los Angeles Dodgers v San Francisco Giants / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages

The Dodgers were the undisputed champions of the offseason, coming out on top in the race for Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto, trading for and then extending Tyler Glasnow, and adding Teoscar Hernández and James Paxton on top of a slew of re-signings for the bullpen and bench. All told, it was a $1 billion+ undertaking, but it seems to be paying off for them.

But they also made a number of minor league signings and trades that probably would've been forgotten, even without all of the blockbuster signings. Some of them haven't worked out very well for the Dodgers, but others have actually been able to make an impact at the major league level.

3 tiny signings and trades the Dodgers front office has gotten big results from in 2024

Daniel Hudson

Hudson, the oldest player on LA's 26-man roster, is on year three of his second stint with the Dodgers. Back in 2018, he pitched 46 innings for a 4.11 ERA after the initial minor league contract he signed was selected by the big league club. He left in free agency at the end of that season and hopped around the league until re-signing with the Dodgers on a one-year deal for the 2022 season. He was looking pretty good that year until June, when he tore his ACL, but the Dodgers exercised their option to keep him for 2023.

He only managed to pitch three scorless innings that year over three games at the end of June into the beginning of July, late to the season with his recovery and taken down again with an MCL strain. He became a free agent again and chose to return to the Dodgers on a minor league deal with an invite to spring training. He looked shaky in camp but still made the Opening Day roster (probably thanks to some poorly timed bullpen injuries), and he's been part of a core three relievers who haven't been injured sometime during the season or optioned/DFA'ed, alongside Alex Vesia and Ryan Yarbrough.

And it's worked out pretty well for him. He's pitched 17 innings over just as many games with two saves and a 3.18 ERA, on top of being one of the only stable pieces of the bullpen so far. Home runs have been a bit of problem for him this season (he's allowed four, more than any other Dodgers reliever), but his ERA is just a few points above the team's ever-improving bullpen ERA.

Elieser Hernández

Hernández was another minor league signing for the Dodgers back in January. He was initially signed by the Astros as an international free agent in 2012, but he only ever saw major league time with the Marlins from 2018-2022. After a year in the Mets organization, he elected free agency and signed with the Dodgers with an invitation to spring training, where he got crushed by opposing batters in just under four innings and was unsurprisingly sent to the minors to begin the season.

In Triple-A, he pitched 28 2/3 innings for a 2.83 ERA (six outings, five starts), which was enough to catch the eye of the reliever-starved major league club. He was tapped to get the start in Wednesday night's game against the Giants, where he held things down well enough. He went pretty deep into the game for a swingman pulled up from the minors — six innings, three earned runs. The Dodgers' offense wasn't able to get things going behind him, and the Giants avoided being swept, 4-1.

There's really no telling what the Dodgers' strategy is in terms of bringing up relievers for short periods of time just to cycle them out, but Dave Roberts said after the game that their intention is to use Hernández as a long reliever for a while. For a guy who carried a 17.00+ ERA in spring training on a minor league deal, his outing on Wednesday night is already sort of a success story in itself.

Nick Ramirez

Ramirez was one of the victims of that Dodgers reliever cycle in late April, when he was replaced by Nabil Crismatt (who has since been DFA'ed for the second time this season). He was another minor league addition, DFA'ed by the Yankees early in the year, then traded to the Dodgers for cash. He pitched 6 2/3 innings for a 1.35 ERA in Triple-A before being called up to replace Kyle Hurt, who went on the IL with shoulder inflammation.

His seven innings in the majors were almost perfect; he didn't give up any runs through four appearances and only gave up one on April 26 (in a game against the Blue Jays the Dodgers still won 12-2) before getting sent back down. It was another weird choice for the club, but weird choices have abounded when it comes to bullpen.

Back down in Triple-A, he was on a 5 2/3 inning run-less streak through May 14 with nine strikeouts, making him he seem due for another trip through the cycle. Sure enough, the Dodgers announced on Thursday afternoon that they were recalling Ramirez from Triple-A and sending Eduardo Salazar down. He was tasked with closing the Dodgers' first game against the Reds that night and gave up three runs in 2 1/3 innings, but he might be in the majors to stay until Evan Phillips and/or Ryan Brasier can return.