Dodgers make multiple roster moves that will greatly influence 2024 bullpen

2024 Seoul Series - San Diego Padres v Los Angeles Dodgers
2024 Seoul Series - San Diego Padres v Los Angeles Dodgers / Masterpress/GettyImages

The Dodgers play their first game at Dodger Stadium in just a few short days, which means they're having to make a few tough decisions about the roster. Although their season technically opened in Seoul and they did finalize a 26-man roster for those games, they have been at liberty to make a few more changes ahead of their stateside season debut.

The shape of the Dodgers' 26-man has become pretty clear throughout the offseason, especially offensively. The starting lineup was all but finalized after the team signed Teoscar Hernández, and the rotation seemed set after they signed James Paxton. That only left questions to be answered about the bullpen and, to a lesser extent, the bench. Of course, there were a few wrinkles — Emmet Sheehan was supposed to the Dodgers' fifth starter but got hurt and was replaced by Gavin Stone — but the bullpen was always going to be the primary area of interest come LA's first game against the Cardinals on March 28.

With only a few days to go and final decisions being made, it looks like the Dodgers bullpen is now set. On Friday, they optioned Landon Knack, Gus Varland, and JP Feyereisen to the minors. This left Evan Phillips, Ryan Brasier, Joe Kelly, Alex Vesia, and Ryan Yarbrough, all of whom were just about shoo-ins from the beginning, as well as wild cards Daniel Hudson, Michael Grove, and Kyle Hurt.

Dodgers finalize bullpen, option JP Feyereisen and Landon Knack to the minors

Dave Roberts has said that we should expect Knack, the Dodgers' No. 14 prospect this season, to earn his major league debut this season, but his four innings and 4.50 ERA in spring training indicated that the team should give him a little more time before he steps up to the majors. Varland's spot always seemed to be in jeopardy; he only pitched 11 2/3 innings for the Dodgers last year for a 3.09 ERA and pitched 5 2/3 innings for a 6.35 ERA in spring training.

Feyereisen is the surprise here. The Dodgers took a chance on him after he pitched 24 1/3 literally flawless innings for the Rays in 2022 but was DFA'ed after undergoing a rotator cuff surgery. He sat for the entirety of 2023 and made his Dodgers debut in Seoul, where he pitched one inning and gave up three hits that turned into three runs.

Hudson, Grove, and Hurt's spots will still be the most precarious going into the early months of the season, but they can all rest a little easier knowing that their Home Opener spots are guaranteed. Knack, Varland, and Feyereisen absolutely have chances to work their ways back up, but for now they'll have to do their best in Oklahoma City.