The Los Angeles Dodgers rolled the dice last winter by acquiring former All-Star closer Corey Knebel, who was coming off an injury-plagued 2020 season with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Knebel was excited to join the defending World Series champions and expressed confidence the club would help him return to his pre-injury form. He pitched well in Spring Training and began the regular season by throwing 5.1 consecutive scoreless innings.
Knebel’s success came to a halt in an April 23 outing against the San Diego Padres when he sustained a right lat strain. He was placed on the 10-day injured list and later transferred to the 60-day IL at the start of May.
Knebel was sidelined for more than three months before starting a rehab assignment with Triple-A Oklahoma City in late July. The 30-year-old rejoined the Dodgers on August 10 and was effective in multiple roles, pitching in high leverage situations and even occasionally serving as an opener.
In 27 games (four starts) during the regular season, Knebel went 4-0 with a 2.45 ERA, 2.90 FIP and 0.97 WHIP with three saves, and collected 30 strikeouts against nine walks across 25.2 innings pitched.
The right-hander went on to make seven additional appearances in the postseason, including two starts. He posted a 3.17 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in 5.2 innings of work.
Knebel’s 2021 highlight
From August 28 through September 30, Knebel tossed scoreless outings in 10 of his 11 appearances. He posted a 0.71 ERA and 0.79 WHIP with 14 strikeouts against three walks in 12.2 innings during the span.
While the Dodgers had interest in re-signing Knebel, he joined the Philadelphia Phillies on a one-year, $10 million contract before the start of the MLB lockout.
Knebel will be given an opportunity to earn the Phillies’ closer job in Spring Training.
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