Throughout the course of the 2019 season it was clear that the biggest weakness on the Los Angeles Dodgers roster was their bullpen.
They won a franchise-record 106 games and cruised to a seventh straight National League West title but were defeated by the Washington Nationals in five games in the NL Division Series despite carrying a two-run lead into the eighth inning of the decisive Game 5.
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman tried to address the bullpen last winter by signing Joe Kelly, but he and Kenley Jansen were both inconsistent for most of the year.
Because of that, Friedman went into this winter knowing that the Dodgers needs more relief help, even though he confirmed Jansen is expected to remain the closer, via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
The only position Friedman confirmed is an area of “omnipresent” need is the bullpen. He said he views Kenley Jansen as the closer, but is looking to acquire another late-inning arm to join Joe Kelly and Pedro Báez.
If the Dodgers are looking to the free-agent market for relief pitchers with upside, the two most obvious names are Blake Treinen and Dellin Betances. The Dodgers have already been linked to Treinen, who was non-tendered by the Oakland Athletics after a down year in 2019.
Treinen was perhaps the best reliever in baseball in 2018, posting a 0.78 ERA in 80.1 innings. He dealt with some injuries this year that limited him to 58.2 innings, and he wasn’t quite as effective, yielding a 4.91 ERA.
Treinen could be a solid bounce-back candidate in 2020 though, as can Betances, who is coming off a partially torn Achilles.
Perhaps the biggest bullpen addition for the Dodgers could come within the organization if Jansen and/or Kelly get back to being the dominant forces they have shown they can be.
Jansen is coming off his worst Major League season, posting a 3.71 ERA, 3.48 FIP and 1.06 WHIP with 80 strikeouts and 16 walks in 63 innings, converting 33 of 41 save opportunities.
Friedman has been hesitant to spend big on bullpen help since coming over to the Dodgers, so it will be interesting to see if that mindset changes this winter after another disappointing defeat in the postseason to end a historic 2019 season.
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