During the early stages of the offseason Los Angeles Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman identified the bullpen and adding a right-handed bat to the lineup as areas of focus.
To this point they have largely focused on the group of relief pitchers, signing Tommy Kahnle, trading for Corey Knebel, bringing back Jimmy Nelson and Blake Treinen, and reuniting with Brandon Morrow and Brock Stewart.
All the while the Dodgers have been linked to the likes of Brad Hand, Liam Hendriks and Kirby Yates as well. Hendriks went on to sign a four-year contract with the Chicago White Sox, which seemingly unlocked the market for relief pitchers.
According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, Hand may end up signing with the New York Mets, but the Dodgers, Houston Astros and other teams are still in the picture:
Mets continue to talk to star close Brad Hand and while they appear to have a decent chance, sources are saying they aren’t close to a deal yet. Astros, Jays, Dodgers among others interested.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 15, 2021
The Astros already addressed their bullpen with the signing of Pedro Baez. Houston additionally was said to have held interest in Hendriks and Treinen as well.
Hand reached free agency after the Cleveland Indians declined their $10 million option for the 2021 season and he went unclaimed at that salary after being placed on waivers.
The left-hander once was viewed as a top relief pitcher, but endured a bit of a rough 2019 season. Hand bounced back last year to lead the Majors with 16 saves, while also pitching to a 2.05 ERA and 22-to-4 strikeout to walk ratio.
The Dodgers previously were linked to hand at the 2019 trade deadline and when he was still a member of the San Diego Padres in 2017.
Dodgers bullpen outlook
While the Dodgers re-signed Nelson and Treinen, and have Morrow as an option on a Minor League deal, their bullpen could stand to benefit from adding a southpaw.
Caleb Ferguson is expected to miss the entire season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, and the Dodgers have said they view Victor Gonzalez as a starter. Furthermore, swingman Alex Wood has signed with the San Francisco Giants.
At present time the Dodgers are poised to begin Spring Training with Scott Alexander, Adam Kolarek and Garrett Cleavinger as true left-handed relief pitchers.
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