Although much of the 2017 roster construction is complete after the re-signing of Rich Hill, and reported agreements struck with Kenley Jansen and Justin Turner, the Los Angeles Dodgers still have some work to do prior to the start of Spring Training.
In addition to finding a solution at second base, the club needs to add another reliever or two — specifically a set-up man to tame the eighth inning.
Many options remain on the market, though the Dodgers reportedly won’t exceed one-year offers to relievers after dishing out a five-year contract to Jansen.
That being said, below are some free agents that the Dodgers could soon look to add to their bullpen.
Joe Blanton: After a forgettable first stint with the Dodgers in 2012, Blanton returned to Los Angeles in 2016 and thrived in his newfound set-up role.
In 80 innings pitched this year, Blanton posted a 2.48 ERA and 3.33 FIP and averaged nine strikeouts per nine innings. He issued less than three walks per nine innings but struggled with the home run ball, allowing 0.8 homers per nine. All in all, Blanton was worth nearly a full win for the season.
While he was dependable for much of the year, it appears unlikely that the Dodgers will re-sign Blanton, given that he just turned 36 years old and is historically a fly-ball pitcher. Ideally, the club would add a groundball specialist to complement Jansen.
Trevor Cahill: The starting pitcher-turned reliever revitalized his career since joining the Chicago Cubs in 2015 after opting out of a Minor-League deal with the Dodgers.
Over the past two seasons, Cahill posted a combined 2.61 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in 82.2 innings. He struck out a terrific 9.6 batters per nine innings but struggled with command (4.4 BB/9) and yielded nine home runs during that span.
On a more positive note, Cahill recorded high ground-ball rates of 62.1 percent and 56.6 percent in 2015 and 2016, respectively, which fits what the Dodgers are looking for.
Santiago Casilla: Having spent the past seven seasons with the San Francisco Giants, Casilla remains on the market after a somewhat disappointing year.
In 58 innings, he pitched to a 3.57 ERA and 3.94 FIP while impressively striking out more than 10 batters and walking roughly three batters per nine innings.
Unfortunately for Casilla, he allowed more than one home run per nine innings and saw over 15 percent of his fly balls sail over the fence. He eventually was supplanted from the closer role and became the poster boy for the Giants’ bullpen woes.
Casilla will turn 37 in July and certainly won’t require a multi-year deal in free agency. Teams looking for relief depth can do much worse than taking a flier on a pitcher that’s saved 69 games over the past two seasons.
Neftali Feliz: Feliz had his ups-and-downs with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2016. On one hand, his 3.52 ERA and 3.72 xFIP were more than serviceable for a reliever, but his FIP of 4.53 and -0.1 fWAR were unsettling, to say the very least.
Much of Feliz’s struggles link back to his 1.7 HR/9 and 19.2 home run/fly ball percentage in 53.2 innings pitched. On the flip side, Feliz showed promise in two other ratios: he struck out 10.2 batters and walked 3.5 per nine.