Corey Knebel Not Concerned By Lack Of Set Roles In Dodgers Bullpen

Even after finally breaking through and winning a World Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers are not remaining complacent this offseason as they have already begun to address the bullpen, in part by trading for former Milwaukee Brewers closer Corey Knebel.

Knebel was one of the best relievers in all of baseball in 2017 and 2018 before requiring Tommy John surgery, which put him on the shelf for all of 2019 and most of this past season.

The Brewers planned to non-tender Knebel instead of paying him in his final year of club control, so the Dodgers called and acquired him for a player to be named later, which was recently announced as Minor League pitcher Leo Crawford.

While Knebel has past experience as a closer, what his role will be with the Dodgers remains to be seen. Pitching for a similar-thinking organization in Milwaukee, Knebel explained he is not concerned with what his role will be with the Dodgers, via SportsNet L.A.:

“I will say, Counsell last year and years past when I was with the Brewers, we kind of had that same feel. There was maybe one or two guys that knew their role, and other than that it was, you better be ready because when that phone rings it could be you. No matter what inning it was. Watching Dave Roberts do that same thing over the years, it’s going to be the same way. He told me, ‘Just be ready to be you. That’s it. I just want to make sure you’re healthy and let you know you’re going to be pitching no matter when it is.’

“That’s how it needs to be. I guarantee every reliever will tell you they much rather throw five out of seven days than one out of seven days. For you to do that, you’ve got to be able to throw whenever, be ready whenever it is. I’ve had some experience with that and I’m ready to throw whenever it is.”

The Dodgers also recently brought back a familiar face in Brandon Morrow, who similarly coming back from injury. If both he and Knebel can back to their 2017 levels, they each could be valuable high-leverage arms for L.A. in 2021 as they look to repeat as champions.

Teams were ‘salivating’ to get hands on Knebel

Knebel is the exact type of low-risk, high-upside player that the Dodgers usually look to go for, so it didn’t come as much of a surprise when they made the trade to acquire him.

It was recently reported that other teams were looking to do the same if he was non-tendered and reached free agency, so it appears that the Dodgers are not the only ones that believe he can get back to his pre-injury form.

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