Dodgers Considering Shifting Kenta Maeda To Bullpen In Kenley Jansen’s Absence
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers suffered a major blow with the news that closer Kenley Jansen is possibly due to miss the next month of play while receiving treatment for an irregular heartbeat.


He was officially placed on the 10-day disabled list on Friday, with the Dodgers recalling switch-pitcher Pat Venditte from Triple-A Oklahoma City to help fill his void for the time being.

Venditte rejoining the club figures to be one of several domino effects that shape up the bullpen for the stretch run. The most obvious being that the Dodgers will now deploy a closer by committee until Jansen returns, rather than one set reliever manning the ninth inning.

Along with Venditte, additional bullpen reinforcements could soon be on the way for Los Angeles. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts revealed that starting pitcher Kenta Maeda may shift to a relief role in Jansen’s absence, via Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:

“It’s on the table,” Roberts acknowledged after the game. “I think when you’re talking about having leverage arms out there and whoever the one or two guys we decide to go out there, it’s a need and it’s actually a compliment to pitch those innings. “Kenta’s done it and for him to go out there – if it is the case – we would count on him for leverage in a couple innings. It’s certainly on the table as with all the guys.”

With a crowded rotation as is, the Dodgers were previously expected to send at least one of their starting pitchers to the bullpen. Maeda stands out as an obvious fit, considering the success he enjoyed as a high-leverage reliever during the club’s run to the 2017 World Series.

The right-hander tossed a combined five perfect innings between the National League Division and Championship Series last season, before yielding only one run in 5.2 frames against the Houston Astros in the World Series.

Maeda also owns a lifetime 2.25 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in 8.2 innings during the regular season. That includes two scoreless appearances he logged as a reliever in 2018.