While the start of free agency brought about questions for the Los Angeles Dodgers’ starting rotation, their bullpen is in a similar position with the likes of Corey Knebel, Joe Kelly and Kenley Jansen no longer under contract.
Knebel and Jansen became outright free agents, while the Dodgers declined their team option on Kelly in favor of a $4 million buyout. L.A. is said to have interest in re-signing Knebel and Jansen, and president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman confirmed as much with Kelly.
Efforts to shore up the backend of the bullpen appear to be leading the Dodgers to a reunion with Daniel Hudson.
According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, Hudson is expected to sign a one-year contract with the Dodgers:
Right-handed reliever Daniel Hudson and the Los Angeles Dodgers are nearing an agreement on a one-year deal, sources tell ESPN. When completed, it’s expected to be for around $7 million.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 29, 2021
When L.A. was attempting to complete a trade for Max Scherzer at the deadline this past season, it was reported the deal could grow to include Hudson as well. Trea Turner wound up being packaged with Scherzer, and the Washington Nationals traded Hudson to the San Diego Padres.
The veteran relief pitcher finished the 2021 season a combined 5-3 with a 3.31 ERA, 3.21 FIP and 1.08 WHIP in 54 games. However, Hudson struggled to the tune of a 5.21 ERA across 23 relief appearances for the Padres.
Hudson went 3-2 with a 4.11 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in 2018, his lone season with the Dodgers. He joined the team that season on a Minor League contract and pitched better than statistics would suggest.
Hudson departed in free agency and signed a Minor League contract with the L.A. Angels and received a non-roster invite to 2019 Spring Training. He was released prior to Opening Day and went on to sign with the Toronto Blue Jays, but was traded to the Nationals that July.
Impact of Dodgers signing Hudson
Once the addition of Hudson is made official, it would suggest the Dodgers are unlikely to re-sign all of Knebel, Kelly and Jansen.
Jansen might be the most likely of the trio to return, but that may very well hinge on how robust his market becomes.
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