The Los Angeles Dodgers’ bullpen is going to look a lot different in 2021 as the team has made a number of moves to address what they felt was their biggest need this winter.
Among the additions are trading for Corey Knebel and signing Tommy Kahnle and Brandon Morrow, and bringing back Jimmy Nelson and Blake Treinen. Of course, Nelson didn’t pitch last season prior to undergoing back surgery, while Treinen filled a key role.
Knebel and Treinen will be relied upon to build off what was one of the best bullpens in baseball last year. Particularly with some expected subtractions due to Pedro Baez, Alex Wood and Jake McGee all reaching free agency.
It appears that Baez is the first of that bunch to find a new home as he has signed a two-year contract with the Houston Astros, according to Jorge Castillo of the L.A. Times:
Pedro Báez and the Astros have agreed on a two-year contract, per source. The deal is pending a physical. Báez, a converted third baseman, had a 3.03 ERA in seven seasons with the Dodgers.
— Jorge Castillo (@jorgecastillo) January 13, 2021
Baez was one of the longest-tenured Dodgers, spending 14 years in the organization after originally signing with them as a third baseman out of the Dominican Republic in 2007.
In seven big-league seasons in L.A., Baez had plenty of ups and downs but ultimately was a solid reliever, pitching to a 3.03 ERA in 356 total innings.
Baez appeared in 18 games in 2020, posting a 3.18 ERA, 4.43 FIP and 1.00 WHIP with 13 strikeouts and seven walks in 17 innings.
While joining the Astros does come as a bit of a surprise considering the history between them and the Dodgers, it became clear in recent weeks that L.A. was not making much of an effort to re-sign Baez.
The Dodgers are set to play the Astros in Houston on May 25 and 26 and then will host them on Aug. 3 and 4, so Baez won’t have to wait long before facing his former team and receiving his World Series ring.
Dodgers still prefer re-signing Turner to other free agents
While the Dodgers lost Baez to the Astros, it appears they are still working on bringing back one of their other free agents as a recent report indicates they prefer re-signing Justin Turner to others on the market like DJ LeMahieu.
Turner is reportedly seeking a four-year deal, so it remains to be seen if the two sides will come to an agreement. Considering how much he has meant to the organization in recent years though it seems that both parties are interested in getting a deal done.
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