Dodgers News: Andrew Friedman Confident In Bullpen After Experienced Gained In 2015
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off another season in which they were hampered at times by an inconsistent bullpen, the Los Angeles Dodgers spent a portion of the winter attempting to solidify the bridge to Kenley Jansen.

The Dodgers were spurned by free agents Darren O’Day and Ryan Madson, as O’Day re-signed with the Baltimore Orioles and Madson joined the Oakland Athletics. Los Angeles then had an agreement to trade for Aroldis Chapman go awry once a report surfaced detailing his involvement in a domestic dispute.

Los Angeles eventually added to their bullpen, signing Joe Blanton to a one-year contract last month. Then last Thursday, the Dodgers signed another former Kansas City Royals reliever in Louis Coleman.

Then on Wednesday, the Dodgers signed Jamey Wright to a Minor League contract with a non-roster invitation to big league camp.

While none of the signings came with the same cache as adding an elite relief pitcher, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman didn’t believe the club necessarily needed a big-name bullpen piece.

“I think from our standpoint when we started the winter, the first thing you do is assess the guys that you have. We felt good about our young relievers — [Baez], Yimi (Garcia), [Hatcher] — we have a number of guys who got meaningful experience last year. In terms of the body of work, they had very good seasons,” Friedman said.

“They went through the ups and downs young guys go through, and I think that experience for them, coupled with being in the playoffs, is going to serve them really well. So, a lot of it was we’re big believers in the guys we have. It allowed us to be opportunistic. We explored things on a number of different fronts in the bullpen, but we had a certain threshold. We weren’t going to bring someone in just to do so.”

Chris Hatcher righted the ship last season after returning from an oblique injury that forced him to miss over one month. The right-hander posted a 1.31 ERA with 26 strikeouts over his last 22 appearances (20.2 innings) and opponents hit just .181/.253/.347.

Overall, Hatcher finished the season 3-5 with a 3.69 ERA, 3.39 FIP, 1.23 WHIP and averaged 10.4 strikeouts per nine innings over 49 appearances (39 innings pitched). Although the Dodgers don’t appear to have much room for newcomers in the bullpen, Friedman indicated all options are being considered.

“We’re going into the spring really openminded. We’ve got a number of really talented pitchers that more than likely will open the year in Triple-A,” he said.

“But, we’re going to stay openminded. There are starter candidates, guys who are more strictly for the bullpen and some who could potentially do both. We have a number of guys we’ll stretch out, but have the ability to shorten up and add depth to our bullpen.”