Since the Los Angeles Dodgers named Andrew Friedman as president of baseball operations after the 2014 season, he’s been consistent with never being fully comfortable with the construction of the team’s bullpen.
It’s a concern Friedman said dated back to his time with the Tampa Bay Rays. Unexpected change from relief pitchers from a year-to-year basis make it the most volatile group of an active roster, he’s explained.
The Dodgers bullpen finished with a .222 batting average against that ranked second in the Majors this past season, so too did their 1.15 WHIP, and an opponents’ .660 on-base plus slugging percentage and 3.38 ERA that both were fourth overall.
But the group has lost surprised key contributor Brandon Morrow, who reportedly agreed to a two-year contract with the Chicago Cubs. Morrow’s deal, projected to be around $21 million, is expected to set the market for relievers.
That will be relevant for a team such as the Dodgers, as Friedman reiterated addressing the bullpen remains a focal point at the Winter Meetings and during the offseason, via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
He said bullpen is a focus every winter.
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) December 11, 2017
With Morrow bound for the Dodgers’ opponent in each of the past two National League Championship Series, a candidate to replace him may have been Pat Neshek, but reports indicated he’s agreed to re-sign with the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Dodgers were linked to Neshek at the non-waiver trade deadline this past July. Other viable bullpen options include Boone Logan and Jake McGee, and perhaps Wade Davis and Greg Holland, but they presumably would prefer to close and command salaries outside of the Dodgers’ comfort zone.