Since the hirings of president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and general manager Farhan Zaidi in 2014, the Los Angeles Dodgers have routinely fielded one of the better bullpens in all of baseball.
The new regime, in particular, has excelled at scouring the market for undervalued arms that were cut loose by other organizations. Recent examples include former starting pitchers turned relievers Joe Blanton and Brandon Morrow, who outperformed their low-risk, high-reward contracts with the Dodgers and went on to earn raises with other teams.
This method has permitted Los Angeles to spend very little on the bullpen in free agency, and instead, reinvest their dollars elsewhere. The lone exception, of course, is Kenley Jansen, who was re-signed by the Dodgers to a lucrative five-year contract in 2016.
Despite seeing some expected turnover each season, manager Dave Roberts praised the front office’s ability of assembling a quality bullpen on a seemingly yearly basis, via MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM:
“The last couple of years, in general people in baseball have had the same concerns about our bullpen. Joe Blanton stepped up a couple years ago, and last year Brandon was a non-roster Minor League invite. He obviously came and pitched well for us all throughout the postseason. I think our guys in the front office do a good job of detecting guys and finding guys that can fit into what we’re trying to do. And Rick Honeycutt does a great job of game planning and things like that. I like the arms. We’ve just got to go out there and put them in the right spots and those guys have to go out there and pitch well.”
Morrow joined the Dodgers last season as a non-roster invitee and played a pivotal role in helping the club reach their first World Series in 29 years. He departed as a free agent in the offseason, but Roberts is understandably confident in his revamped bullpen that features newcomers Scott Alexander and J.T. Chargois.
Alexander has struggled some, while Chargois has thrown 3.2 scoreless innings across five appearances. When healthy again, right-hander Tom Koehler also figures to make an impact in some capacity.