After falling one win shy of winning a World Season, the Los Angeles Dodgers front office made it a priority to keep the core of the team intact for the 2018 season to make another run at it.
One of the few pieces lost was setup man Brandon Morrow though, and that is a key one as he became just the second pitcher in Major League history to appear in all seven games in a World Series. Furthermore, Morrow left the Dodgers behind for the Chicago Cubs.
Replacing Morrow didn’t figure to be an easy task, and it became even more difficult when the player brought in to essentially replace him, Tom Koehler, injured his shoulder during Spring Training and will begin the season on the disabled list.
The Dodgers bullpen was one of the best in all of baseball last season, so there are plenty of options for that eighth-inning role. But with Opening Day on the horizon, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts is still unsure about which reliever will emerge.
“Right now, no,” Roberts said when asked if there was clarity on that aspect within the bullpen. “When you look back at the last couple of years, I think I would have had that same answer for you at this point in time in those previous seasons.
“Until someone really steps forward like Joe Blanton did for us a couple years ago and like Brandon Morrow did for us. So it’s kind of an open wait and see type thing. To see as far as where we use guys in leverage.”
Josh Fields, Pedro Baez, Scott Alexander and potentially J.T. Chargois could all get chances at being the primary setup man to All-Star closer Kenley Jansen.
But as Roberts alluded to, the last couple of seasons, Blanton and Morrow didn’t settle into those roles until midway through the year. It stands to reason Roberts and the Dodgers again may not find a consistent option until near the All-Star break.