Dodgers Rumors: Focus On Second-Tier Relief Pitchers

Los Angeles Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman has openly discussed his belief on how unpredictable relief pitching is year to year, and how that’s been a basis for offseason decisions.

Friedman has twice deviated from his long-held philosophy of not extending for a relief pitcher; first re-signing Kenley Jansen to a five-year contract prior to the 2017 season, and more recently inking Joe Kelly to a three-year deal.

Friedman and the Dodgers otherwise have relied on short-term contracts, reclamation projects and prospects in the bullpen.

And though there are marquee relief pitchers available, such as Liam Hendriks and Trevor Rosenthal, the Dodgers are looking at the tier below them, per Jorge Castillo of the L.A. Times:

They need to address the bullpen but haven’t shown interest in Liam Hendriks, the top reliever on the market, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. They’re shopping in a cheaper section for bullpen help.

From the Dodgers’ group of relief pitchers this past season, Pedro Baez, Jake McGee and Blake Treinen are free agents. So too is Alex Wood, who finished the year in the bullpen. Meanwhile, Scott Alexander and Dylan Floro are eligible for salary arbitration.

Alexander is considered by some a non-tender candidate, but considering the Dodgers will be without Caleb Ferguson as he recovers from Tommy John surgery, it stands to reason a one-year contract will be worked out with Alexander.

If the Dodgers are hesitant to shop at the top of the free-agent market, re-signing Baez and Treinen could be simple — and sound — solutions. Both right-handers played a key role for the team in winning the World Series, and of course there is a long track record with Baez.

L.A. took a bit of a gamble on Treinen last winter by signing him to a one-year contract after he was non-tendered by the Oakland Athletics.

Treinen appreciative of Dodgers

One reason Treinen chose to sign with the Dodgers was for an opportunity to contend for a championship, but not far behind was the organization’s plan and commitment to keep him healthy. The 32-year-old raved about his experience with the team and was humbled to have been trusted in big postseason moments.

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