The Los Angeles Dodgers’ cost-efficient bullpen, put together by president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, looked as if it may once again be the team’s Achilles’ heel after an erratic start to the season.
However, they were able to quickly reverse their path and turn into one of the best bullpens in baseball. Joe Blanton and Adam Liberatore have emerged as shutdown relievers while Kenley Jansen is putting together another dominant campaign at the back of the bullpen.
Heading into Tuesday’s game, Los Angeles relievers own a combined 2.98 ERA that ranks second in the Majors; their 341 strikeouts are good for fourth-best. Usage has been somewhat of a concern as the Dodgers’ bullpen ranks fifth in baseball with 338 innings pitched.
While Jansen has already solidified himself as the top closer in franchise history, the Dodgers may need to look towards the future as he is set to become a free agent after this season.
Aroldis Chapman, for now, is out of the question given he was traded to the Chicago Cubs. However, the Dodgers reportedly would be interested in Andrew Miller should he become available, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post:
Their pen has performed well, but since Kenley Jansen can leave as a free agent after the season, Andrew Miller intrigues the Dodgers if the Yankees move him.
General consensus expects the Yankees to shift their focus to moving Miller now that Chapman has been traded. Working against the Dodgers and other clubs who may pursue Miller is the haul New York received in exchange for Chapman, who is essentially a rental.
Conversely, Miller is under contract through the 2018 season. Los Angeles pursued the southpaw when he was a free agent, and reportedly held trade talks with the Yankees for Miller last December.
The 31-year-old is 6-1 with seven saves, a 1.45 ERA and 0.76 WHIP in 43.1 innings pitched. Miller converted 36 of 37 save opportunities for the Yankees last season in his first year as a closer.