Los Angeles Dodgers Must Address Bullpen Issues Before Trade Deadline

By Isaac Comelli
Mattingly Bullpen
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The July 31 MLB trade deadline looms closer and the Los Angeles Dodgers still have a gaping hole to fill.

In case you missed it, I ousted the Dodgers’ five worst relievers from the first half earlier this week. You should check that out if you have not, but I will do a quick recap here.

The Dodger bullpen has blown 61% of their 25 save chances this season and have put together a collective 4.10 ERA. Neither of these are acceptable for a team of pitchers whose sole job is to come in to late-game, high-pressure situations and clinch the win. The Dodgers’ starting rotation has been getting the job done, but their bullpen buddies have given up way too many chances.

General Manager Ned Colletti did make one bullpen move earlier this season in a trade for Carlos Marmol. As I predicted, this trade seems to be turning out as an irrelevant and bad trade for the Dodgers. In his three minor league appearances for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, Marmol has three innings pitched and two earned runs for an ERA of 6.00. It does not seem that Marmol will be the saving grace of the Dodgers bullpen.

There are several MLB relievers whose teams are willing to shop them before the trade deadline and the Dodgers desperately need to go after at least one.

I will address one trade rumor that is mildly comical to even think about. Before Tim Lincecum’s no-hitter for the San Francisco Giants, there were whispers of potentially throwing him into the club’s bullpen. I will admit, I did not think that was such a bad idea. I thought that Lincecum could come in for an inning or two and get some quality outs before hitters could figure out his stuff.

But then I looked at his statistical splits and realized his ERA in the first two innings is a hefty 5.68 and he allows 1.55 base runners per inning in the first two of the game. So the idea of putting Lincecum in the bullpen and the idea of the Dodgers going after him for their bullpen are both equally ludicrous. Either way, the Giants’ GM Brian Sabean seems to have dispelled any rumors of trading away Lincecum recently:

One realistic potential trade could be for the Seattle Mariners left-handed reliever Oliver Perez is a good looking potential addition to the Dodgers’ bullpen. Perez is having an outstanding year for the underachieving Mariners. With an ERA of only 1.75 and a WHIP of 1.17, Perez has had strong showings in many of his 38 appearances.

The Dodgers could really use a lefty of his caliber. The only problem with this potential deal is Perez’s low salary with only one year left and $1.5 million due. Since the contract is so cheap, the Mariners will certainly expect some young and fresh talent in return, a commodity the Dodgers cannot afford to lose.

Another potential target could be Luke Gregerson of the Dodgers’ divisional foes, the San Diego Padres. Although teams do not prefer to trade within the division, the last place Padres might be willing to part with their 6-3 righty for the right price. The 29-year-old from Illinois has put together a decent season for the Padres with a 2.93 ERA and a fantastic WHIP of 1.03.

With almost one strikeout for each of his 40 innings pitched, Gregerson would be a nice addition to the Dodgers’ bullpen. His contract is in its last year, worth $3.2 million, and would be a large enough burden unloaded that the Dodgers probably would not have to give away too much talent.

The Dodgers need to go after either of these guys or one of the other talented relievers on the market. If they can bolster the bullpen, manager Don Mattingly and the Boys in Blue will have a legitimate shot at the playoffs.

Isaac Comelli is a Los Angeles Dodgers writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @IsaacComelli, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google+. You can see all of his articles here.


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