The Los Angeles Dodgers made four offseason moves that were meant to help their bullpen. The Dodgers re-signed Brian Wilson and J.P. Howell, and they also signed Chris Perez and Jamey Wright. All four relievers can have a major impact on the Dodgers’ bullpen in 2014.
Kenley Jansen is hands down the best option at closer for the Dodgers. In fact, his save numbers could improve this season with the overall improvements of the entire bullpen. I don’t see this happening, but if Kenley struggles early as closer for the Dodgers, Wilson will then get the first opportunity to take over for L.A.
If he never becomes closer, Wilson will remain the main setup man for Jansen. New acquisition Perez will also pitch late in games prior to the emergence of Jansen. Perez has off the field issues, but Los Angeles has enough bullpen depth to deal with any issues he may stumble upon in 2014.
Former closer Brandon League also remains a part of the Dodgers’ bullpen. However, with all of the new faces, expect League to be on a very short leash in L.A. Newly signed Wright was with the Dodgers in 2012 before leaving for the Tampa Bay Rays. Los Angeles will welcome him back with open arms in 2014.
If the Dodgers are in need of a lefty reliever, they can choose from Howell or the young prospect Paco Rodriguez. Paco was solid in the 2013 regular season, but he fell apart in the postseason. Howell was able to have both a solid regular and postseason for the Dodgers in 2013. Rodriguez is a hard throwing lefty while Howell is more of an off-speed pitcher. Either one has the ability to get a batter out when called upon.
On paper, the Dodgers’ bullpen from top to bottom is solid. However, we all know games aren’t played on paper, and this bullpen could very well struggle in 2014. For the time being, though, the Dodgers may very well enter 2014 with the best bullpen in the majors.
Michael Pidgeon is a Los Angeles Dodgers writer for Rant Sports.com: “Like” him on Facebook, Follow him on Twitter @1AndOnlyPidgeon, add him to your network on Google or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org