No question that last season as a difficult one for Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Brandon League. He hasn’t fared well this spring either. His line: 2.2 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 4 BB, 1 S0, 3.000 WHIP. That could be why this tweet makes some sense.
#Dodgers have talked about leaving Brandon League in Arizona while they are in Australia.
— Dylan Hernandez (@dylanohernandez) March 16, 2014
The Dodgers acquired League in a trade deadline deal from the Seattle Mariners in 2012. In League’s brief time as a Mariner, he fared decently and became the M’s closer. He performed well in the last half of that season as a Dodger with the only issue being his walk rate (BB/9 of 4.6). That was partially offset by a 8.9 SO/9.
After that 2012 season, LA inked League to a three-year, $22.5MM deal with a vesting option for a fourth year. The contract paid League “closer money” (2013: $4.5M, 2014: $7.5M, 2015: $7.5M). The vesting option for 2016 could see League make $7.5M with 55 games finished in 2015 or $8.5M with 55 GF in 2015 and 100 GF in 2014-15 or $9M with 55 GF in 2015 and 150 GF in 2013-15.
Did you get that?
Needless to say, League did not perform well last season. For the entire season, he was 6-4, but owned an ERA of 5.30, WHIP of 1.546, and a FIP of 4.93. Let’s not forget the five blown saves in 19 save opportunities (74%). The masses were growing restless.
Not impressive numbers by any means (even on the whole), and League eventually lost his closer’s spot to Kenley Jansen once Jansen was deemed healthy after undergoing a heart procedure in late 2012.
Now the question could become what will the Dodgers do with League if he isn’t on the trip? If League isn’t, how will he fare and deal with being left in AZ? The Dodgers will have a tough decision to make as to his status upon their return. With League’s recent struggles, it is hard to imagine that another team would likely assume the remainder of his contract.
Be I will note that this is baseball and if a team is willing to eat the vast majority of a player’s salary, there is usually a team willing to take that chance.