The Los Angeles Dodgers have established themselves as one of the best in baseball, but with Kenley Jansen looking shaky they need to fortify their bullpen. What reliever should the Dodgers target to cement their status as World Series favorites?
2019 has been a good year for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Real good. The club came into Opening Day with high expectations, projected to win 93 games while holding the highest odds of reaching the postseason at 89.8 %. Sure enough, they look to outperform even the loftiest predictions.
The Boys in Blue have the best record in the Majors at 63-34 and are projected to finish the season with a league-high 101 wins. On top of that, the Dodgers employ MVP candidate Cody Bellinger and Cy Young candidate Hyun Jin-Ryu, two key members of a team that has steamrolled their way to having a 19.1% chance to win the World Series, according to FanGraphs.
One Dodger who has underachieved this season, however, is Kenley Jansen. L.A.’s closer is having his worst year since he took over the 9th inning in 2012, as indicated by career-worsts in ERA (3.72) and ERA+ (112). He has been a sup-replacement reliever (-0.1 WAR) and has been especially bad in July, where he’s allowed four runs in as many innings with batters hitting .294 off of the 31-year old Curaçaoan.
To make things worse, Jansen was struck in the ankle by a comebacker Tuesday night against the Phillies, and after immediately shaking off the training staff he allowed four consecutive hits including Bryce Harper’s walk-off double that sealed a 9-8 victory for Philadelphia. Postgame, Jansen told reporters “I should have come out of the game” after getting hit, a comment that wasn’t well-received by manager Dave Roberts. Jansen was unavailable to pitch Wednesday night because of the injury.
All in all, the Dodgers need to improve their bullpen, which ranks 9th in baseball with a 4.00 ERA. The back end of the bullpen needs help even more so, as many believe that a better closer is the one thing that stands between L.A. being odds-on World Series favorites.
If the Dodgers were to acquire a high-end reliever to fortify the back of the bullpen, I think it could prove to be the difference-maker and give them an edge that puts them clearly above the rest of the field. Continue reading to discover the three bullpen arms who I think the Dodgers should go after; landing any one of them wouldn’t be cheap, but giving themselves an even better chance at winning it all would make it worthwhile.