Consider it a lesson learned for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Dodgers had lost long time closer Kenley Jansen during the offseason, necessitating a move for another closer. Craig Kimbrel was brought on board in an attempt to solidify the ninth inning, a move that ended up being a disappointment at best. He was eventually left off of the NLDS roster, and now that he is a free agent, it is clear that his time with the Dodgers is over.
Los Angeles Dodgers may not have set closer for 2023
The Dodgers appear to have learned from their mistakes. According to Juan Toribio of MLB.com, Dodgers general manager Brandon Gomes is not overly concerned with finding a set option for the ninth inning, saying that pursuing a closer is not necessarily a priority.
That strategy has its own risks. The closer by committee approach rarely works, with the axiom being that if you have multiple closers, then you do not actually have any. Either a reliever steps up to take that role over or a trade happens to bring in that needed piece for the ninth inning.
It is possible that the Dodgers already have their closer on their roster. Brusdar Graterol has been viewed as a possible closer in waiting for years at this point and may be ready to take over that role. He did notch four saves in 2022, posting a 3.24 ERA and a 0.987 WHiP over his 49.2 innings, striking out 43 batters with ten walks. While he may not be the strikeout machine that teams tend to look for in the ninth inning, he could handle the role.
But it all comes back to what the Dodgers decide to do in the offseason. Should a proven closer, such as Jansen, linger on the market and end up as a relative bargain, they could make that move. Otherwise, those internal options are going to need to prove that they can provide a quiet ninth inning, something that Kimbrel was unable to do last year.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are not prioritizing a closer this offseason. That could end up being their fatal flaw once again in 2023.