I know we are seven games into a 162 game season but let’s get real. Right this very moment the San Francisco Giants are a better baseball team than the Los Angeles Dodgers. It doesn’t hurt to say this. The truth is the truth.
As good as the Dodgers are offensively (and they are damn good) they don’t have the rotation depth and bullpen to compete for 162 games with the San Francisco Giants. Many of us saw the iceberg and were accused of being alarmists and not “true fans” for sounding the alarm.
How do the Dodgers fix their problem ? This is the million dollar question and it doesn’t have any easy answers. The bullpen should have been fixed in the off-season, it wasn’t and now the club pays the price. Here are some possible remedies, but they aren’t sure-fire fixes….
- Bring up Jose De Leon and Julio Urias to pitch out of the pen. Personally I DESPISE this solution. But, it was one that was broached to me so I thought I would address it. De Leon and Urias are being groomed as starters and in my opinion any deviation from this plan would be fool-hardy. But, it’s an option, that instantly makes the Dodgers better in the pen. Make De Leon and/or Urias your long relief men out of the pen. Closely monitor their innings. I don’t like it. I wouldn’t do it. But, I addressed it.
- Expedite the path to the big leagues for off-season acquisition Frankie Montas and his 99 mile per hour fast ball. He has electric stuff and is seen as a can’t miss back-end relief pitcher. Of course the Dodgers will have to wait on Montas because of the stress reaction injury in his right first rib that he had to have removed. When he is ready in mid-late July they may be forced to bring him up sooner rather than later. And remember, just because he has an electric arm doesn’t mean he can get guys out (See; Baez & Hatcher)
- Bring up Dirty Dale Thayer from Oklahoma City. Thayer had three good years in the Padres pen before they released him. Thayer saw significant drops in his hits per nine innings and strikeouts per nine, but he when he is right, his fastball can get on top of hitters and his secondary pitches he can throw for strikes and can get swing-throughs.
- This won’t be able to happen NOW, but within the next couple of months shop some of the arms in this amazing farm system for some bullpen help. The problem for the Dodgers is they don’t just need one or two pitchers. They need a complete overhaul in that pen. It will be impossible to completely overhaul the bullpen when it’s been so completely ignored and marginalized by this front office.
With all of this said I do realize we are only seven games into the season. This front office KNEW our rotation was not going to be as strong as last year, for them to think the bullpen would suddenly be better is mind-boggling. Having only one left-handed pitcher to start the season who tops out at 85 and struggles with inherited runners is not an answer from the left side.
The bullpen needed to be fixed, preferably in December. For the Dodgers brass they will have to try to fix it in-season and that is difficult. Not impossible, but difficult. If they do decide to go the trade route they better be judicious in the kids they give up for a problem that could have been solved by a few extra dollars.
Keep Bleeding Dodger Blue !