Since the Los Angeles Dodgers overhauled their front office, team president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and general manager Farhan Zaidi have been on the same page when it came to their primary concerns — starting rotation depth and the bullpen.
Sure enough, that has been the Dodgers’ Achilles heel this season. The bullpen’s success has been inconsistent since surprisingly proving to be a strength earlier in the year, and the rotation has remained a work in progress.
Zaidi recently acknowledged the bullpen hasn’t functioned as desired and again emphasized the front office’s efforts to remedy the issue, according to Bill Plunket of the OC Register:
Obviously, it’s an area where we haven’t been as consistent as we’d like. I mean, it tends to be the most volatile part of any team so you try not to be surprised. It’s something we prioritized at the (non-waiver trade) deadline. The guys we brought in were having really good seasons. They’ve run into a little bit of a bump performance-wise and luck-wise since we’ve had them.”
However, despite some of the bullpen’s shortcomings, particularly since the All-Star break, Zaidi remains confident in the group of relievers:
I think the group has the potential to be a strength. Obviously Kenley (Jansen) has been terrific all year. But the guys that serve as the bridge between our starters and him – I think that group has the potential to be a strength.”
Since the All-Star break the Dodgers’ bullpen has an abysmal 6.22 ERA that’s resulted in losses. Los Angeles held leads in each of their two games with the Oakland Athletics and lost both contests.
Luis Avilan and Jim Johnson, two relievers acquired with visions of stabilizing the situation, have struggled themselves. In six innings of work Johnson has posted a 21.00 ERA, 6.94 FIP, plus opponents are batting .500/.556/.700. Meanwhile Avilan has thrown five innings with the Dodgers and owns a 7.20 ERA and 3.71 FIP.
Although the options are slim, the Dodgers have 10 days until the waiver deadline to acquire a relief pitcher, which Zaidi previously indicated remains a possibility.