The Dodgers are not alone in their chase for a back-end piece to add to their bullpen. When evaluating other buyers, many teams seem to need a bullpen boost of their own.
As the tweet below mentions, the Dodgers only have two relievers with DRAs under 3.50 in their current bullpen, closer Kenley Jansen and high-leverage long reliever Julio Urías.
The other 14 reliever names in the remainder of the tweet also have DRAs under 3.50 and almost all of them are good bets to be available at this year’s deadline.
But yes, the Astros and the Yankees will be after them. The defending champion Boston Red Sox don’t have a surefire closer at the moment. The Cubs and Braves could use some help. So too could the Dodgers… but other contenders will absolutely not go down without a fight.
It is safe to assume that, at the very least, 10 teams — basically all the contenders — will be looking into bullpen upgrades.
New York Yankees
The Yankees have arguably the best bullpen in the league with Aroldis Chapman closing out games, Adam Ottavino, Tommy Kahnle, and Zack Britton in tow, and super reliever Dellin Betances on the IL. They might be able to utilize ace Luis Severino out of the bullpen in the near future. The team will be able to shorten games in the playoffs. Their rotation lacks, with the only notables being Masahiro Tanaka and James Paxton, but they can strengthen that by adding yet another bullpen piece. With Chapman set to opt out of his contract at the season’s close, they could use a controllable arm.
Boston Red Sox
The defending champions have a mess in their bullpen, posting a 4.53 ERA this season. Outside of Matt Barnes and Brandon Workman, it looks messy. They are supposedly planning to use Nathan Eovaldi, former Dodger prospect and World Series savior, as their new closer when he regains health. They need help.
The Twins, this year’s surprise team and leader in the AL Central, is basically in the middle of the pack with their bullpen. Blake Parker and Taylor Rogers are a formidable duo, but they need more if they want to compete with the likes of the AL’s class.
The Astros, as good as their starting rotation is, have an overall solid bullpen. With Ryan Pressly and Roberto Osuna, the end of games will be very short for them in the playoffs. Not to mention the back-end of their rotation possibly joining the bullpen with guys like Cionel Perez, Framber Valdez, and Brad Peacock primed to make impacts.
Possibly the team in most need of an actual ninth inning guy after missing out on Craig Kimbrel, the Braves seem like a perfect fit for any of the closers available. Luke Jackson and AJ Minter are fine pitchers, but a battle-tested guy could be in store for the Braves’ future.
The Nationals have the worst bullpen ERA in the National League at 5.96. Yikes. They need bullpen help too if they want to be in play for a Wild Card spot this year. With Patrick Corbin, Stephen Strasburg, and the elite Max Scherzer throwing well out of the rotation, they need to shore up the bullpen to not waste their starts.
On paper, the Phillies do not have a terrible bullpen. Regardless, it has performed terribly. A 4.90 ERA is not one that is going to make a deep playoff run. After missing out on Craig Kimbrel, they need a back-end presence. The following potentially impact relievers are all on the IL: Victor Arano, David Robertson, Seranthony Dominguez, Tommy Hunter, Pat Neshek, Edubray Ramos. They need a move to come.
The Cubs addressed their bullpen need somewhat with the addition of Craig Kimbrel, but they need more. With Carl Edwards Jr., Brandon Morrow, and Pedro Strop all hurt or underperforming, a few relievers would benefit them.
The Dodgers are not alone in the hunt for late inning relief. With arguably the best rotation in baseball, the Dodgers only have one more component remaining: the bullpen.