The Los Angeles Dodgers Can’t Swallow Pride, Keep Brandon League


Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

It was announced on Tuesday morning that the Los Angeles Dodgers had optioned Paco Rodriguez, one of their two left-handed relievers, to Triple-A Albuquerque in order to bring Brian Wilson off of the disabled list. While optioning down a young reliever such as Rodriguez isn’t unusual, it wasn’t the right thing to do in this case and the Dodgers front office knows it. No, what they should have done is sent down the abominable Brandon League. Don’t believe me? Take a look at what baseball writer Keith Law had to say on the subject….

Yes, the Dodgers and General Manager Ned Colletti made a huge mistake by offering a contract extension to Brandon League after the 2012 season. Not only did they choose the wrong player to bring back, they gave League a massive 3-year, $21M contract and made him the full-time closer for the 2013 season. We all know how that turned out. After starting the season horribly and blowing multiple games for the Dodgers, League was demoted to set-up man, which cleared the way for Kenley Jansen to become the closer. Jansen was fantastic last season and has a bright future, despite not looking like himself so far this season.

Now, halfway through his massive contract, Brandon League is still the Dodgers worst relief pitcher and has blown game after game for the Dodgers over his 2-year stint with the team. No one in Dodger Nation likes him and it is clear that he should have been sent to Triple-A or cut awhile ago. Still, the Dodgers, for some reason that we can’t figure out, believe in him and his “skill set”, whatever that means. His “skill set”, as we know it, is giving up runs in big situations and costing the team wins.

The last straw, in my mind, came last night when he came into the game in the 12th inning of the game against the hated San Francisco Giants. The Dodgers has two pitchers left in the bullpen: League and Brian Wilson. Wilson had warmed up three times during the course of the game and was the logical choice to come in and extend the game. Instead, Don Mattingly decided that League was the pitcher best suited for the situation. Maybe Mattingly was tired and just wanted the game to end. As soon as League entered the game, we knew it was over. And it was. Here was our take on the situation as it was happening:

Yes, we were very confident that Brandon League was going to blow the game for the Dodgers. Yes, it happened. No, we weren’t surprised. League came in and gave up the winning run to the Giants in the bottom of the 12th. He has a unique ability to suck the life out of a team and hand victories to opponents. Perhaps that is the “skill set” that Ned Colletti and Don Mattingly believe he possesses.

Sending down Paco Rodriguez, who was incredibly effective for the Dodgers in his rookie campaign last season, wasn’t the right move to make. Not keeping two lefties in the bullpen was a worse decision. Keeping Brandon League on the roster instead of Rodriguez is the worst decision.

I don’t know why the Dodgers are holding on to League; however, it’s fair to say that Keith Law has a pretty good read on the situation. Quite simply, the Dodgers front office has too much pride to admit that they made a mistake in signing League and won’t admit their mistake but cutting him or demoting him to Triple-A. It is also fair to say that League has cost the Dodgers quite a few games and he is the weakest link on the roster. At some point you need to cut your losses and move on. That’s how all the best run franchises operate. Sometimes you make mistakes in your evaluations of talent and the sooner you can put those decisions behind you, the better of your team will be. As they say, you’re only as strong as your weakest link. Brandon League is the Dodgers weakest link. That’s not a good sign going forward for the 2014 Los Angeles Dodgers.