Los Angeles Dodgers Buy-Low Signings Could Prove Fruitful


As spring training is underway for the Los Angeles Dodgers, I cannot rap my head around all the pitchers with extensive injury pasts the Dodgers signed. Then I thought to myself, why not?

You would think a team boasting a rotation of Clayton Kershaw, Zach Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu would suffice. Last season proved that arm depth was lacking, especially the bullpen. The Dodgers bullpen ranked near the bottom in ERA, FIP and walk rate.

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Los Angeles brought in a flurry of arms to improve their relief staff. Joel Peralta, Juan Nicasio and Chris Hatcher were brought in to assist the likes of J.P. Howell and Brandon League, who were statistically their best relievers. Closer Kenley Jansen was spectacular as he finished the year with 44 saves. To make matters worse, Jansen will be out a few weeks as he recovers from a foot ailment.

The new regime of Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi set out to sign a bunch of low risk high reward pitchers. Brandon McCarthy (31) and Brett Anderson (27) are Los Angeles’ fourth and fifth starters respectively. Both gunslingers have not pitched full seasons in years. If they can stay healthy this season, they will solidify an already strong starting rotation.

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  • McCarthy stayed healthy in 2014 and actually pitched very well for the New York Yankees. He posted a 2.89 ERA in 14 games with the pinstripes. If he can pick up where he left off last season, the Dodgers would be ecstatic. Anderson on the other hand, has averaged only 5.2 innings the last four years. If he recovers his mojo, L.A. may have gotten a steal with this talented lefty.

    Moving on to a more pressing need for the boys in blue. The dreaded bullpen that was hilariously inconsistent. Friedman and Zaidi brought in a cavalry that could pay huge dividends if they can stay healthy. Names like Erik Bedard (36), Sergio Santos (31), Brandon Beachy (28), Dustin McGowan (32) and Mike Adams (36) at some point were considered solid pitchers.

    At first glance, it seems like a desperate move by the front office. Keep in mind that Friedman and Zaidi have experimented successfully with their previous clubs with buy-low moves. They’re track records speak volumes.

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    The financial repercussions aside from McCarthy (4 years 48M), will be minimal because the rest of said pitchers are on minor-league contracts. If they don’t pan out they will be cut. Period. The financial backing of the organization will simply eat the money and move on.

    Imagine if two of the five pitchers I mentioned find their groove again, the Dodgers would have found bargains. At some point, these pitchers were key pieces in a rotation. Injuries derailed their career. It was not that they all of a sudden fell off. Santos before the injuries had a 3.29 ERA. Beachy was a decent starter before falling victim to two Tommy John surgeries. He posted a 3.23 ERA and 275 strikeouts in a four-year career with the Atlanta Braves.

    Adams was a top setup man for two consecutive years before injuries struck. The Dodgers can afford waiting for him to get healthy, as they have been in search of a bridge to closer Jansen. Brian Wilson was supposed to be that man last season, but now is gone. McGowan and Bedard were brought in to provide competition. Both are okay with resuming their careers and building up their confidence in the minors.

    These oft-injured pitchers have potential upside and they cost next to nothing.

    These oft-injured pitchers have potential upside and they cost next to nothing. It’s unclear if they even make the final roster. If anything they could be stashed in the minors until they’re called up when needed.

    Fans may hate the idea of taking a risk on these pitchers but lets give this new regime a chance to see what they can do. Dodger fans endured the tumultuous reign of Frank McCourt, the least they can do is let the new brass step up to the plate. The Dodgers set out to build a new bullpen. Fair to say they have succeeded.

    Time will tell if these low risk signings will work. An impatient fan base is ready for the Dodgers to end their nearly 30-year title drought. If these moves prove to be successful, Friedman and Zaidi will continue to build up their resume as geniuses.