Dodgers Think Coffey Is For Middle Relief

Todd Coffey, sprinting in from a bullpen near you real soon.

Just when you thought the moves for the offseason were complete, Ned Colletti threw us a curve ball on Friday. Or maybe it was a slider, the preferred offspeed pitch thrown by right-handed relief pitcher Todd Coffey, the newest addition to the Dodgers bullpen. The 31-year old has signed a one-year contract with the Dodgers worth a guranteed $1.3 million, pending a physical, plus a club option for 2013, as reported by both Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports and Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.

UPDATE (5:15 p.m.): The Coffey deal is now official. The reliever will be paid $1 million in 2012, with essentially a deferred payment disguised as a club option. Coffey's option for 2013 is worth $2.5 million, with a buyout of $300,000, per Hernandez.

Coffey was 5-1 with a 3.62 ERA in 60 innings last season for the Nationals, striking out 6.94 batters per nine innings, pretty much inline with his career rate of 6.67 strikeouts per nine. He has also pitched for the Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds in his seven-year MLB career. Coffey is perhaps best known for his Leffertsian sprints from the bullpen to the mound, which should earn him at least an extra strike or some sort of tangible benefit.

The addition of Coffey to the staff gives the Dodgers six pitchers I would call locks for the bullpen: Javy Guerra, Kenley Jansen, Matt Guerrier, Mike MacDougal, Coffey, and Scott Elbert. This essentially means that Josh Lindblom and the out-of-options Blake Hawksworth will battle it out along with the various non-roster invitees for that seventh and final spot in the pen.

Ronald Belisario, now that we know he actually exists again, could be a factor, but he will have to serve a 25-game suspension to begin the year anyway so he is not a concern in shaping the opening day roster.

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