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2013 Dodgers review: Brandon League

League began 2013 as the Dodgers' closer, but ended the season in mop-up duty and was left off the playoff roster.


The three-year, $22.5 million contract the Dodgers gave Brandon League last winter was an overpay the moment he signed it, but the first year of the deal was even worse than most could have imagined. Here's a look back at his 2013 campaign.

What went right

League converted eight of nine save opportunities in April and, though his ERA was 4.09 he held opposing batters to hitting just .238/.273/.357 in the season's opening month.

After the All-Star break League had a stretch of 11 games with a 2.13 ERA, including 10 scoreless appearances during that span.

League recorded four outs in the sixth and seventh innings in relief against Arizona on Sept. 19 in the Dodgers' National League West division-clinching victory at Chase Field in Phoenix.

What went wrong

Though he was successful in eight of nine save chances in April, League struck out just four of 45 batters which was a red flag for the coming months.

He allowed runs in five of his nine outings in May, including multiple runs in four of those appearances. League suffered consecutive losses in tie games he entered in May and blew three save chances, with all of those games coming in a 13-appearance span. League lost his job as closer on June 11.

After allowing just one home run in 72 innings in 2012, including none in 28 games with the Dodgers, League allowed eight home runs in 54⅓ innings in 2013.

League struck out just 28 of the 249 batters he faced (11.2%), a strikeout percentage that ranked 269th out of 273 major league relief pitchers with at least 20 innings pitched, and his worst strikeout rate since 2005.

2014 status

League still has two more years and $15 million remaining on his contract, plus $2 million more deferred as part of his signing bonus. His salary in 2014 is $7.5 million, and the Dodgers hope he will pitch more like the 2012 version than the 2013 model going forward.

Perhaps the laser eye surgery that League had in November will help that cause: