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Dodgers could take on 2023 without a closer

The Dodgers likely wont’ name a designated closer until spring training ends, if they choose to do so at all.

Division Series - Los Angeles Dodgers v San Diego Padres - Game Three Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Kenley Jansen is long gone — he just signed a two-year deal with the Boston Red Sox — and the Craig Kimbrel experiment is certainly over. Does that mean signing a new closer is in the works?

Not necessarily.

“I don’t think it’s something that we absolutely have to have,” Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said during the Winter Meetings, according to the OC Register’s Bill Plunkett. “That being said, we want to get better. So whatever ways that comes about we’ll be aggressive to act. But I don’t know yet what that will look like.”

Blake Treinen and Daniel Hudson each have more than four career saves, but with Treinen likely out for most of the 2023 season thanks to shoulder surgery, it’ll be up to relievers with less late-game experience to finish games.

Evan Phillips is a likely option, Plunkett writes. Phillips posted a 1.14 ERA with 11 strikeouts per nine innings in 2022, much higher than Brusdar Graterol’s 7.2 KOs per nine.

Answers will come by the end of spring training, Friedman said, but he’s not worried. “We definitely have guys we feel very confident could handle it.”

Dodgers Links

David Price will not pitch in 2023, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s retiring, according to Simon Hampton at MLB Trade Rumors.

The frenzy of Winter Meetings has ended, but there’s still plenty for the Dodgers to do before the season begins. Juan Toribio at lists acquiring more starting pitching, a center fielder, and a shortstop as priorities.

Andrew Friedman explains why the Dodgers laid low during Winter Meetings this year, especially after so many high-profile signings in recent years, writes Jack Harris at the Los Angeles Times.

For those interested in the Dodger Stadium gondola project, there will be an in-person public information meeting on the ticket concourse at Union Station tomorrow (December 10) from 10 a.m. to noon and a Zoom meeting (login details here) on Tuesday, December 13 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.