The Dodgers have done almost all it could be expected out of a club in the offseason. The sheer volume and quality of signings and trade acquisitions are off the charts. However, there is always room for more, and the work is never quite done. The bullpen in particular could use an addition, or two.
Assessing the current options, the bullpen is by no means in bad shape. You have Evan Phillips and Brusdar Graterol making up one of the top one-two punches in the National League and beyond them a flurry of intriguing names.
Joe Kelly will return with his filthy yet volatile stuff, Alex Vesia and Caleb Ferguson are both around as quality lefties, something to keep in mind, especially with the departure of Victor González.
However, if there is one position that can always be improved with relative ease, it is the bullpen, and despite being near February, there are plenty of exciting names out there on the market.
Adam Ottavino rhp
2023 stats: 3.21 ERA, 3.55 xERA, 61⅔ IP. 62 K
2024 age: 38
Ottavino is a very familiar face to Dodger fans, spending the bulk of his career in Coors Field. The veteran right-hander left Colorado with a very respectable 3.41 ERA in nearly 400 innings and has spent the past five seasons moving around between both New York teams and the Red Sox.
Ahead of the current season, the right-hander declined a player option with the Mets worth $6.75 million giving a decent line of his expectation for the market.
2023 wasn’t exactly Ottavino’s best campaign, but he still showed he has plenty in the tank. If you count his two seasons with the Mets, Ottavino pitched 127⅓ innings and delivered a 2.62 ERA, mostly on the back of a superb 2022 campaign, which is not to say 2023 wasn’t more than solid.
Jake Diekman lhp
2023 stats: 3.34 ERA, 3.33 xERA, 56⅔ IP, 64 K
2024 age: 37
Tampa has become the organization that when it claims a player with an ERA near 8.00 for a major-league spot, no one bats an eye.
Diekman was off to an atrocious start to 2023 with the White Sox, but the Rays saw something in him and turned the left-hander into one of the more reliable relief options in the AL East. He put up a 2.18 ERA with Tampa Bay, cut his walk rate nearly in half, and struck out 28.6 percent of batters faced for the Rays.
The southpaw was dominant against both sides of the plate, holding righties to an .524 OPS, and likely won’t cost that much, given his volatility in recent seasons.
Liam Hendriks rhp
2023 stats: 5 games, 5 IP, 3 R
2024 age: 35
The Dodgers have made a habit with guys like Blake Treinen, Daniel Hudson, and others, to look for value deals with relievers currently dealing with injuries. Hendriks, when healthy, is one of the more dominant closers in the game, but the veteran will likely miss all of 2024 while recovering from Tommy John surgery.
The veteran closer missed most of last season after undergoing a successful battle against non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
MLB Trade Rumors back in November projected Hendriks for a two-year deal worth $12 million. This is a Dodgers move if I’ve ever seen one, a patient gamble on a potential discount option in 2025 (think Tommy Kahnle from 2021-22 here).