Categorized | Mark Timmons

Bull From The Pen

Bull From The Pen

A strong case could be made that the undoing of the Dodgers’ 2010 season was the bullpen… or lack thereof.  Sure, the hitting in the second half was non-existent, but as a team in NoCal proved, you can win with little hitting , good pitching and a good bullpen.

In 2010, Cory Wade was AWOL, Ramon Troncoso struggled all season as he bounced up and down to AAA, George Sherrill pitched like Cheryl Miller, Ronnie Belisario missed huge amounts of time while being horrible most of the rest of the time, and to say that Jon Broxton’s well–documented meltdowns were of epic proportions, would be an understatement.

In the wasteland that used to be the Dodgers bullpen, only Hong-chih Kuo and Kenley Jansen acquitted themselves.  Well, actually I guess I would have to say that Carlos Monasterios pitched pretty well out of the pen as well, but my point is that the Dodgers’ Pen was Bull in 2010, and I think that it would be a knee-jerk reaction to try and rebuild it.  Ned himself said that bullpen’s were fickle – good one year and bad the next.

As most of you know, I have never had confidence in J-Brox, and this off-season is no different than last – I think the Dodgers should TRADE HIM if they can!  $7 million is a lot for a setup man, but one can only hope that a team like the Cardinals with pitching wizard Dave Duncan would want to try and “fix” Broxton. Beyond Brox, there is Troncoso, Wade, Belisario and several minor leaguers could be bullpen candidates, including Scott Elbert (very likely), Josh Lindblom (don’t let his bad season scare you away), Rubby DeLaRosa, Brent Leach, Travis Schilichting and others.  I think Kuo and Jansen can be co-closers.  While I am not against getting a couple more arms for the pen, I would opt for quality, not quantity (you know, just someone like Paul Quantrill).  Jeff Weaver could still be in the mix because of his versatility.  I know he had a bad year in 2010 (ERA-wise), but remember, bullpens are fickle.

It looks like Scott Elbert’s velocity has come back, judging by reports from the AFL, and I would not be surprised to see him back at 94-95 next season out of the pen.  To improve their bullpen, the Dodgers may not have to look far.  The solutions may already be in-house.


  • Adrian Beltre and Jason Werth both have the same agent (Scott Boreass) and the Dodgers and Angels have both had issues with him, particularly the Angels with Mark-Tex.
  • Buster Olney said he felt that Cliff Lee would get a $138 mil/6-year deal.  No way I would EVER encourage the Dodgers to do that deal!
  • Carl Crawford will probably get 6 -years at around $100 mil.  He’s younger and a better risk.  I would consider that.
  • The pitching that’s out there is a bunch or misfits and retreads beyond Lee – there would a lot of risk – reward too.  Stay tuned….

From MLB Trade Rumors:

  • Instead of the typical 15-day free agent filing period following the World Series, it will be five days.
  • Typically the deadline for a team to offer arbitration to its own free agents has been December 1st; it’s now November 23rd.
  • December 7th has been the deadline for free agents to accept or decline arbitration offers from their old teams; it’s now November 30th.
  • December 12th has been the non-tender deadline; it’s now December 2nd.
  • The above dates are confirmed.  On the unconfirmed side, there is word that the Rule 5 draft may be moved to November 20th.  The Rule 5 draft typically marks the end of the Winter Meetings, but that gathering takes place from December 6-9 this year in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
  • The goal here, according to Stark, is to lengthen the offseason free agent negotiating period, resulting in fewer unsigned players in February and March.

Important Dates:

  • November 7th – Free agents can negotiate with any team
  • November 16th-17th – GM Meetings, Orlando, Florida
  • November 23rd – Deadline for teams to offer arbitration to their own free agents
  • November 30th – Deadline for players to accept or decline arbitration offers from their former teams
  • December 2nd – Deadline for teams to tender contracts to arbitration eligible players
  • December 6th-9th – Winter Meetings, Lake Buena Vista, Florida
  • January 18th – Teams and players exchange salary arbitration figures

About Mark Timmons

When you see the invisible, you can do the impossible!

7 Responses to “Bull From The Pen”

  1. Ken says:

    Can we turn back the clock to pre-Torre, pre-Frank, pre-Fox, Pre-Manny, Pre-Borass and still live the High Life?

    Mark – Can you provide us with a list of LF free agents who might make $3-8 mil next year?

    Starters 3.99, Relievers 4.07 (Not much differrence)

    Any bullpen will be naturally better after Torre leaves.

    Jansen A++
    Kuo A+
    Monasterios A
    Schlicting B+
    Dotel B+
    Heager C+
    Miller C+
    Broxton C+
    Troncoso C+
    Ramon Ortiz C-
    Belisario C-
    Link D+
    Weaver F+
    Sherrill F-
    McDonald F-
    Russ Ortiz F-
    Elbert F-
    Taschner F-

  2. Badger says:

    “I know he had a bad year in 2010 (ERA-wise), but remember, bullpens are fickle.”

    “(don’t let his bad season scare you away)”

    I think these two statements can be applied to nearly the whole pen. Maybe even to the whole team. We have a few very good young players who had bad years in 2010. It might take a team of psychiatrists to figure out all the reasons why it was a team schneid, but it could be that it was “just one of those years”.

    We have good arms in the pen. If all of them come back hungry to improve, we may not need to add anyone. This is a team that needs a LFer, a 3b, a 2b, two starters and for everyone else left from last year to look in the mirror and accept responsibility for their failures.

    If the Dodgers were healthy, they would be players for Lee, Crawford and Dunn. Remember the days when we were handing out huge bags of candy to Kevin Brown, Shawn Green and Jason Schmidt? But the Dodgers are no longer in these conversations. We are likely going to go with B players at those positions and hope like hell a few of them have career years. The gints proved anything is possible.

  3. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Fact is, we can’t re-build the entire team, so we’re definitely going to need bounce-backs, even some leaps forward, from players who under-performed in 2010.

    For now, I’m not going to assume anyone is going to be traded, if only because I have no idea what deals, if any, are actually being contemplated and/or discussed. And relying on rumors, speculation, and the like is a waste of energy and mental effort, especially since my reserves are presently running on fumes. But as I’ve always said, I would trade anyone if the return was favorable (which of course, is in the eyes of the beholder).

    For now I still have Broxton and Loney on the team. And I agree that what we currently have in the pen has the makings of a very formidable group. Things have to fall right, but it’s not unreasonable to think that they will. Irrational HOPE? Maybe.

    We need an outfielder, not necessarily a left-fielder. Kemp can play in either corner as well as in center, and out current right-fielder, Andre Ethier, is probably best suited to play in left. In fact, while he is a slightly sub-standard right-fielder, Ethier would probably be a very good left-fielder, where his good but not great arm would likely play better. For now I will assume that Kemp remains in center, which means we need a corner outfielder. If it’s a left-fielder, Ethier stays in right, and if it’s a right-fielder, Ethier moves to left.

    Third base? Who knows. I guess Beltre is possible, but I’m not very sanguine that it’s going to happen. I don’t know who else is out there via free agency or trade, but I simply hope not to see Casey Blake manning third on opening day. He’s probably valuable off the bench, but not as a starter.

    Second base? Maybe De Jesus. Only time will tell on that one. Maybe there are other alternatives, I just don’t know what they are? And in my mind, Jamey Carroll is not one of them. Like Blake, I see his value off the bench, not in the everyday lineup. Play him everyday, and he gets worn out or exposed, or both.

    I know there might be some who, now that Torre is gone, would like to see us make a run at Hudson. I’m not one of them. I see De Jesus, if he cuts it, allowing the Dodgers to free up money for additions elsewhere, like in the outfield, etc.

    I could see someone like RDLR stepping up into one of the rotation slots. After that we probably have to acquire someone via trade or free agency. Who that will be, and whether or not anyone here will approve, that’s a bridge we’ll have to cross when we get to it.

  4. Badger says:

    I think we may have the money for one or two purchases. That’s a big may as in maybe yes, maybe no. An outfielder….. who out there is going to actually help? Remember, L.A. is a place where bats come to die. A pitcher? Would have a better chance at actually doing well. But, a marginal player will likely give marginal results. Or as Coach Dika said this morning “crap in crap out”.

    I really doubt we are players for any 8 figure contract or Borass client. Even Lilly’s contract was stretched out to where his first year is a 7 figure contract. I think we can expect more of that kind of thing. McPaylater is going to try to get to the new t.v. contract money before he has to really pay anyone.

    So, start scouring the B lists and get good buys Jed.

  5. Joe says:

    Don’t like the Lee deal either. How do you feel about the dodgers targeting someone like Matt Garza in a trade, will Tampa listen and do the dodgers have enough. Seems he could be a nice fit in the dodgers rotation.

  6. Roger Dodger says:

    I saw some of the Arizona Fall League game last night on ESPN. Robinson did hit once that I saw, he chipped a ball into centerfield for a single. But it was not a clean line-drive type, but an excuse me or broken bat kind. But it was a hit.

  7. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Since he didn’t sign with the Dodgers while they had the exclusive negotiating window with him (as did Lilly and Gibbons), I wonder if maybe it’s not a foregone conclusion that the Dodgers will sign Barajas. I believe there are other catchers available, any of which the Dodgers could begin negotiating for as of Sunday. Despite his power, Barajas brings a low batting average, very low OBP, and only threw out 15% of baserunners in 2010. He might sign tomorrow, or maybe it’s not the slam dunk that so many presume.


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