May 10, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Brian Wilson (00) is after pitching the eighth inning against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Patience, Dodgers Fans, the Bullpen will Rebound

When the Dodgers first started their offseason, one of their biggest goals was strengthening their bullpen. General Manager Ned Colletti brought in strong bullpen depth reinforcements in Chris Perez and Jamey Wright, while also resigning key relievers Brian Wilson and J.P. Howell. Perez and Wright were signed to one year deals, Wilson was also signed to a one year deal, but with an option for 2015. Howell signed the biggest contract extension out of the two by signing a 2 year deal. Perez and Wright joined the returning relievers Kenley Jansen, Wilson, Howell, Chris Withrow and Brandon League.

Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

This is Perez’s first season with the Dodgers after pitching most of his career as a closer with the Cardinals and Indians, but struggled last year as closer with the Indians. So for the Dodgers to sign Perez to a one year deal for cheap was a big win because it just adds more experience to our bullpen. To have Perez as our 7th inning man has been great because having him shut the down the 7th inning sets up for Wilson to come in the 8th inning and keep the momentum, but that plan hit a big road bump early this season as Wilson was struggling and had to go to the disabled list. When Wilson returned he was still off, but I have confidence that Wilson will bounce back as he continues to pitch more.

Jansen is one of the two pitchers that has not struggled in the bullpen with the other pitcher being League. They have been remarkable bullpen arms this year, especially League. League signed a three-year extension last year, but tried to do too much in his first season of the contract and Dodgers fans have calling for him to get traded, but I still had faith in League. I knew what kind of stuff he pitches, I mean he showed when he first arrived in LA at the trade deadline and took over the closer role at the end of the season when Jansen was put on the DL. I knew League was going to bounce back. Every pitcher does. It make take a few games to a few months to even a full season, but they always bounce back. League proved it. League wants to give back to the fans, despite pitching terrible last season. He was not ready to give up.

Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Wright returned to the Dodgers after spending last season with the Tampa Bay Rays, where he had his best season in a long time. Wright seemed to get better with age, which is very rare to see from aging pitchers because usually they start to decline. Wright’s season in Tampa is what earned Wright’s first major league contract in a long time. Wright’s return to LA, I believe down the line will pay off because Wright is simply reliable. Now, Wright this season has been having some bad luck as he gets thrusted into complicated situations where the Dodgers lose the game, but good for manager Don Mattingly to continue using him because he usually bounces back the next day with two scoreless innings. As the season goes on, Wright will still get his number called and will be a key piece in the bullpen.

Withrow and League have been dominating this season, but there are times where he has had scares, but that is a part of the game. Props to the young reliever for bouncing back after those scares. Withrow has been so effective that he has basically earned a spot in the bullpen, unlike Paco Rodriguez, who was thought to have earned the right to stay in the big leagues, but got sent down to Triple-A. Dodgers management sent him down because he simply had options and that is what made him the choice to send down in favor of another player. League, on the other hand has been a pleasant surprise for most Dodgers fans, it is great to see to League bounce back from a terrible year. With Paco’s departure, Howell is the only left-handed reliever in the bullpen, but that situation should change soon as Hyun-jin Ryu should returning from the DL soon. Temporary starter, Paul Maholm, is expected to join Howell in the bullpen.

The Dodgers have a really good bullpen, but right now it is going through a big slump, but I prefer the bullpen to go through a slump early in the season, instead of late in the season close to playoffs because you don’t want that slump affecting your chances in the playoffs. Give the bullpen a chance to recover and they will be on their way to become the best bullpen in the majors. It just takes time. It’s a long season. Dodgers fans be patient and be confident that bullpen will just get better. There is no need to talk trash about the bullpen because that is not going to do anything, but drive their morale down. So Dodgers fans, like I said in the post I wrote about League a couple of weeks back, stand by your team and be confident and support your team in every game they play. The more you root for the Dodgers, the more motivated the players will be and will want to play for their fans and bring an overdue championship for the first time since 1988. Let’s go Dodgers!!!

Tags: Dodgers Bullpen Los Angeles Dodgers

  • Pridenpoise

    The bullpen is going to be the downfall of the Dodgers this year, I could care less what you think, Kantley has been terrible, League is going to come crashing back to earth, it’s such a waste to see all this talent go to shit because of our useless bullpen.

    • Julio Ernesto Sanchez

      Are you an actuall dodger fan or did you just jump on the bandonwagon, i don’t mean to offend you but at least have some faith in your team mate. It’s freaking May not September. Last year the whole team struggled including our bullpen and when it got better we went on to win the west by a mile. So have some faith they are all gonna be okay!!

      • Pridenpoise

        I’ve been a Dodger fan, probably longer than you have been alive asshole, hope that doesn’t “offend” you but when some dipshit calls me a bandwagon fan I tend to take it personally. I am well aware of the Dodgers trials and tribulations last year, and I’ve got news for you, if you think that happens every year, maybe it’s you who is the bandwagon fan. I think the Dodgers have a great team but as I stated their bullpen has me worried, and it’s not something that just fixes itself because of the time of year it is, which you seem to believe. I do have faith, it’s just not blind.

        • Julio Ernesto Sanchez

          Dude relax it was just a simple question but why always see things so negative. And why do you have to get so agressive right away i mean you don’t even know me and your calling me an asshole just because i asked you a simple question. And i know its not going to be fixed by time but chuck crim and honeycutt are going to sort things out. And its a long season its a marathon not a sprint so relax dude no need to insult anyone you could have just answered my question by saying i’m bleeding blue since 19-something without any aggression we’re fans of the same awesome team we should be disscusing and not fighting so cool down

          • Pridenpoise

            Dude it was not a simple question, you insult me by calling me a bandwagon fan, and then expect me to have dialogue with you about the Dodgers, a team I have been a fan of since Fernando mania, remember him, how about Steve Sax, probably not, anyways. Next time you want talk don’t insult people, or if you do when I call you an ASSHOLE, don’t be surprised, I’m entitled to MY opinion just like you are yours, even if your opinion includes the tired cliches of the season is a marathon not a sprint. Will the Dodgers bullpen be okay, that remains to be seen, it is the weakest part of the team, but I’m not going to pretend that theres nothing wrong with the team, just because you see things through rose coloured glasses. You come across as a guy who wants everyone to get a trophy at the end of the season, the participants, winners, and losers. You want me to cool down, well you don’t know me so don’t insult me, and when you do don’t be shocked when you get called a Jerk, A-hole, etc.

  • LasordasLair

    Play nice gentlemen