Dodgers building a nice rotation in the bullpen
Some teams are building a bullpen by signing pitchers who have been relief pitchers for most of their careers. For example, the Rockies have signed Bryan Shaw, Jake McGee, and Wade Davis in the past month. Combined those three pitchers have made zero starts over the past three years. The Rockies will be paying them a combined $100M over the next three years. That is one way to build a bullpen. Buy bonafide relief pitchers.
The Dodgers are going about it a bit different. Last summer they traded for Tony Cingrani who …………damn, I thought Cingrani had started a few games for the Reds last year and a bunch in 2016 but that is not the case. Cingrani has not started a game since 2015. It is possible the premise for my column is going to blow up in my face. Still, we can say that Cingrani is definitely a converted major league starter who has made thirty major league starts.
Let’s try again.
How about Tom Koehler, that seems like a safe bet. Koehler started thirteen out of seventeen games last year. The reason the Dodgers traded for him was because of his success as a relief pitcher for Toronto, but we are talking only 14 games. Overall Koehler has started 133 out of 161 games. That works.
Kenley Jansen – Nope, converted catcher though
Pedro Baez – Nope, converted 3rd baseman though
Kimi Garcia – Nope
Scott Alexander – Nope
Adam Liberatore – Nope
Eduardo Paredes – Nope
Josh Fields – Nope
Ross Stripling – Yup, Ross made fourteen starts in 2016 and two starts in 2017. Woot
Brock Stewart – Yup, Brock has started nine of his twenty-four major league games. Woot
Wilmer Font – Yup, Font started every game he pitched in the minors last year.
So what do we have? We know for sure that Tom Koehler and Tony Cingrani are going to be in the bullpen as long as they are healthy.
It does seem a stretch to have Ross, Brock, and Wilmer also in the bullpen. Ross and Brock could both be starting in AAA, though I think both of them would be more valuable to the team if they are utilized out of the bullpen unless Baez and Garcia come back strong this year.
Font is in a pickle because he is out of minor league options. Even though he didn’t impress in Sept it was only three games and the Dodgers did add him to the 40 man roster. I’m in his corner and hope he kills it this spring and makes the team and becomes the next name of a big minor league starter who converted to the bullpen and created a major league career. Maybe the next Latroy Hawkins.
I may have jumped the gun with this article but come July 20th, if the bullpen consists of Koehler, Cingrani, Stewart, Stripling, and Font, I’ll look back at this and smile. If they are any good.
I’m also curious what the Dodgers are going to do with Henry Owens and Manny Banuelos who are both career minor league starters that the Dodger signed this winter. They are both WAL (Wild Ass Lefties) who were once top pitching prospects. Manny was ranked as high as number 12 overall in 2012. Owens ranked as high as #19 overall in 2015. History has proven that a tweak or two could change any WAL into a weapon (Andrew Miller). They both have legit major league stuff, they just don’t have command or control which is why there were available. These are the guys you gamble on. I don’t know if the Dodger plan is to convert them to relief or not but it would sense given that Dodgers have Buehler, White, Santana, and Alveraz already in the system, not to mention Julio Urias as starters for the future. Only Buehler should be counted on to make starts in 2018.