Friday, February 8, 2008 preview: Relievers

The second-to-last version of the upcoming season preview focuses on the bullpen. For the Dodgers, this is definitely one of their strengths. With a great closer and setup man, they can easily turn games into 7 inning affairs.

Takashi Saito has turned into one of the most reliable closers in the game. As the article points out, it's amazing how fast people have forgotten about Eric Gagne. Well, maybe not so much forgotten, but more that they aren't stuck in the past and wishing he was still there. Already with 63 saves in 2 seasons, he's bumped his way up into the category of elite closers like Hoffman, Papelbon, Rivera, and Nathan. Not bad for a guy that wasn't even on the roster to start the 2006 season.

Then there's Jonathan Broxton, who's still only 23, yet is quickly earning a reputation as one of the top setup men in baseball. With the exception of his September meltdown last year, he's been flawless. Should Saito ever go down, they should barely skip a beat sliding him in there.

Joe Beimel is the primary lefty, with Tom Martin and/or Mike Myers possibly joining him. Rudy Seanez has been resigned, and has provided solid innings for a 39-year-old. Scott Proctor will continue to be a workhorse, more so because of Joe Torre's love for him. The rest of the 'pen could include names like John Meloan, Eric Stultz, Yhency Brazoban, and Eric Hull.

Hopefully, the bottom end of the rotation won't be as crippled and ineffective as they were last year, so the bullpen will not be overworked.

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