A year ago, the Dodgers’ bullpen lacked experience. Javy Guerra and Kenley Jansen, the primary ninth and eighth-inning pitchers, had little more than two years’ service time between them. Josh Lindblom and Scott Elbert had only become full-time major league pitchers the year before.
So the Dodgers kept Todd Coffey and Mike MacDougal on their Opening Day roster despite brutal springs and signed Jamey Wright, a 37-year-old non-roster invitee. (Wright worked out, MacDougal didn’t, and Coffey had season-ending elbow surgery in July.)
This year, it seems like the need for veteran help is not as great. Jansen and Guerra are a year older and the closer, Brandon League, made his major-league debut in 2004. So did Matt Guerrier. J.P. Howell debuted in 2005. Ronald Belisario turned 30 in December. They may be joined by graybeards Ted Lilly, Chris Capuano and/or Aaron Harang.
“We’re still fairly young out there,” manager Don Mattingly said, “so it’s nice to have leadership out there in the ‘pen, guys who have been out there for a season and played on some championship-type teams. I’m not opposed to having experience out there for those guys. Brandon’s fairly young still at the closer role. Obviously the guys setting him up … are younger. There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of experience out there.”
Still, it seems like experience alone won’t get Gregg and Moylan onto the Opening Day roster — both will need a strong spring training.