The Dodgers Have Many Options for the Closer

Thursday, February 18, 2021
Copyrighted by Sarah Morris, 2021

As soon as spring training began, the media asked Dodger manager Dave Roberts, “Who will be the closer in the 2021 season?”

Roberts said, “Kenley Jansen.”

Every commentary writer rushed for his computer to write an article to analyze Roberts’ decision. One of the so-called Dodger fans on Facebook said, “Roberts should be drug tested.

I thought the question was unfair, and I would have answered the same way even though I think Jansen is finished as Dodger closer. Jansen has 312 saves during his 12-year Major League career. His natural cutter has baffled thousands of Major-League batters.

While Jansen lost a couple of mile-per-hour on his fastball and his cutter did not have enough movement to fool any Major-League hitter, he dominated the opponent until September. Then, he was a disaster.

Everyone knows the Dodgers need a new closer, but it is too early to know which Dodger pitcher will emerge as the new closer for the Dodgers. They have many extraordinarily talented and qualified relievers for the most elite role in the bullpen.

Blake Treinen is the most logical choice for the Dodger closer. At 32, he has 142 career saves. His sinker is almost impossible to hit. While Treinen is the best choice for the closer, he is a superb eighth-inning setup man.

Without Pedro Báez who signed with the Houston Astros as a free agent, the Dodger bullpen does not have a defined experienced setup man. Unless a starter goes eight innings, a rarity in 2021, the Dodgers need a setup man. If the team does not have a lead in the ninth, it does not need a closer. Last week President Andrew Friedman traded away Dylan Floro.

Joe Kelly, entering his last year of the contract, has a long history of wildness. He has the quality of pitches to be a great closer as well as a terrific attitude. However, no closer can have control problems.

Many Dodger fans want Julio Urìas to be the closer; after all, he closed the crucial victories of the NLCS and the World Series. While he would be a wonderful closer, he should be a starter who probably will win a Cy Young Award someday. He has four Major-League-quality pitches.

To me, Dustin May should be the Dodger closer. Yes, at 23, he does not have any experience as a closer, but he will be a great one. With his flame-red long hair, May looks like a fierce figure on the mound. His 6-foot-6-inch figure shortens the distance between the mound and hitter. His 99-miles-per-hour fastball and slider usually make many hitters look foolish. Remember Manny Machado.

About a month from now, the Dodgers and their fans will know which reliever will close for the Dodgers.

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