Are the Dodgers Building the Majors’ Best Bullpen or the Best Bullpen Ever?

The Dodgers ended last season with a red-hot closer in Kenley Jansen and in Brian WIlson they had one of the game’s best closers serving as the number one set-up man. They also had two darn good lefties in veteran J.P. Howell (2.03 ERRA, 1.05 WHIP), who was unscored upon over his last 11 regular season games and gave up only one run in seven post season games, and rookie Paco Rodriguez (2.32 ERA, 0.90 WHIP over 76 games), but who failed under late season and playoff pressure.

Gone from last year’s bullpen are Ronald Bellisario and Matt Guerrier and Peter Moylan, and hopefully also Brandon League will be elsewhere. Instead, the team will have Wilson from the start of the season, and also another former dominant closer who though in the Cleveland doghouse last year still saved 25 games after saving 75 over the prior two seasons, Chris Perez. Jansen, WIlson, Perez, Howell and Rogriguez could not just be

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baseball’s dominant bullpen next season, but one of the greatest ever assembled.

Sure, when the question of baseball’s best bullpen comes up the quick and easy answer is Atlanta, but they suffered some major injuries last season that may well affect them this coming year, not unlike the Cardinals, who seemed to replace each injured reliever with one

even better. Tampa and Washington also were there last year, and while the Rangers have lost Joe Nathan, they have a slew of talent returning from injuries that could again give them one of baseball’s best bullpen groups.

When the Dodgers’ dominated major league pitching staffs in the early and mid 1960s it was not just due to starting staffs that featured the likes of Sandy Koufax and Don

Drysdale and Johnny Podres and Cluade Osteen and Don Sutton, but a bullpen that included dominant pitchers such as Ron Perranoski and Larry Sherry and Ed Roebuck and Jim Brewer.

I remember when the yankees’ closer was John Wetteland, with a guy named Rivera as the set-up guy. Two decades ago, the Reds were famous for their “Nasty Boys”, a trio of big, rough, hard throwers named Myers, Dibble and Charlton. 40 years ago, Oakland had a bullpen that featured Bobby Locker and Darold Knowles backing up

Rollie Fingers. The 2002 World Champion Angels had a bullpen that featured career years from the likes of Scot Shields and Brendan Donnelly backing up Troy Percival and then late season call-up, K-Rod, 19-year-old Francisco Rodriguez.

These were all fabulous, dominant groups, but the 2014 Los Angeles Dodgers’ bullpen may well keep pace with or even surpass all of them, and any other past bullpen roster.

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