Well that didn’t take long. As soon as news broke that the Los Angeles Dodgers were sending lefty reliever Caleb Ferguson to the New York Yankees in exchange for two Minor Leaguers, we figured that L.A. would be in the market to replace Ferguson’s spot in the bullpen. Turns out they already have their man: Per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Dodgers are bringing back hard-throwing righty Ryan Brasier on a two-year, $9 million deal.
It’s easy to understand why, given how drastically Brasier turned things around upon landing with the Dodgers last June. After posting a 5.78 ERA in 2022 and an even worse 7.29 mark over the first two months of 2023 as a member of the Red Sox, the righty appeared on the verge of flaming out of the Majors entirely. Los Angeles picked him up off the scrap heap, signing him to a Minor League deal and assigning the veteran to their Arizona Complex League team. By the end of the month he was in the Majors, and from July 1 onward, he was one of the most dominant relievers in the entire sport — Brasier allowed just two earned runs in his final 34.1 innings, the second-best ERA in the league over that stretch behind teammate Brusdar Graterol.
Brasier will turn 37 in August, and relievers — particularly relievers pushing 40 — are a notoriously volatile bunch from year to year. But the Dodgers have among the best pitching developments track records of any organization in baseball, and the results they got from the righty last year were pretty undeniable (and backed up under the hood). If there’s a concern here, it’s that swapping Ferguson for Brasier leaves L.A. a little light on lefty options in the bullpen. But Alex Vesia is still around, and the team did pick up left-hander Matt Gage from the Yankees in the Ferguson deal — Gage is pretty unproven, but there’s reason to be optimistic that he can be a legit MLB option, especially in this org. Plus, there’s still plenty of time for Friedman to keep wheeling and dealing as he wraps up a monster offseason.