Can the Dodgers find a second lefty for the bullpen?
A closed shop, right? Barring injury, the Dodgers’ 25-man roster seems almost boringly set.
Yet a month before the start of spring training, it’s possible there could be one opening. Anyway, the Dodgers at least have to consider adding a second left-hander to their bullpen.
At the moment, Scott Elbert is their only lefty reliever. Elbert delivered his breakout season last year (2.43 ERA, 1.23 WHIP). Most teams, however, prefer having two lefties in their pen. And it’s here where things get dicey.
The Dodgers have no obvious second left-handed candidate. And if they were to uncover one, then promising right-hander Josh Lindblom (2.73, 1.04) might be pushed out. Unless Blake Hawksworth’s minor elbow surgery proves a bigger challenge than anticipated.
"There’s some competition in the bullpen," Colletti said. "[Michael] Antonini has a chance to do it. The six-year guys. We may add a couple guys in the next three or four weeks."
Antonini, 26, is the left-hander who came from the Mets in trade for shortstop Chin-Lung Hu a little over a year ago. He’s a career starter who has spent five years in the minors. He spent all of last season at double-A Chattanooga, going 10-9 with a 4.01 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP in 27 starts.
There’s some intrigue there, if hardly the breathless kind, but it still beats those six-year guys the Dodgers have accumulated: John Grabow, Wil Ledezma and Albert Castillo.
-- Castillo is 36, originally signed by the Giants in 1994 and took until 2008 to break in with the Orioles. This is his ninth organization. In parts of the past four major-league seasons, he is 3-0 with a 4.33 ERA and 1.52 WHIP, but left-handed batters have hit .296 against him. Last year he appeared in 17 games with the Diamondbacks (2.31, 1.46).
-- Grabow is 33 and a veteran of nine major-league seasons, but struggled something awful the last two years with the Cubs (5.52, 1.63). For his career, lefties have hit .262 against him.
-- Ledezma turns 31 on Saturday, and like Grabow, has spent parts of nine seasons in the majors, though none were impressive. For his career, he is 15-25 with a fat 5.40 ERA and 1.61 WHIP and lefties have hit .303 against him.
There’s not much there. Manager Don Mattingly has said repeatedly he doesn’t care what arm they throw with, as long as they can get left-handed hitters out. It was only 27 at-bats, but left-handed hitters batted .370 last season against Lindblom.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Photo: Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times