Dodgers sign Jake McGee, bolstering lefty pen options

The Dodgers have inked veteran left-handed reliever Jake McGee to a one-year deal just days before the season is about to start.

McGee was once highly sought after when he was stringing together four years with the Rays from 2012-15 in which he put up a 2.58 ERA and 2.31 FIP in 226.2 innings. He struggled after being traded to the Rockies in 2016, but they still had enough faith to give him a three-year, $27 million contract. Needless to say, that hasn’t worked out, and over the last four years in Colorado, McGee has scuffled to a 4.78 ERA and 4.65 FIP. It’s Coors Field so it’s around league average, but still poor for a reliever and especially one with his expectations.

The Dodgers must be hoping for a resurgence to past form, as he posted his second-lowest K% of his career (19.4%) in 2019 and will be 33. The upside is that he’s still 93-95 mph from the left side and his slider should do better outside of altitude, plus whatever mental break benefit he gets from moving to a more pitcher-friendly abode with a plus defense behind him

As for how he fits on the roster, it makes sense for depth at least, especially with expanded rosters. The Dodgers only have Adam Kolarek and Caleb Ferguson as options from the left side right now (Scott Alexander appears to still be on the mend), and while I like Victor Gonzalez‘s potential in relief, it doesn’t hurt to have a more known quantity in the pen. Speaking of Kolarek, with the new three-batter rule in place in 2020, it seems relevant that McGee does not have much of a split (.669 RH OPS/.694 LH OPS) for his career.

It’s hard to get too worked up one way or another over a one-year flier, but looking at the roster this move makes more sense than you’d think at first glance.

About Chad Moriyama

Chad Moriyama
"A highly rational Internet troll." - Los Angeles Times