Previewing The 2022-2023 Free Agent Class: Right-Handed Relief

MLBTR has gone around the diamond with a position-by-position look at this winter’s free agent class. With all the hitters and the starting pitchers now covered, it’s time for a look at the relievers. Just about every team will be looking to make an investment in improving its bullpen, and they will have a choice of all options, from veteran journeymen to a lights-out closer who could get a record-setting contract.

The Cream of the Crop

Díaz has had some ups and downs in his career but he reached incredible heights in 2022. He pitched 62 innings with a tiny ERA of 1.31. He did that by striking out 118 batters, an incredible rate of 50.2%. He also kept his walks at a reasonable 7.7% and got grounders on 46.9% of balls in play. He even added 2 2/3 innings of scoreless work in the postseason before the Mets were eliminated. He was the best reliever in baseball this year and it could be argued that he’s the best in quite some time.

He hasn’t been quite this good at all times. He had a 5.59 ERA in 2019, for instance, and a 3.45 mark last year. However, there are reasons to be skeptical of those numbers. He allowed a .377 batting average on balls in play in 2019 and saw 26.8% of fly balls go over the fence. Both of those numbers are outliers relative to his career, leading to all the advanced metrics to view him as worthy of much better. Last year, his 67.8% strand rate caused a similar though less-extreme disparity. Although his ERA was wobbled a few times, his xERA, xFIP and SIERA all suggest he’s been much more consistent than you might think at first glance.

Due to the volatile nature of relief pitching, teams generally avoid spending lavishly on the bullpen. The largest ever guarantee for a reliever was the five years and $86MM secured by Aroldis Chapman. Díaz is going into free agency at the same age as Chapman was then, with a résumé that’s similarly dominant. Add in six years of inflation, increased luxury tax thresholds, a free-spending Mets team and Díaz’s marketable entrance and there’s a chance baseball could see it’s first ever $100MM reliever.

Potential Closers

Jansen was a free agent one year ago, eventually settling for a one-year, $16MM deal with the Braves. Though he’s not quite at the same level he was at while at his peak with the Dodgers, he was still plenty effective. He threw 64 innings in 2022 with a 3.38 ERA, striking out 32.7% of batters face while walking 8.5% and getting grounders on 29.9% of balls in play. That was all while functioning as the team’s closer, racking up 41 saves on the year. Naturally, Jansen’s velocity is trending downwards as he ages, but his fastball still averaged 93.6 this year. That’s just a few ticks below his peak of 96 which was back in 2014.

Though the Braves have said they would love to have Jansen back, it seems they already acquired their replacement closer by grabbing Raisel Iglesias at the trade deadline. With Iglesias under contract for three more seasons and the Braves needing their funds to address shortstop and perhaps left field, it seems possible that Jansen gets a new jersey for 2023. Given his age, he won’t require a lengthy commitment and could hold plenty of appeal for teams that want to bolster the top of the bullpen chart but are scared off the Díaz market.

Kimbrel is likely the most divisive name on this list. He’s already established himself as one of the best closers of all-time, with his 394 career saves placing him seventh on the all-time list. However, he’s been remarkably inconsistent over the past four years. After the 2018 season, Kimbrel turned down a qualifying offer from the Red Sox but teams were apparently unwilling to surrender a draft pick to sign him. He languished on the open market until after the draft, when the Cubs signed him to a three-year deal with an option for 2022.

Kimbrel was awful in both 2019 and 2020, posting ERAs of 6.53 and 5.28, respectively. In 2021, he seemed to get back on track, posting an elite 0.49 ERA before getting traded across town to the White Sox. He then put up a 5.09 ERA on the other side of town, but the Sox still picked up his option and traded him to the Dodgers. In L.A. this year, Kimbrel posted a 3.75 ERA with a 27.7% strikeout rate, 10.8% walk rate and 39.7% ground ball rate. Those numbers aren’t dreadful, yet Kimbrel lost his hold on the closer’s job throughout the season and didn’t make the postseason roster.

His market will be tough to peg and could depend on what Kimbrel wants. Is he looking for maximum dollars? A spot on a competitive team? A closer’s role? It might be hard to get all three, based on his recent struggles, which could put him in a position of making tough choices. Would he rather be a closer on a rebuilding team, hoping to get flipped to a contender at the deadline? Or would he prefer to sign with a contender right away, even if he’ll be farther down the depth chart?

Tommy John surgery limited Robertson to just 18 2/3 total innings over 2019-2021 but he bounced back with aplomb in 2022. He signed a one-year deal with the Cubs that came with a $3.5MM base and $1.5MM in incentives. He threw 40 1/3 innings with the Cubs with a 2.23 ERA, 30.9% strikeout rate, 11.5% walk rate and 48.4% ground ball rate, racking up 14 saves in the process.

He got flipped to the Phillies at the deadline and continued along similar lines. His 16.2% walk rate wasn’t ideal, but he still managed a 2.70 ERA in 23 1/3 innings while striking out 30.3% of batters and getting ground balls on 43.4% of balls in play. As the Phillies charged through the postseason, he was able to add even more innings, despite missing the NLDS due to a freak calf injury sustained while celebrating Bryce Harper’s home run in the Wild Card series. He’s already expressed his desire to return for another season in 2023.

Solid Leverage Arms

Estevez missed the entirety of 2018 due to injury but has been a mainstay of the Rockies’ bullpen in the four seasons since then. He racked up at least 10 holds in each of the past three full seasons as well as six in the shortened 2020 campaign. He also scattered 14 saves across those four seasons. He had a very unfortunate 7.50 ERA in 2020 but was at 3.75 in 2019, 4.38 in 2021 and 3.47 in 2022, not bad for a pitcher making Coors Field his home. If you’re wondering about the effect of the ballpark, he has a career 5.57 ERA at home versus a 3.51 on the road.

The 2016 American League Rookie of the Year missed all of 2019 due to Tommy John surgery and then was awful in 2020. Switching from the rotation to the bullpen paid dividends as he put up a 2.97 ERA in 2021 and a 3.39 mark in 2022. He doesn’t have huge strikeout stuff, with his 22.1% rate this year slightly below average for relievers. However, he does have an ability to keep hitters off balance, finishing this year in the 91st percentile in terms of missing barrels. That’s generally come in high-leverage situations, as he earned 17 saves over the past two seasons along with 34 holds.

Givens has eight seasons of MLB experience under his belt and has been fairly consistent in that time. He posted a 1.80 ERA in his debut but has been mostly in the 3.00-4.00 range since then. In 2022, he split his time between the Cubs and Mets, throwing 61 /3 innings with a 3.38 ERA, 27.3% strikeout rate, 9.6% walk rate and 42.8% ground ball rate. He notched a pair of saves and seven holds, bringing his career tallies to 31 and 84, respectively.

A consistently solid late-game arm for the Mets, Lugo has five sub-4.00 ERA seasons in his seven-year MLB career. He’s posted mid-3.00’s marks in each of the past two seasons, striking batters out and inducing ground-balls at slightly above-average rates. Lugo’s swinging strike rate bizarrely dipped in 2022, but he’s typically adept at getting whiffs behind a fastball in the 94 MPH range and a curveball with top-of-the-scale spin.

Martin had a quietly fabulous season split between the Cubs and Dodgers. He worked to a 3.05 ERA through 56 innings, punching out an elite 32.9% of opponents against a remarkably low 2.2% walk percentage. The veteran righty has been one of the game’s more underrated middle innings arms for the past four seasons. He virtually never hands out a free pass, owns a fastball in the mid-90s and picks up strikeouts and grounders. Martin’s age is the drawback, as he’ll turn 37 next June, but his performance might be enough to land him a multi-year deal.

A typically solid middle innings arm for the Twins and Mets, May had a down 2022 campaign. He lost a couple months after being diagnosed with a stress reaction in his throwing arm, limiting him to 25 innings across 26 appearances. May posted an unimpressive 5.04 ERA during that stretch, although he paired it with an above-average 27% strikeout rate and a solid 8.1% walk percentage. He still misses bats and averages north of 96 MPH on his fastball, so he should be a solid bounceback target.

Montero rebounded from a rough 2021 season to post a stellar platform campaign in Houston. The righty soaked up 68 1/3 innings, pitching to a 2.37 ERA while fanning 27% of opponents against an 8.5% walk percentage. Montero has also posted a grounder rate above 50% in each of the last two seasons, and his average fastball sits just a bit below 97 MPH. He’s already 32, but that combination of excellent run prevention and accompanying underlying marks should make him one of the more appealing relievers in this year’s class.

Ottavino has had some ups and downs late in his career, but he was downright excellent in 2022. He gave the Mets 65 2/3 innings of 2.06 ERA ball, striking out 30.6% of opponents against a 6.2% walk rate that’s his lowest mark since 2016. Ottavino has never had much trouble missing bats, but he’s battled wobbly control at times. That wasn’t an issue this year, and he thoroughly dominated same-handed opponents. Righties mustered a pitiful .160/.226/.253 line in 177 plate appearances against him. Lefties have long given him trouble, but he’s at least a high-end situational option. He should beat the $4MM guarantee he received in free agency last winter.

Wild Cards

Bradley moved from the rotation to the bullpen in 2017 and then had five consecutive solid seasons. He signed a one-year deal with the Angels for 2022 but dealt with injuries for much of the year. He ended up throwing 18 2/3 innings when able to take the mound and had a 4.82 ERA, a step back from his previous work. There was likely some bad luck in there, especially from his 48.7% strand rate, but his strikeout rate has been below 20% for the past two seasons after being around 25-27% in the previous four. Perhaps he just needs to get healthy in order to rebound but he’ll probably have to settle for less than the $3.75MM he got from the Angels a year ago.

Castro has been bouncing around the league for the past eight seasons, spending time with the Blue Jays, Rockies, Orioles, Mets and Yankees in that time. Those clubs were likely tantalized by Castro’s combination of strikeouts and ground balls, as he has gotten grounders on 49% of balls in play in his career while punching out 25% of batters faced over the past four seasons. However, control has been a consistent issue, with Castro sitting on a career walk rate of 12.3% and having never been below 10% in any single season except for a short stint back in 2016. He’s gotten some leverage work in his career, racking up 46 holds, but never more than nine in a single season. He hasn’t quite earned enough trust to be considered a proper setup option, but he’s still relatively young and could find another gear with a bit more command.

Giles was one of the best relievers in baseball as recently as 2019, when he earned 23 saves for the Blue Jays while pitching to a 1.87 ERA and 39.9% strikeout rate. However, it’s been a rough few years since then, as he only pitched in 3 2/3 innings in 2020 before eventually requiring Tommy John surgery. He missed all of 2021 but seemed to be on track to return to action in 2022. Unfortunately, a finger injury kept him out of action until June, when he threw 4 1/3 innings before returning to the IL with shoulder tightness. He was designated for assignment and signed a minor league deal with the Giants, getting released in August. He’s only been able to throw eight total MLB innings over the past three seasons but was excellent the last time he was healthy enough to get a meaningful stretch of playing time.

Green has pitched for the Yankees in each of the past seven seasons as an effective setup man. He has 11 saves and 52 holds while putting up a 3.17 ERA, 32.5% strikeout rate, 8.2% walk rate and 32.3% ground ball rate. He would have been one of the highlights of this list if not for ill-timed Tommy John surgery. Of course, there’s never a good time for a pitcher to require TJS, but news of Green’s procedure came out in May, when he was just a few months away from his first trip to free agency. He will likely miss at least the first half of 2023, depending on his recovery. Pitchers in this situation will sometimes agree to a back-loaded two-year deal, with the signing team aware they are unlikely to recoup much return on their investment in the first season.

Hunter missed most of 2021 due to back surgery and eventually settled for a minor league deal with the Mets. He later cracked the club’s big league roster and tossed 22 1/3 innings with a 2.42 ERA, 23.4% strikeout rate, 6.4% walk rate and 40% ground ball rate. He’s generally been a solid performer, including this year, but he hasn’t eclipsed 25 innings in a season since 2018. He will certainly garner interest but the durability issues will likely create some hesitancy.

Jackson had a breakout season in 2021, throwing 63 2/3 innings for Atlanta with a 1.98 ERA, 26.8% strikeout rate, 11.1% walk rate and 52.5% ground ball rate. He also added 8 2/3 more frames in the postseason on the way to becoming a World Series champion. Unfortunately, he required Tommy John surgery in April of 2022, which wiped out the entire season for him. He should be able to return in 2023, though perhaps not for the entire season, depending on his recovery.

Johnson spent 2019 in Japan and pitched well enough to get himself a two-year deal with a club option from the Padres. Over 2020 and 2021, he tossed 78 2/3 innings for the Friars with a 3.09 ERA, 32.1% strikeout rate, 11.1% walk rate and 33% ground ball rate. The club had a $3MM option for 2022 that came with a $1MM buyout, making it a fairly easy call to trigger that net $2MM decision. Unfortunately, Johnson landed on the IL in April due to right forearm tendinitis and didn’t return until September 10. He only threw 14 1/3 innings this year and had a 5.02 ERA in that time. That’s a small sample and his rate stats were relatively unchanged, meaning that he might be able to recapture his previous form.

Kahnle hasn’t pitched much over the past few seasons. He threw just one inning in 2020 and underwent Tommy John surgery at the end of that year, knocking him out for all of last year. Kahnle made it back this past April, but he missed roughly four months battling renewed arm troubles. He managed just 12 2/3 regular season innings, but he looked the part of a high-leverage arm during that time. Kahnle averaged almost 96 MPH on his fastball and pitched to a 2.84 ERA with a 30.4% strikeout rate. He’s a high-risk, high-upside play but was one of the game’s best relievers with the White Sox and Yankees between 2016-17.

Knebel parlayed a 2021 rebound with the Dodgers into a $10MM guarantee with the Phillies last winter. The former Brewers closer didn’t match his best numbers. His 3.43 ERA across 44 2/3 innings was fine, but Knebel only struck out 21.1% of opponents while walking batters at a massive 14.4% clip. He was diagnosed with a tear in his shoulder capsule in August, ending his season. Knebel also lost roughly three months to lat issues in 2021 and missed 2019 rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.

A starter for most of his career, Williams appeared in 30 games in 2022 with 21 of those being relief appearances. He posted quality results over his 89 2/3 innings, registering a 3.21 ERA along with a 22.6% strikeout rate, 6.2% walk rate and 36.2% ground ball rate. He could garner interest as a reliever but could also get another shot at a rotation job.

Depth Options

  • Tyler Beede (30): Once a well-regarded prospect, Beede has yet to click in the majors. In 2022, he split his time between the Giants and Pirates, making five starts but coming out of the bullpen most of the time. He had a 5.14 ERA on the year while striking out just 13.7% of batters faced. He was designated for assignment and cleared waivers in September.
  • Jhoulys Chacin (35): Chacin was decent enough in 2021 that the Rockies re-signed him for one year and $1.25MM. Unfortunately, 2022 was a nightmare, with Chacin posting a 7.61 ERA in 47 1/3 innings. He was released in September and would have to settle for minor league deals this winter.
  • Jesse Chavez (39): Chavez signed with the Cubs on a minor league/split deal and ended up also pitching for the Angels and Braves. Between the three clubs, he threw 69 1/3 innings with a 3.76 ERA, 25.3% strikeout rate and 6.8% walk rate. His age will limit him to one-year deals but he’s still plenty effective out there.
  • Steve Cishek (37): 2022 was Cishek’s 13th MLB campaign, which he spent with the Nationals. He tossed 66 1/3 innings of 4,21 ERA ball. He still got strikeouts at a solid 25.8% clip, though his 11 home runs surrendered were a career worst. He could potentially get a somewhat similar contract to the one-year, $1.75MM deal he signed with the Nats last offseason, though he has also considered retiring.
  • Alex Colome (34): Colome was a solid closer from 2016 to 2020 but is coming off a second straight poor season. He had a 4.15 ERA in 2021 and saw that climb to 5.74 here in 2022. He played this year on a one-year, $4.1MM deal with the Rockies but will surely have to settle for less in 2023.
  • Jharel Cotton (31): Cotton tossed 43 innings between the Twins and Giants with a 3.56 ERA, 21.5% strikeout rate, 11% walk rate and 29.4% ground ball rate. The Giants put him on waivers in October, with Cotton clearing and electing free agency.
  • Tyler Danish (28): Danish only had 13 innings of MLB experience before 2022, when he logged 40 1/3 for the Red Sox. He put up a 5.13 ERA in that time while striking out just 18.5% of batters faced but limiting walks to a 6.9% clip. He cleared waivers in October and elected free agency.
  • Tyler Duffey (32): Duffey has long been a solid member of the Twins’ bullpen but had a rough 2022. His ERA shot up to 4.91 as he gave up eight homers in just 44 innings. His strikeout rate also fell to 21.1% after being above 30% in 2019 and 2020. He was released in August, eventually signing minor league deals with the Rangers and Yankees.
  • Jeurys Familia (33): Familia has a long track record of effective relief work but the wheels came off in 2022. He split his time between the Phillies and Red Sox and put up a combined 6.90 ERA in 44 1/3 innings. Boston designated him for assignment in September, with Familia rejecting an outright assignment and electing free agency.
  • Will Harris (38): Harris hasn’t pitched since May of 2021 after undergoing surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome. He was a very effective reliever almost a decade prior to that, but given his age and recent history, it’s unlikely teams will guarantee him significant dollars or a roster spot.
  • Heath Hembree (34): Hembree has had some good seasons in the past but hasn’t posted an ERA below 5.50 since 2019. In 2022, he split his time between the Pirates and Dodgers, throwing 22 innings with a 7.36 ERA. He was designated for assignment by the Dodgers in September before clearing waivers and electing free agency.
  • Dominic Leone (32): Leone posted a 4.01 ERA through 49 1/3 innings with the Giants this year. He didn’t have eye-catching strikeout and walk marks, but he induced swinging strikes at a fantastic 18.1% clip. He’s an interesting buy-low target, although he was let go in September after hitting the injured list with an elbow issue.
  • Ian Kennedy (38): Kennedy signed with the Diamondbacks last offseason, but his stint in the desert didn’t go as planned. He posted a 5.36 ERA across 50 1/3 innings while allowing almost two home runs per nine innings.
  • Mike Mayers (31): Mayers was really good over 2020 and 2021, throwing 105 innings with a 3.34 ERA and 30.5% strikeout rate. He couldn’t sustain it in 2022, however, as his strikeout rate dropped to 20.2% and his ERA jumped to 5.68. The Angels designated him for assignment in September.
  • Keynan Middleton (29): Middleton pitched for the Diamondbacks in 2022, logging 17 frames with a 5.29 ERA. His 4.3% walk rate in that time was excellent, though he also allowed five homers in that stretch.
  • Darren O’Day (40): The submariner O’Day put up a 4.15 ERA across 21 2/3 innings with the Braves this season. Despite a mid-80s fastball, he still misses bats thanks to his unconventional arm angle.
  • Wily Peralta (34): Peralta put up a 2.58 ERA through 38 1/3 innings for the Tigers. It wasn’t supported by his lackluster strikeout and walk rates, and Detroit cut him loose in August.
  • David Phelps (36): Phelps soaked up 63 2/3 frames for the Blue Jays with a 2.83 ERA. He had a useful 23.5% strikeout rate, but he walked batters at an elevated 11.4% clip and was extremely fortunate to only surrender two home runs despite a modest 35.5% grounder percentage.
  • Erasmo Ramirez (33): Ramirez was a capable long relief option for the Nationals. He absorbed 86 1/3 innings over 60 outings, putting up a 2.92 ERA in spite of a modest 17.6% strikeout rate.
  • Noe Ramirez (33): Ramirez posted an ERA of exactly 3.00 in both 2020 and 2021 but saw that number jump to 5.22 in 2022. His strikeout rate actually increased, but he also allowed more walks and more homers.
  • Garrett Richards (35): Richards signed with the Rangers in Spring Training. He was let go in August after putting up a 5.27 ERA through 42 2/3 innings. Richards induced ground-balls at a productive 52.6% clip but didn’t miss many bats.
  • Hansel Robles (32): Robles was hit hard in Boston, posting a 5.84 ERA across 24 2/3 innings with subpar strikeout and walk numbers. He was released in August and finished the year in Triple-A with the Dodgers.
  • Sergio Romo (40): The veteran slider specialist pitched 18 innings between the Mariners and Blue Jays this year. He gave up a 7.50 ERA and was unsigned for the second half.
  • Hirokazu Sawamura (35): Sawamura put up a 3.73 ERA through 50 2/3 innings for the Red Sox. He throws hard and got a fair number of ground-balls, but he didn’t have especially strong strikeout and walk numbers. Boston released him in September.
  • Bryan Shaw (35): Shaw’s a bullpen workhorse, but his 2022 season with the Guardians was unspectacular. He allowed a 5.40 ERA through 58 1/3 innings and was outrighted off the 40-man roster just before the playoffs.
  • Joe Smith (39): A submariner, Smith had some success as recently as 2019. He’s had a tough go the past couple years, including a 4.61 ERA across 27 1/3 innings with the Twins in 2022. Minnesota released him in August.
  • Craig Stammen (39): A veteran grounder specialist, Stammen has soaked up plenty of innings for the Padres in recent years. His 2022 season wasn’t his best, as he allowed a 4.43 ERA over 40 2/3 innings. He still induced grounders on half the batted balls he surrendered, but he gave up a number of homers and was scratched for the playoffs.
  • Hunter Strickland (34): Strickland spent the year in Cincinnati, posting a 4.91 ERA through 62 1/3 frames. He throws in the mid-90s but had an 11.6% walk rate.
  • Vince Velasquez (31): Velasquez came out of the bullpen for 18 of 27 appearances with the White Sox this year. The former Phillies starter logged a 4.25 ERA in 36 innings of relief.
  • J.B. Wendelken (30): Wendelken had a really nice stretch of results from 2018 to 2020 but put up an ERA of 4.33 in 2021 and then 5.28 in 2022. His 29.2% strikeout rate from 2020 dropped to 20.1% and then 17.2% in the two most recent seasons. He was designated for assignment by the Diamondbacks in July and seemed to get back on track in the minors, posting a 2.63 ERA with 35.1% strikeout rate.
  • Matt Wisler (30): Wisler pitched 44 innings with the Rays. He had an excellent 2.25 ERA but was nevertheless let go in September. That’s largely an acknowledgement of his modest 19.9% strikeout rate and a 10.8% swinging strike rate that, while decent, is down a few points from prior seasons.
  • Nick Wittgren (32): Wittgren worked 29 innings for the Cardinals this year. He posted a 5.90 ERA with a 12.7% strikeout percentage and was released in July.

Players With Options

Acquired by the Blue Jays from the Marlins at the deadline, Bass is coming off the best season of his career. He put up a 1.54 ERA in 70 1/3 innings between the two clubs. Some of that is good luck, as he had a .256 BABIP and 89.5% strand rate. However, he also struck out 26.5% of batters faced, almost four ticks above his previous personal best. His 7.3% walk rate was also the lowest in years. It will be hard for him to be quite that good going forward, but he’s been a solid reliever for five years running and is a bargain at this price.

Boxberger threw 64 innings for the Brewers in 2022, ending up with a 2.95 ERA , 25.4% strikeout rate, 10.1% walk rate and 34.3% ground ball rate. The ERA is nice but all three of those rate stats moved the wrong direction compared to his 2021 numbers. Still, this is a net $2.25MM decision, a fairly reasonable price for a solid veteran coming off three straight good years. The Brewers seem to have a tight payroll this year and might look for creative ways to save money, but if they don’t want to pay Boxberger, they should be able to pick up this option and line up a trade with a team that does.

Leclerc was dominant enough in 2018 to get a four-year extension from the Rangers, which included club options for 2023 and 2024. He had a poor season in the first year of the deal and then missed most of 2020 and 2021 due to Tommy John surgery. He got things back on track in 2022, throwing 47 2/3 innings with a 2.83 ERA and 27.3% strikeout rate. That’s not quite where he was at his peak but he got stronger as the season went along, even earning a few saves and holds down the stretch. If the club decides to give him another go, they can retain him again for 2024 via a $6.25MM club option that again has a $750K buyout.

  • Nick Martinez (32), can opt out of final three years and $18.5MM in favor of $1.5MM buyout

Martinez pitched in Japan from 2018 to 2021, posting quality results and earning himself a four-year, $25.5MM deal from the Padres. However, that deal was actually structured as a one-year contract followed by a series of player options, meaning Martinez can return to free agency now if he wants. He posted a 4.30 ERA as a starter and then got bumped to the bullpen, putting up a much stronger 2.67 ERA there. He’s likely get lots of interest from bullpen-needy teams but reportedly wants a rotation gig.

Nelson underwent Tommy John surgery in August of 2021 and then was re-signed by the Dodgers, with the club knowing they were unlikely to see him in 2022. The reasoning for the gamble was pretty clear since he was excellent prior to the surgery. He posted a 1.86 ERA in 29 innings in 2021, striking out 37.9% of batters faced. If the Dodgers expect him to be healthy at any point next year, this is a no-brainer to be picked up.

Suarez had never pitched in the majors prior to 2022, spending the previous five seasons in Japan. The Padres then signed him to a one-year deal with a player option for 2023. Suarez excelled in his 47 2/3 innings, posting a 2.27 ERA with a 31.9% strikeout rate. The 11% walk rate was a little on the high side, but it didn’t stop Suarez from earning high-leverage opportunities. He grabbed one save and 11 holds in the regular season and then three more holds in the playoffs. He’s got a net $4MM decision to make but should be able to easily top that mark on the open market.

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