The Dodgers have activated a trio of relievers to augment their bullpen down the stretch. Lefty Tony Cingrani and righties John Axford and Yimi Garcia will all head onto the active roster, as Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times tweets.
Though the Los Angeles bullpen has actually been quite good of late as a unit, it had some notable struggles before that point and still features a fair bit of uncertainty. With work still to be done to reach the postseason, and playoff roster spots potentially at stake thereafter, the returnees will be most welcome.
In particular, Cingrani looks to be an intriguing (re-) addition to the relief unit. The southpaw has only a 4.84 ERA in his 22 1/3 innings, but has compiled an impressive 36:6 K/BB ratio. He also owns a career-high 13.9% swinging-strike rate, carrying over the leap he exhibited in 2017.
As for Axford, a summer trade pick-up, his first game with his new club was a complete mess but he came back for two effective appearances thereafter. Unfortunately, he has been on the shelf now for over a month. But there were obviously reasons that the Dodgers targeted him — his still-speedy heater and typically hefty groundball numbers perhaps chief among them — so the club still has cause to hope they’ll get some value.
As for Garcia, he had been on optional assignment after struggling with injuries and performance for much of the season. The 28-year-old has still not gotten back to the impressive form he showed as a rookie way back in 2015, with health problems — in particular, Tommy John surgery — limiting him to just 44 1/3 professional innings since that campaign. Garcia has thrown 17 2/3 minor-league frames without allowing a walk and while recording 18 strikeouts this year.
All of these hurlers will be pitching for their own benefit as well, of course. Cingrani and Garcia are both eligible for arbitration. For the former, padding his innings totals will help boost his payday; for the latter, it’s still unclear whether he’ll be tendered, though cost won’t be a factor since he’ll be extremely affordable. As for Axford, who’ll return to free agency at season’s end, his showing will be of particular importance.