Much to the relief of Dodgers fans everywhere, it was Mike MacDougal who was designed for assignment to make room for the returning Ronald Belisario.
ROSTER MOVE: The @Dodgers today designated RHP Mike MacDougal for assignment while MLB reinstated Ronald Belisario from the Restricted List.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) May 3, 2012
It’s a relief because, as I discussed before, the bullpen was about to get crowded and moves were going to have to be made. The Dodgers could have gone the easy route, by demoting Josh Lindblom, but instead choose to keep their best pitchers around. Maybe a no-brainer in theory, but given the Dodgers history in practice, I was pleasantly surprised.
With that said, even Belisario’s future is in doubt when Matt Guerrier is ready to return. When Belisario last pitched in the MLB in 2010, he posted a 5.04 ERA, and he had a 7.71 ERA in the 4.1 innings he pitched in the minors this year. Granted, how well he’s throwing is more important than his performance at this juncture, but it’s not a stretch to say he could be the guy who goes for Guerrier in a couple of weeks.
Still though, even if that gets sorted, there’s the issue of whether Shawn Tolleson could help the club right now. Between three levels in 2011, he put up a 1.17 ERA with 105 strikeouts and 18 walks in 69 innings. In 2012, he has a 0.90 ERA at AA with 18 strikeouts and 3 walks. By all accounts, the scouting reports seem to hold up, and while he might not have closer stuff, he has 7th/8th inning guy written all over him, much like Lindblom did, which is more than I can say at this point for Jamey Wright and Todd Coffey.
Despite fan perception, the bullpen isn’t actually a problem area, as it’s been adequately middle of the road thus far. However, it can get better if the Dodgers want it to, and since they’ve shown a change in their process through keeping Lindblom around in favor of an ineffective veteran, I would hope they don’t show hesitation when it comes to Tolleson as well.