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A case for Dodgers to sign Rafael Soriano or Francisco Rodriguez

With Kenley Jansen sidelined, the Dodgers should consider signing another closer as a temporary replacement

Let’s keep this simple, because clearly that’s what so many of you do best. When people consider the Dodgers, what is universally considered the organization’s greatest asset?

Moola!

A well of wealth so deep that no one is certain where it ends. It presumably just keeps going through the planet and on into the cosmos.

And now the Dodgers have a problem, the seriousness of which is unknown. Optimists would say closer Kenley Jansen might be out only a couple of weeks of the season. All you negative types -- how do you live in such darkness? -- would say he’s likely to be out until the middle of May and even that is iffy.

He had surgery on his left foot Tuesday, not his right arm, so there's reason to believe the sky is not falling. It is his landing foot, however, and he’s going to be on crutches for approximately 10 days and then a walking boot up to four weeks, so you might want to trend toward the negative side on this, or at least at being overly careful.

The Dodgers have their in-house candidates to temporarily replace Jansen -- J.P. Howell, Sergio Santos, Brandon League, Joel Peralta -- but that uncertainty may seem too big a roll of the dice for a team focused on the World Series.

Which is why the Dodgers should sign Rafael Soriano or Francisco Rodriguez.

Would either be a perfect solution? Probably not, but perfect is not showing up this late. You search for the best you can pull off.

The Dodgers have to either cobble together a closer from a heavily remade bullpen or sign one. The could trade for Jonathan Papelbon, but he would cost not only $13 million but probably a prized prospect also.

It would be much simpler -- see how I think of you? -- to sign a free-agent closer.

It would cost, but money is the Dodgers’ great resource. And it’s not like they don’t already have a record payroll. After all that, do you really want to gamble the start of the season on an uncertain closer? Kind of an important piece.

Soriano was terrific to start the season last year for the Nationals. He converted 22 of his first 24 save opportunities and had a 0.97 ERA before the All-Star break. Trouble came later when he blew five of 15 save opportunities and lost his job in September to Drew Storen.

He’s 35 and might have worn down. That doesn’t mean he won’t be strong early, which is when the Dodgers would really need him. He doesn’t throw as hard as he once did, but he still averaged 8.6 strikeouts per nine innings last season, close to his career average (9.1).

Rodriguez is 33 and saved 44 games last season for the Brewers, same number as Jansen. He may use his change-up much more than when he was an Angels phenom throwing that wicked slider. Still, he had a career-low 0.985 WHIP last season and struck out 9.7 per nine innings.

Both would presumably like to be signed to a multiyear deal as a closer. But camps are opening and that window may have narrowed to the point where they’d come to the Dodgers to at least start as the closer and pitch on a team expected to win.

Soriano may be the best fit, and it should be noted he was Andrew Friedman’s closer for one season while Friedman was general manager in Tampa Bay.

None of this is perfect, but you do the best you can. Particularly when the ultimate cost is the one thing you have plenty of -- money.

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