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Taking a final, forced look at that Dodgers 2014 bullpen

Taking a final, forced look at that Dodgers 2014 bullpen
Former All-Star closer Brian Wilson came into the season as the Dodgers' setup man, but after a rocky season it's unclear what his role might be next season. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

It's OK, you can open your eyes now. Come on out from that silly hiding place. It's all over. Be courageous, the Dodgers' 2014 bullpen has been put to rest.

Not in peace, particularly, but to rest. Shot in the heart by Manager Don Mattingly, the front office and millions of Dodgers' fans, hopefully never to be seen again in its latest form. Or so you hope.

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How bad was it?

Maybe not completely as bad as you think. Which is not to say it wasn't bad -- it absolutely was -- just that there were many others much worse. Most just didn't have serious World Series ambitions like the Dodgers and weren't viewed as a giant black hole on an otherwise stellar team.

But here's a look at how the Dodgers' bullpen measured up in the regular season's final stats:

-- ERA (3.80) 22nd

-- WHIP (1.31) 20th

-- Innings (489.2) 14th

-- Wins (18) 29th

-- Losses (24) 14th

-- Opponent batting average (.239) 15th

-- Opponent on-base percentage (.322) 21st

-- Opponent slugging percentage (.354) 11th

-- Strikeouts (464) 12th

-- Walks allowed (206) 3rd

So, the bullpen was bad, just not the worst-in-the-universe bad it felt like. The Dodgers seriously need to find a reliever they can trust in the eighth inning, and if that seems obvious, the solution may not be.

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We already know closer Kenley Jansen, and Brian Wilson, Brandon League and J.P. Howell (all with guaranteed contracts) are coming back, barring an unexpected trade. After that, best of luck.

The Dodgers seemed to like Pedro Baez at the end of the season, though that may have been borne as much by comparison as actual performance. They can cross fingers and hope left-handers Paco Rodriguez or Scott Elbert rebound fully from injuries.

There's nothing particularly exciting coming up in the ranks, so the Dodgers figure to go shopping again, which is something of an annual off-season ritual anyway. Just figures to have more focus on it this year.

Chris Perez, Jamey Wright and Paul Maholm figure to be done, though history warns to never completely rule out Wright.

A couple of new arms will need to be added, but until then, don't forget that hiding place.

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