The Dodgers reshuffled their bullpen on Monday, bringing back one of their most trusted relief aces from a year ago and trading away another.
Ryan Brasier, who rode a minor-league deal to a midseason revival last summer, is returning to Los Angeles on a two-year, $9 million deal, league sources said. The deal has a chance to reach $13 million through incentives, a league source told The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.
Brasier’s incentives are centered around relief appearances, a league source said.
Brasier fills a hole in the back of the Dodgers’ bullpen that opened when the club dealt Caleb Ferguson, one of the club’s most-used and most reliable relievers the past two seasons, to the New York Yankees for a package that includes depth arm Matt Gage, the sources said.
Brasier’s nomadic career had its most productive stretch last year as the 36-year-old, cut by the Boston Red Sox in May after six up-and-down seasons, inked a flier deal with the organization. After a month spent at the club’s complex in Arizona, Brasier returned to the major leagues with a new cutter to go with his premium velocity, quickly ascending into an integral role in the Dodger bullpen with a 0.70 ERA in 39 appearances.
It made Brasier’s foray into the open market a more intriguing one, with an array of clubs including the St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Angels, Yankees, Red Sox and the incumbent Dodgers showing interest. Brasier managed to be the latest bullpen reclamation project to land a multiyear deal after a successful stint in Los Angeles, joining the likes of Chris Martin and Tommy Kahnle from last offseason.
For the Dodgers, who have already committed in excess of $1.2 billion this offseason, it was a matter of keeping a good thing going. The club has been seeking back-end bullpen help this winter even as they retain the likes of Evan Phillips and Brusdar Graterol and kept Brasier firmly in their plans to help do so.
Moving Ferguson, however, reshuffles things a bit. Ferguson had been one of Dave Roberts’ most trusted arms since recovering from his second Tommy John surgery in 2022, putting up a 2.84 ERA in 105 appearances the last two seasons while giving him the occasional crack at the ninth inning. That trust eroded some by the time the club arrived in October, but he figured to be the most prominent lefty in the club’s bullpen this summer.
Gage provides a left-handed option who can still be optioned to the minors, though he has just 16 big-league appearances to his name and was with the Yankees for just a week after being claimed off waivers. Since Gage is on the 40-man roster, the Dodgers will still need to clear a spot to make Brasier’s signing official, though the club can start placing players on the 60-day injured list on Thursday and already have three candidates who will likely start the season there (Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May and Nick Frasso).
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