LOS ANGELES -- One of the decisions the Dodgers face this offseason is not one they expected: whether to bring back closer Brandon League.
League will be a free agent when the season ends. When he was acquired from Seattle on July 30 for Minor Leaguers Leon Landry and Logan Bawcom, he was a deposed closer who had struggled all season, and the Dodgers were looking to rent a veteran middle reliever.
Coaches Rick Honeycutt and Ken Howell ironed out a mechanical flaw, and right around the time League got his game back, incumbent closer Kenley Jansen had a relapse of an irregular heartbeat. League became the closer and has pitched scoreless relief in 18 of his last 19 appearances.
"This is one of the better runs I've had," League said. "I'm absolutely grateful. It's been a long year, I've learned a lot and been able to turn my season around and I'm thrilled to contribute to a run at a playoff spot."
League earns $5 million this year and has re-established his value this month. Coming into this season, the Dodgers thought they were set at closer with Javy Guerra and Jansen. Guerra, however, lost the job, needed knee surgery and now is healing from a strained oblique. Jansen faces serious offseason surgery for his heart condition and the Dodgers must be wary of his health.
Although Ronald Belisario is worthy of consideration for National League Comeback Player of the Year, he has a history of reporting late for Spring Training. Matt Guerrier might need offseason elbow surgery, Scott Elbert just had elbow surgery and Todd Coffey's blew out before the All-Star break.
"I don't know what's going to happen next year," manager Don Mattingly said of his closer situation.