Dodgers make changes to bullpen preparing for second half run

Any team in the division can win the National League West. The Arizona Diamondbacks lead the division by 11/2 games over the Colorado Rockies, 21/2 games over the San Diego Padres, 3 games over the San Francisco Giants and 31/2 games over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

However, the first four teams are a combined 12-28 over their last 10 games played while the last place Dodgers have won two straight and are 8-2 over their last 10 games overall.

Los Angeles knows they are still in the race for the postseason and on Monday made a trade with the Chicago Cubs to try to shore up their bullpen.

The Dodgers sent reliever Matt Guerrier to the Cubs for Carlos Marmol. The Dodgers also added another $209,700 to their cap space for signing international players, which is now up to $2.3 million.

Los Angeles believes the international bonus space was reason enough for the trade, but if Marmol is able to regain just some of the form he had previously, he could be used as a middle reliever or in a set-up role, with Kenley Jansen staying as the closer.

Dodgers’ manager Don Mattingly lost confidence in Guerrier and since being designated for assignment there was not much interest around the league for his services.

Los Angeles added Marmol to the active 40-man roster however, he may report to the minors first before joining the team’s bullpen.

Marmol started this season as the closer for the Cubs but lost that to Kyuji Fujikawa after just one week of the season.

zzThis move is just the latest of a number the Los Angeles organization has made to the bullpen over the past week. The team promoted Chris Withrod and Jose Dominguez, demoted Peter Moylan and assigned Guerrier before trading him today.

The bullpen for Los Angeles has been in disarray for most of the first 80 games of the season. Over the winter, Brandon League signed a contract for $22.5 million to be the Dodgers’ closer but lost that to Jansen, while Ronald Belisario has not been consistent as the pen’s set-up man.

Nevertheless, even with all their troubles in the bullpen and injuries to key offensive players such as Matt Kemp, the Dodgers find themselves near the All Star break just 3½ games from first place in the division.

With the addition of Yasiel Puig in the lineup, with the bat of Andre Ethier starting to come around, with Kemp showing signs of breaking out of a two-year slump and Adrian Gonzalez continuing to be consistent at the plate, the Dodgers could be the team to beat in the division during the second half of the season.

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