The Dodgers got an old friend back on Monday courtesy of the Milwaukee Brewers. Reliever Gus Varland, who was picked in the Rule 5 Draft this past year by the Brewers, is officially back in Los Angeles.
Varland, who was designated for assignment by the Brewers last week, has returned to Los Angeles, who had the option of getting him back after the Brewers gave up on him. He cleared waivers, and is now back with LA.
Varland had a solid first month with the Brewers this season that ended on the lowest of lows. The 26-year-old made the Opening Day roster, and debuted in the MLB on Opening Day with a scoreless inning. Varland then went onto throw 3.2 more scoreless innings, before finally allowing a run in his fifth career appearance.
Then, Varland had two more good outings, and was looking like a steal in the Rule 5 Draft this year. However, in what turned out to be his final start in Milwaukee, he got absolutely rocked, allowing six hits, three walks and two home runs while being charged for nine earned runs. He was ultimately DFA’d the next day, and is now back with the Dodgers.
Could Varland Help the Dodgers This Season?
Varland has never pitched higher than Double-A for the Dodgers, but has now proved that he’s capable of playing at the MLB level. In 41 appearances with the Tulsa Drillers last season, Varland had a 6.11 ERA in 70.2 innings.
It’ll be interesting to see if Varland goes back to Double-A, or if the Dodgers elect to put him straight into Triple-A to continue improving his game. If he can flash some of the dominance he had in his first seven outings with Milwaukee, he could be someone that helps the bullpen this season — potentially even sooner rather than later.
The Dodgers currently find themselves going through a revolving door of relievers, and none of them are exactly standing out as great long-term options. Between Andre Jackson, Wander Suero, Tyler Cyr and Dylan Covey (now with the Phillies), the Dodgers are giving anyone and everyone a chance to pitch well and stick around.
If Varland has a few nice outings in the minors, he could be the next Dodger reliever to get an opportunity. And if he can pitch like he did in his first seven outings for the Brewers, he could stick around longer than the rest.
Welcome back to the Dodgers, Gus!
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