Tom Koehler's days as a major-league starter are likely over and that's probably a good thing for his career. A move to the bullpen with Toronto last season, after being unceremoniously dumped by Miami, gave Koehler new life. While he pitched just 12 innings out of the bullpen down the stretch, he had an 11:3 K:BB and 3.16 FIP in those 12 frames -- good enough to earn Koehler a one-year, major-league contract with the Dodgers in the offseason. He gained a tick of velocity on his fastball while working in shorter spurts and he threw his curveball more after the move (going from 18.8 percent with the Marlins to 30.5 percent with Toronto). What resulted was more swings at pitches out of the strike zone and more groundballs. There is hope that Koehler will continue to improve with the help of the Dodgers' analytics department, which is among the best in baseball.
Koehler agreed to a one-year deal with the Dodgers on Friday, Chris Cotillo of SB Nation reports. Koehler appeared in 27 games between the Marlins and Blue Jays in 2017, posting a 6.69 ERA and 1.62 WHIP over 72.2 innings. Although he was disastrous during his time as a starter with Miami this past season, Toronto mainly used him out of the bullpen and received much better results, as he sported a 2.65 ERA and 18:6 K:BB in 17 innings with the club after being traded to the Blue Jays in August. Looking ahead, it's likely that Koehler will be used in middle relief for the Dodgers, but could wind up making a spot start or two if it's necessary.
Toronto has decided against tendering Koehler an offer for 2018. Koehler struggled as a starter for the Marlins for much of last season. His tenure in Toronto was markedly better, but he made only one start for the club before moving to the bullpen. The team has opted to go a different direction, but his late-season effort could land him a spring training opportunity elsewhere.
Koehler is available out of the bullpen Monday and won't start Tuesday against the Red Sox, Mike Wilner of Sportsnet 590 The Fan reports. Koehler had been scheduled to start Tuesday, but the club has decided to send Brett Anderson to the hill instead. At this point in time, it's unclear when Koehler will make his next start for the Jays. Koehler's performance this season has been underwhelming, as his 7.42 ERA and 1.70 WHIP are both career-worst marks.
Koehler (0-1) took the loss against the Rays on Thursday, allowing one run on four hits and three walks while striking out seven over five innings. He also hit two batters. While it was a loss against one of the AL's coldest offenses, this was still a largely successful debut for Koehler, who was traded from Miami less than a week ago. He was roughed up to the tune of a 7.92 ERA and 1.72 WHIP during his time with the Marlins. Those in AL-only formats in need of pitching help may want to consider adding Koehler, but he will make for an extremely risky play next week with matchups versus Boston and at Baltimore on tap.
The Blue Jays recalled Koehler from Triple-A Buffalo ahead of his Thursday start against the Rays. The Jays acquired the right-hander Saturday for organizational depth. Koehler has leaked runs once again, accruing a 7.92 ERA and 1.72 WHIP in his 55.2 frames with the Marlins, though there's a good chance he'll keep this last-minute, inning-eating role over the balance of the season when Toronto needs him. Toronto demoted Chris Rowley to the Bisons to clear the roster space.