Although the Los Angeles Dodgers (42-28) have lost two of their last three series, they are still in prime position to vie for the championship this October. They have the necessary pieces and balance to ascend to their peak form and outlast the Philadelphia Phillies and the rest of the National League.

Though, with the pressure galactically high for this super team, the front office must continue to stockpile talent and try to unearth hidden gems. Dodgers president of baseball operations and 2020 MLB Executive of the Year Andrew Friedman knew just where to look to secure his latest addition— as he is a player the organization knows quite well.

Can a reunion bring the Dodgers more pitching depth?

Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Jose Hernandez (61) throws a pitch during the ninth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

LA acquired hard-throwing relief pitcher Jose Hernandez in a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates, per the team. The young left-hander signed with the Dodgers from the international free agency pool more than eight years ago and was scooped up by the Pirates in the Rule 5 Draft during the 2022 offseason. The Dodgers are sending back cash considerations in exchange for the right to reunite with their former prospect.

The Pirates designated Hernandez for assignment earlier in the week. He struggled profusely in his first MLB campaign, posting a near-5.00 ERA in 50 appearances for the Pirates in 2023. The 26-year-old out of Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic recorded an impressive 27.8 strikeout percentage but also walked 22 batters in 50 2/3 innings. He has been more reliable this year, earning a 3.38 ERA in seven appearances. The walks remain a concern (four), however, and the K rate is also dipping (16.0 percent).

If Hernandez can figure out how to harness his control, he can obtain a role in what is already one of baseball's top bullpens. The Dodgers are moving veteran reliever Ryan Brasier to the 60-day injured list (calf strain) to clear room for the southpaw.

LA has endured a slew of injuries in its pen, so the value of having another arm with decent upside cannot be taken for granted. Jose Hernandez can potentially utilize a tantalizing combination of velocity and spin rate that would disarm and frustrate hitters. There is plenty of work to be done, but Friedman and company are obviously not giving up on the player who first caught their eye many years ago.

Although there are questions about the starting rotation's ability to succeed in the postseason, the bullpen might be more unpredictable than the numbers suggest, and fans anticipate.

LA must must not burn out its pen for playoffs

With the injury bug perpetually ravaging the Dodgers' pitching staff, it is important that manager Dave Roberts has enough hurlers at his disposal. Leaning too much on relievers throughout the regular season runs the risk of the unit breaking down late in the year.

He opted to employ a bullpen game on Thursday, which LA lost 3-1 to the Texas Rangers, potentially leaving him with limited options for Friday's matchup with the Kansas City Royals. It is an undesirable position for the skipper to be in, but long-term planning is also crucial, especially considering the franchise's World Series ambitions.

The arrival of Hernandez, who will finally dawn the Dodger Blue after spending such a lengthy time in the organization, should hopefully help the team survive the rigors of a 162-game season.