5. 2003 Los Angeles Dodgers
The 2003 Dodgers featured 3 bullpen arms with ERA’s under 2.00
Yes, three. Guillermo Mota threw 105 innings in relief, and maintained a 1.97 ERA. Set up man Paul Quantrill posted a 1.75 ERA, and (controversial) closer Eric Gagne sported a 1.20 ERA and an even more impressive 0.86 FIP. Gagne was later named in the Mitchell report and connected to PED use, but his 2003 season was utterly dominant, making the ’03 Dodgers one of the best bullpens of all time.
All Dodgers relievers who pitched at least 50+ innings, maintained an ERA under 4.00. Remember, offense was also much more potent over a decade ago, making this group all the more impressive. Collectively, they posted a 2.46 ERA–PED’s aside, this group was lights out.
The ’03 Dodgers failed to make the playoffs, so this group doesn’t immediately come to mind, which makes them #5 on our list. They won 85 games, which obviously isn’t a bad season. However, it would have been interesting to see how they would have fared in October. Imagine if they played a role similar to the Kansas City Royals bullpen over the past two years, where the team only needs a lead through five or six innings?
Regardless, this shutdown bunch deserves a place on the all time best bullpens list.