Rotation update

The Dodger rotation is the strength of the team and unlike many years it comes into spring with everyone healthy. Not only are the top five rotation options healthy but everyone except Julio Urias is also healthy.

Which is a good thing because the team doesn’t go as deep this year as they have in the past. No longer on the depth chart are Scott Kazmir, Brandon McCarthy and Trevor Oaks. The depth this year belongs almost solely to young pitchers instead of recycling major league retreads.

If any of the top five go down, the options are all wild cards. Stripling, Stewart, Font all could be credible back end rotation starters but none are someone you want to replace Kershaw if he needs to miss another two months this summer.

Also, four of the five top options have all had numerous health issues over the past several seasons so you have to expect some or all of them to miss some time this summer.

As you know I like Wilmer Font but I like him as someone who can take his starter skills and pitch well out of the bullpen. I’m not nearly as confident he can succeed as a major league starter but with the starters only expected to go through a lineup twice a game, maybe he can.

I also like Brock Stewart as someone who can fill out a rotation.

Ross Stripling should be able to do the same.

Not long ago Henry Owens pitched for the Red Sox and was considered a prize prospect. Now he’s just a wild ass lefty who has to learn something from the Dodger coaches and turn that into something before his career careens over the cliff.  So far this spring he has not had success but hopefully he can still get something going.  I’m holding out hope that he will piss of Red Sox fans at some point this summer.

Walker Buehler is expected to help in the rotation this summer. Dave Roberts said they would hope to get 140-150 innings from him so how they manage those innings will determine how he fits into the rotation. I could easily see him getting some starts with the Dodgers this summer and converting back into relief in Sept as they get ready for October.

I don’t expect to see Dennis Santana get any starts with the Dodgers this year until Sept unless things really go off the rails. He is also someone who could transition into a relief role if they need him to this summer.

Mitch White and Yadier Alvarez probably have to wait their turns but this being baseball you never know.

You also have Julio Urias hoping to get back on the mound by late summer. I hope he shows something before the season is over so we can get more of an idea of what to expect next year.

Am I okay with this rotation and the depth? Yes, but they could easily upgrade and if I was the Dodgers I would certainly be making a play for Chris Archer.  It would not surprise me at all if the Dodger front office pulled off a deal for a frontline starter before the start of the season.  Wouldn’t Kenta Maeda make financial sense for a team like Tampa Bay? Great contract, under team control for years.  Throw in the right prospects and make it happen. Or don’t. As I said I’m okay with the rotation as it is but by August 1st they probably need an upgrade to fill the Yu Darvish role of 2017 without the World Series missteps.

Next year at this time, you could envision a healthy competition between Urias, Buehler, Santana, White, and Alvarez for one or two spots in the Dodger rotation. The arms are coming.

First Five Notes
C Kershaw Healthy
R Hill Healthy
A Wood Healthy
K Maeda Healthy
H Ryu Healthy
MLB Options in Bullpen
Wilmer Font Healthy
Ross Stripling Healthy
Best Options in AAA
Brock Stewart Healthy
Other Options in AAA
Henry Owens Still a WAL
M Banuelos Still a WAL
D Baker Making sure he’s on radar
Prospects Who Might Help
W Buehler Struck out side in 1st inning of work this spring today
D Santana Pitched one inning, think he’s impressing
M White Minor League Camp
Y Alvarez Minor League Camp
DL Help
Julio Urias Just started throwing




  1. 68elcamino427

    Pete Richert.
    Good times recalling listening to Vin describe Richert’s MLB debut for the Dodgers.
    Came in relief of Stan Williams and just struck out the first batters he faced,
    for two innings.

    With the contracts and the counting of the years until free agency, some of the big arms like White and Santana might see some action as RP in 2018 … oops, i meant were the old reserve clause rules still in play, heh.

    Alvarez could find his game quickly.

    All of the other young arms you mention can get the job done going through the order just twice.

    If Owens and/or Banuelos can find the feel again, this would be like found money.

    Sierra might be getting more run right now absent the Competitive Balance Tax Threshold.
    People have opined that adding Sierra later in the season might mitigate the hit his pay takes on the soft cap.

    Here are your 2017 IP
    175 Kershaw
    135 Hill
    134 Maeda
    126 Ryu
    92 McCarthy
    49 Darvish
    24 Urias

    Since it is more likely that this group will put up similar numbers again it looks like others will get plenty of opportunities to show what they can do.

    The Maeda idea is a good one. His physcials might give a potential suiter pause though.

    Really, Wood (IC Joint), Ryu (Shoulder Surgery), Maeda ( Physicals so bad he went for the incentive contract), Hill (old), and Kershaw (herniated disc), could go down at any time.
    All of them probably will visit the DL at some point during the 2018 season.
    Just hope it is for a short stint.

    The Dodgers just need to win 90+ games to get into the playoffs.
    Last season was of the once every twenty five years special variety.
    It was fun seeing them win 104 games, but in the end it made no difference.

    Honestly, every morning when I awaken, i remember Jerry Sands and those times.
    This FO has put the Dodgers in a different place.
    This is a great time to be a fan of the Dodgers.

    Looking at the list of Pitchers who are in contract years, guys who might be acquired for the stretch run and playoffs, well … the list is not too long.

    Maybe baby Buehler will wind up being the next ROY?


  2. Good point on Sierra and his contract being a problem for the competitive tax this year.


  3. 68elcamino427

    Font thoughts.
    Every player can have a bad outing.

    However, the circumstances surrounding Font’s last try has me wondering.

    Previous Font’s last start where he was royally shelled, Roberts made the announcement that the start would be Font’s last of ST and that Font is a candidate for a role in the bullpen.

    Maybe Font just had a bad day?

    We shall see.


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