The Dodgers have seemingly limitless starting pitching options. The surplus will not result in an expanded rotation, according to Dave Roberts.
The first four arms of the rotation are set. Clayton Kershaw heads the group, followed by Rich Hill, Kenta Maeda and Julio Urias. The No. 5 starter will be decided in camp, and will likely shift throughout the season.
Roberts said a 6 man rotation isn't an option. #Dodgers
— Alanna Rizzo (@alannarizzo) February 17, 2017
The only reason the six-man concept was brought up is because of the system’s rich depth and the possible need to monitor Urias’ and Maeda’s innings. Urias won’t go over 200, and his agent likely wants him under 150. The Dodgers wanted Maeda to boost his stamina, and he’s added 10 pounds in that effort. He said his goal is to pitch 200 innings, but after fading down the stretch in 2016, it wasn’t unrealistic to think L.A. might skip his start here or there.
There are a number of players who could grab the fifth slot, including Alex Wood, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Scott Kazmir, Ross Stripling, Brock Stewart and Brandon McCarthy. Wood might be destined for a long-relief role, while Stripling and Stewart could benefit from more time in the minors. McCarthy and Kazmir are consistently dinged up and both are high salary commitments.
L.A. may give the two veterans first go, as insinuated by Andy McCullough in his mailbag, but Stripling or Stewart could earn a spot with a strong spring training. Both had flashes in limited time last season. The Dodgers would be wise to figure out what they have in each before exploring trades down the road.