The injuries to the Los Angeles Dodgers’ rotation are already well-known at this juncture. Left-hander Brett Anderson is going to be missing some important time due to back surgery, and Hyun-jin Ryu reportedly won’t be ready to pitch in the Majors until May. That leaves a hole in the fifth spot.
As of right now, the team already knows that Clayton Kershaw, Scott Kazmir, Kenta Maeda, and Alex Wood are going to be their first through fourth starters going into the season barring nothing unfortunate — *knocks on wood* — happening to any of them. Still, as noted, that leaves one spot open.
Most teams generally get between 900 and 1,000 innings out of their starters. The Dodgers certainly do not lack candidates to help them reach that level. Healthy candidates, that’s another question. Effective candidates, another one still.
As Rosenthal notes, the team does have a few options that they can turn to. For instance, they can promote one of the youngsters, either Julio Urias or Jose De Leon, to the rotation for a few games, max them out at five innings per start, and then send them down when Ryu comes back.
Still, that’s not really ideal. The most realistic scenario right now is that either Mike Bolsinger, Zach Lee, or Ross Stripling wins the job outright during Spring Training. The heavy money, if there is any, probably rests on Bolsinger since he performed quite well last season when called upon in the rotation.
The team is going to have to get a little creative, though, when it comes to their rotation this season. Ryu is going to be heavily monitored, Anderson won’t back, if he is at all, until late in the year, and the youngsters won’t be really ready yet. It’ll have to be a by-committee type of situation.
We’ll see how it all unfolds, but the first four spots are settled and look good on paper. It’s that fifth spot that could prove to be worrisome a little bit, but there are ways around that due to scheduled off-days and things like that. How the Dodgers navigate that spot will be quite intriguing.