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Dodgers: David Price Not Guaranteed to Be a Starter in 2021

We could see DP out of the bullpen this year.



The Dodgers enter the 2021 season with more starting pitchers than any other team in the big leagues. That is obviously a good problem to have, but it’s also a lot for manager Dave Roberts to sort through. 

Coming into this year, the assumption was that 4 rotation spots were locked up. After the Dodgers signed Trevor Bauer, the final spot was up for grabs between at least 3 guys. But that might not exactly be the case. 

David Price is coming off of a year in which he did not throw a meaningful pitch. He opted to sit out the Dodgers 2020 season due to concerns over the coronavirus but is back to play this year. The initial thought was that he would slide into the back of the rotation after taking an entire year away. 

But on Monday afternoon ahead of Price’s Cactus League debut, Dave Roberts shook things up a little bit. Doc explained that Price could be used in any role that the Dodgers have available for him in a call with the media

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Roberts went on to say that Price has expressed a desire to take on whatever role the team needs him for. Looking at the progressions of pitchers and where he stands, that could very well be in the Dodgers bullpen. Price is scheduled to pitch 1 inning in Monday’s game against the White Sox. 

The Dodgers open up their season in just over 3 weeks in Colorado. If his spot opens up in the rotation, expect a battle between Julio Urias, Dustin May, and Tony Gonsolin.

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Written by Brook Smith

Brook is the Senior Editor of Dodgers Nation, with several years of experience in sports journalism. He is an avid Dodgers and Lakers fan, and can be spotted fairly often at Dodger Stadium and Staples Center.

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  1. Yeah, even with the Red Sox paying half of Price’s salary, the Dodgers aren’t going to pay $15 million for a randomly used “swingman.’ The only way that Price is not a full member of the rotation is if he doesn’t pitch well. He will start 2020 in the number 4 slot. Whether he stays there is the question.

    • I trust Doc is telling it like it is. If salary was a definition of who plays when and where, then Kenley is your closer and not Urias in the playoffs last year. The Dodgers are in the enviable position where they can play the best 26 players and not care who’s making $500K yr vs $15M yr. And from the sound of it, looks like DP is also in agreement, willing to do whatever it takes to help the Dodgers win back-to-back World Series!

    • Dustin May has elite stuff. Urias had a solid record last year as a starter. And Gonsolin had solid starting stats also. Price did not play; and baseball is a game of attrition. He needs to have a lights out spring or he will be no better (or worse) than the others. He looks to me to be a piggy-back pitcher at this point. Seriously, he would probably thrive in that scenario. So, I think Roberts is making a decent call at this point.

  2. He hasn’t thrown but an inning and a half in over a year. And you expect him to go out and throw 200 innings this year! Hilarious!

    In fact, I’ll bet anyone on here dollars to donuts that NONE of the starters throw 200 innings this after only starting 12 games last year.

    That’s how the Dodgers do things. This year will be a 120-150 innings. Possibly 170. They will not put the pitchers under that kind of workload after only 60 total games last year. Then, in 2022 they’ll get back to a regular workload. That’s why all seven of them will be starting lots of games this year.

  3. The Dodgers are currently carrying three pitchers who are clearly overpaid. Jansen leads the pack with his $20M salary in his his final contract year. Price and Kelley are the other two overpaid pitchers. You could try to move them, or just eat their salaries. If you eat their salaries, you have a single whammy. If you eat their salaries, and give them lots of playing time just because you’re overpaying them, that’s a double whammy that will cost you games. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Play the best guys you have regardless of salary. Jansen, Price, and Kelley should not get front line playing time, because we have better options to actually win games, while developing younger players to continue to win more games in the near, and hopefully distant future. Urias and May need to be pitching now. Regularly.

  4. Price walked away from his team. They won the World Series without him. His expectation of a starting job is delusional. Since he lives in Fantasyland, he should sign with Anaheim.

  5. His reasoning for not playing should not be blasted like this. He continued to support the team and to my knowledge was the player to open is wallet to help the guys not getting paid. He did what any parent SHOULD do under the circumstances. He should start until one of the others beats him out

  6. Price being part of the starting rotation is simply gonna depend on how well he’s throwing the ball. Regardless of what his salary is this year. Honestly I think he would be better coming out the BP. Just to come out for a couple of innings or even in long relief would work. But we’ll see how it turns out

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