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Dodgers: Optimizing the Starting Rotation with David Price’s Willingness to Pitch Out of the Bullpen



With David Price revealing his willingness to pitch in relief, the Dodgers and manager Dave Roberts received an unexpected gift. After adding Trevor Bauer this offseason, LA built a super rotation in an effort to secure back-to-back championships. But with all those arms ready to throw every fifth day, the Dodgers now encounter one of those good-to-have problems.

The guys discuss how Price is the ultimate pro’s pro and attempt to optimize the 8 potential starting pitchers on the staff.

David Price Opens a Huge Window for Dave Roberts

One option: DP in a Josh Hader role. Milwaukee’s ace reliever Hader has been a pinnacle of out-of-the-box relief dominance over the last few seasons. While he’s closed a good amount, his biggest success has been in a multi-inning, shutdown reliever role. Could that be the best option for Price?

Moreover, with Price potentially in a consistent bullpen role, dominant young Dodger arms like Dustin May or Tony Gonsolin would get more opportunity to shine in the rotation. Plus it firmly cements a full-time starting role for the deserving Julio Urias.

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Join your Blue Heaven hosts, Clint Pasillas and Brook Smith, as they talk about this week in Los Angeles Dodgers Baseball. We share the opinions of our 800,000+ fans from Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook to gain insight on what the fans are thinking and do our best to represent all perspectives in the Dodgers Community. Look out for special interviews with other bloggers, celebrities, players, and more, along with giveaways for the best fans on earth!

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Written by Clint Pasillas

Clint is the lead editor of Dodgers Nation, and a host and analyst on Dodgers Nation's own Blue Heaven podcast live stream.

He's been writing, blogging, and podcasting Dodgers since about 2008. He was there for Nomar, Greg Maddux, and Blake DeWitt, and he'll be there for Walker Buehler, Alex Verdugo, Dustin May, and any Dodgers of the future.

He's also a sandwich enthusiast, a consummate athlete, and a friend.

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  1. Price AND Morrow in the bullpen as long relievers, and a six-man rotation to keep everybody’s innings reasonable this year makes the most sense. So, of course Roberts won’t do it. But nobody threw 60 innings last year during the “regular” season, so this year should be a ramp-up year, preparing the whole starting staff for 2022….

    • Needing to ramp up, year over year, from a short season, is a bit of a fiction IMO. Pitchers get hurt, miss half a season, and come back healthy the next year and pitch a full season, all the time. Tommy John, after he missed a whole year, came back the next season and pitched 200 innings, then went on and pitched 13 more years. There are hundreds of other examples. We are not talking about pitchers recovering from a surgery, they just had a short season. If anything, they should be stronger and more rested from the light workload from last year. All in my own professional opinion, obviously other experts see it differently. That said, it is a long season, especially when you go to the world series, skipping a start or giving extra rest, here and there, is wise, so arms are fresh for the post season. Every pitcher is different. Some thrive with more work, others need more rest. But limiting everyone because of a short year seems arbitrary and I don’t know of any evidence that supports it.

  2. The Angels should be all over Friedman to trade Price to them. He’s a luxury the Dodgers don’t need.

  3. If you were the GM how would you navigate a long season and have your best pitchers ready for the playoffs?
    Could it be that it goes like extended spring trainkng with starters going every 5 days but using the whole first half of the season to ramp up?
    Starter goes 4-5 innings, Price/ Nelson/May relieves for 3-4 innings, then finish with(take your pick) Graterol, Treinen, Knebel, Jansen.

  4. price deserves more respect. he’s a starter. if the pups beat him out for that job, it’s win win.

  5. Price is definitely an interesting player this season. his return is like adding a FA front line SP. Then again seems doubtful he is physically ready for 200 or even 150 innings this season. I suspect lot of thought is him as potential closer like happened with Eckersley back in the ’80s. Didn’t like him as a player but he had great success, well until a fun pitch in late’ 88 hehehe.

    I do feel the Dodgers will need 7-8 SP’s this season due to deconditioning after last season. Good news is arms will be rested. I suspect innings are going to be very limited, even more so for the younger guys. I’m betting no more that 120 innings for the kiddie corps & 160 for the front 3. Price falls into a spot I can’t figure given his experience, which is going to only help the staff. I hate seeing him traded as I think he is needed for the total package he brings. He’s had great seasons as well as disappointing seasons…Kershaw has same sort of perceived history though what we fans have called mediocre for Kershaw, well, we’re still great seasons for any pitcher. Still having to Cy Young vets who’ve been through it all can’t hurt the staff as a whole.

    Basically I think you can’t go find a FA SP with Price’s pedigree for the, what, $16M the Dodgers are paying him?

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