Dodgers Roster: A Few Thoughts Surrounding the Starting Rotation

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For as long as the starting rotation of the Dodgers has been bitten by the injury bug so far this season, to say that it’s relieving to see the crew getting healthier would be an understatement. Furthermore, based on the current state of all the available starters in the organization, many fans are wondering if the front office will be searching for another starter to add to the mix as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches.

The latest news surrounding the rotation came on Tuesday when it was reported that Walker Buehler may be ready for big league action very soon. The right-hander is scheduled to throw another bullpen at Dodger Stadium on Thursday, then could be ready for a major league start after he completes a single rehab game at the minor league level.

“Really good intensity, used the whole mix. I was pretty impressed with the way he was throwing. The ball was coming out really well,” skipper Dave Roberts said after seeing Buehler throw on Thursday. “A rehab game makes more sense, but that’s certainly not set in stone. We’ll have that conversation.”

Assuming there are no setbacks with Buehler, it is believed that the Dodgers will likely use a six-man rotation, theoretically providing some extra rest for the entire crew while everyone’s healthy. And while it was understood that Buehler is under some kind of innings limit for 2018, his recent time off could actually prevent a prospective period of absence later in the season.

Everything appears to be going well with staff ace Clayton Kershaw after his return to the mound last Saturday. The lefty looked good in his bullpen session on Monday and is slated to start the series finale against the Cubs on Thursday afternoon.

“Good to be back. Now I can focus on getting better,” Kersh said over the weekend. “Health-wise it’s there. Now it’s just a matter of performance. It’s a good first step.”

One roster adjustment the Dodgers could make soon is optioning lefty Caleb Ferguson back to Triple-A Oklahoma City. For now, he’ll remain with the club to be used as a long man to piggy-back Kershaw, but once CK shows he’s ready to go beyond five or six innings, the team may decide to utilize a better option out of the bullpen.

As far as Wednesday’s game goes, Alex Wood is on the hill for the Dodgers and hopes to gain momentum after his successful start against the Mets last Friday. Picking up the victory, the lefty allowed two runs on six hits and a walk over six innings while striking out seven. He traded zeros with Zack Wheeler through five innings before Cody Bellinger‘s grand slam in the top of the sixth gave Wood all the offense he would need. The quality start was his first in over a month.

Righty Kenta Maeda says he feels the best he’s all year after a stellar seven-inning gem against the Cubs in the series opener on Monday. He allowed just three hits and one walk while striking out an impressive nine batters in his third start since being sidelined with a hip strain.

“Ever since coming off the DL, I think feeling-wise, it was the best I’ve felt,” Maeda said in the postgame on Monday. “Overall, it was a much better feeling coming into this game than the other ones.”

While veteran Rich Hill was extremely critical of himself last Sunday in his second start back from another blister flare-up, the good news is that there aren’t any signs of the injury returning. The southpaw made it through five innings, giving up five hits and four runs while striking out six with one walk.

“It was pretty sloppy,” Hill told reporters. “Probably half the time, the ball didn’t come out of my hand the way I wanted it to. Obviously I’m really disappointed about it, just the execution of the pitches. That’s really about it. That really is going to bother me for a couple days.”

Nevertheless, with a healthy crew of Kershaw, Stripling, Maeda, Buehler, Wood and Hill, the immediate outlook is very bright as the All-Star break and trade deadlines draw near.


16 thoughts on “Dodgers Roster: A Few Thoughts Surrounding the Starting Rotation

  1. I have a strong feeling Ferguson’s not gonna get sent back down anytime soon. Kershaw’s not doing as good a job as he thinks of convincing those around him that he’s alright now. His post-game interview last week was quite telling, almost as if he was admitting that his best days are behind him and Ferguson has just about succeeded him in that rotation. And if they feel they must send Ferguson back to AAA OKC, better mean Baneulos is on his way for once…

    1. So, I want to make sure I’m understanding you correctly Manuel. You’re saying that within a couple of weeks Kershaw retires and Fergie replaces him in the rotation, correct? I’ll say one thing for you, you’re not afraid to be a contrarian. While most Dodger fans are assuming CK will work his way back to health and are hoping the Dodgers sign him to a nice expensive extension, you’re standing out here on a limb and pretty much saying he’ll never again be even a shadow of his former self. If that should happen and you run around screaming that you were the first to predict it, I promise I’ll back you up and say that you actually said it. On the other hand, if he wins the Cy Young next year, you’ll never hear the end of it. My prediction – something between those two extremes, although I’m guessing that if the front office is honest, they would prefer not to have to sign him beyond the two years left on his contract. Even if those are two healthy years, the years after that may be difficult.

      1. Tell him he has a fan waiting for him here in L.A. and could he get me Kasowski’s autograph (just kidding on the second part).
        Also, has Pop always been the family name or was it a nice long European name that like so many of the rest of us was shortened a long time ago? (this one’s an optional one in case you think it’s too personal).
        Look forward to seeing your writeup.

      2. The Popster followed Dustin May’s 7 very nice innings with 2 more scoreless innings of his own tonight. ERA now down to 0.41.

      3. Ha, if Kershaw does happen to retire before season’s end I’ll dance a jig until my feet explode in painful ecstasy! Seriously though, I’m not buying it with Kershaw anymore. He’s toast, he KNOWS he’s toast, and if by some mere fluke of a chance he wins another Cy Young next year (if he hasn’t already hung it up by then, lol) then it’s a safe bet that hell has officially frozen over. Keep on saying it, I see too much late-period Dan Haren in him right now to be proven wrong here…

  2. So apparently Bob Nightengale has installed the Dodgers as the favorites for Machado which, based on past BN pronouncements probably means it has pretty high odds of never happening. Part of his theory is that the Dodger front office very much wants to keep him away from the Dbacks, and that actually makes some sense. The Dbacks have played extremely well over the past 25 games and that has, for the most part, been without, Ray, Miller, Souza, Pollock, Lamb and Walker. Imagine getting all those guys back and adding Manny. I realize we’ve touched on this before, but with the above in mind are you guys “for or against” and what would you give up? Yes, Manuel, I know. You’d give them Kershaw and Seager. 🙂

    1. Actually Jeff, I’d give the Orioles NOTHING for Machado as of today as he’s more a luxury than an outright necessity given where this current Dodger ballclub stands. Do you even realize how much production the Dodgers been getting from both Chris Taylor and Kike’ Hernandez at the SS position this season in Seager’s absence??? They’ve already combined for 22 HR and 57 RBI so far and we’re not even at the All-Star break yet! If Peter Angelos wants to push Machado on the Dodgers so badly, I would just offer them Seager (via PTBNL) along with a couple MLB-ready prospects that the Dodgers have no long-term plans for and not budge another inch.

      Truth be told, Dodgers are better off focusing on upgrading their C position instead because the very moment JT Realmuto said he wanted to be traded from the Marlins not too long ago THAT’S when things got very interesting in my eyes. Land a guy like that as your everyday backstop, all of a sudden your lineup AND pitching staff improves significantly down the stretch. Let’s face it, Dodgers haven’t had a true championship-caliber C since Scioscia back in the 80s and Realmuto definitely is flashing those same qualities on a much lesser ballclub this season. Oh, and landing that 8th-inning “Morrow” still remains priority No 1 on the front office’s to-do list as the trade deadline slowly looms over the horizon…

      1. I’ll give you one thing Manuel, your takes are always thought provoking. Trading Seager for 3 months of Machado? You might be the only guy in the country who feels that way, but more power to you. I certainly wouldn’t do it. I do agree that Machado is more of a luxury than a necessity at this point and that our main focus should be to bring in a couple of very good relievers, so we don’t disagree on everything. With regard to the catching situation, Realmutto would cost a fortune and we have two or three excellent prospects in the system and are supposed to be signing the best International prospect out there shortly. You guessed it, another catcher. Realmutto is great and I would actually trade any of our catching prospects for him, but it would probably cost our next four best prospects after Buehler and I don’t think that’s worth it.

      2. You’re still forgetting that there’s NO guarantee Seager fully recovers from his TJ rehab next year so what would be the point of holding on to him for that matter? If he can’t play the left side of that infield the way he’s expected to, then he’s really of no use to the Dodgers anymore. That’s why I wouldn’t hesitate including him in that Machado deal. On an AL team, at least he has a chance of being a viable 1B/DH option. I don’t care if you disagree with me on this because this is all theoretical anyway. And I wouldn’t assume so quickly that Machado would just be a mere “rental” for the Dodgers, either. Remember what he said recently: he’s willing to sign a long-term deal with any ballclub granting his wish of playing SS FULL-TIME. Besides, he just might end up falling in love with LA and choose to stay in the end. That’s been known to happen quite a bit over the years, too.

  3. Let’s think on that one until Dennis brings that up in his article, then we can have a good conversation about it, what say you Jeff?

    1. Fine by me Keith. Get your best trade ready to submit, or your best reason not to try for Machado at all.

  4. Just saw, the Mets are officially listening to offers on Syndergaard, and deGrom. Now that is news that would warrant an article, and a good follow up discussion.

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