Dodgers 2019 Roster: A Few Random Thoughts on Starting Rotation Depth

santana

For the first time in a number of years, the starting rotation of the Dodgers appears to be set even before pitchers and catchers return to the clubhouse at Camelback Ranch.

Last year, fans had a good idea what would happen before spring camp began, but veterans Brandon McCarthy and Scott Kazmir vowed to make a run at the starting five to prove everyone wrong. Ultimately, though, it was Clayton Kershaw, Alex Wood, Kenta Maeda, Rich Hill and Hyun-Jin Ryu who made up the 2018 starting crew—in that order.

This year, Walker Buehler will begin the season in the rotation, slotting in as the No. 2 behind Kershaw. It’s probably only a matter of time before he becomes the club’s ace. In due course, he’ll presumably break Kersh’s string of Opening Day starts that date back to 2011.

Regardless, whether it was intentional or not, all of the aforementioned pitchers spent time on the disabled list last year. Obviously, some of the injuries were legitimate; however, it isn’t difficult to conclude that boss Andrew Friedman frequently uses the DL as a tool to rest his players and extend their mileage deep into the season.

So, what happens when the Dodgers need another starting pitcher? How exactly does the depth stack up for 2019?

Although it hasn’t been ruled out completely, the rumors surrounding Cleveland ace Corey Kluber have fizzled to the point where they’re hardly being whispered at all. An acquisition of Kluber’s caliber would have been monumental, but because the Indians were aiming for the moon regarding a return package, the Dodgers will likely have to be content with what they have in-house currently.

Besides the arms already mentioned, there is a slew of swing men—Ross Stripling, Caleb Ferguson, Dennis Santana and Brock Stewart—who are all capable of taking the hill at the big league level. Yet, because spots on the 25-man roster will be at a premium, there’s no guarantee that Stewart will even be with the club come Opening Day, primarily because he doesn’t have any options remaining on his contract.

Additionally, there’s always Julio Urias. Undoubtedly, the 22-year-old southpaw will contribute to the major league squad at some point in the year, but how management will handle his 2019 innings limit remains unknown. As it stands, many are guessing that the team saves the bulk of his workload for the stretch run of the regular season and into the playoffs.

In any case, Ferguson ended up being one of the most dependable bullpen pieces during the stretch-run of the regular season, but it seems as if the team will continue to groom him as a starter, at least until there’s a glaring need in the big league relief corps.

Stripling was named to the 2018 National League All-Star squad for his first-half accomplishments, but failed to make any of the Dodgers’ rosters in the playoffs.

Still only 22-years-old, Santana made his big league debut last year but was shut down in June with a severe rotator cuff injury. Long term, there could be a possibility that he contributes as a late-inning reliever, but for now, chances are very good that he begins 2019 in the OKC rotation, serving as insurance to the parent club’s starting pitchers.

With about two full months remaining before Opening Day, while we have a pretty good idea about the way things are shaping up pitching wise, eight weeks is a lot of time for a few surprises and new player developments.

Stay tuned.

 

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24 thoughts on “Dodgers 2019 Roster: A Few Random Thoughts on Starting Rotation Depth

    1. Hard to believe that Frias actually started 13 games for us in 2015. I’m feeling much better about this year’s rotation and, of course, there’s always Andrew’s annual July fishing trip. Who know what/who he might catch this year?

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  1. Anyone really believe that Stewart is going to even be a Dodger after spring training? I doubt he will since he is out of options. Garcia is in the same boat. I also have heard very little chatter about Chargois and his chances of making it into the final bullpen set up.

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      1. Are you absolutely sure he has an option left? I saw somewhere that he was out of options. I hope you’re right.

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    1. I agree with you Bear that the odds of any of those three being on the roster on opening day is slim. I could see Farhan picking up any or all of them, but if not the Giants someone will find value there. I’ve been a Chargois fan since he got here last year and I’m hoping that he’ll be lights out this spring and force them to keep him. Yimi just never seemed to recover from his surgery. Maybe he just needs more time but it won’t be here. They really jerked Stewart around last year with all those trips back and forth to OKC, starting then relieving then starting again then relieving again. He deserves to go somewhere that will just give him a chance to become the pitcher he can be.

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  2. I remember the shutout win over the Cubs Stewart pitched in a couple years ago and I thought he’d be a star. But he seems to have lost a few mph on his fastball and has never really developed. I would think they’d try to package him in a trade rather then just lose him

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  3. Farhan is loading up on exe Dodgers. He just signed Brandon Beachy to a minor league deal. So Ramos, Solano and Beachy are all with the Giants now. I was watching a game from last spring that the Dodgers played against the D-Backs. They won 14-6. Knocked out Robbie Ray in the first inning when they scored 6 runs. 5 of them off of Ray. Big 1st included HR’s by Kemp and Farmer. Turner hit one later in the game. It is fun to watch those games. Not only do you know they are going to win, but you can skip innings so you do not have to watch the bad stuff.

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  4. Those guys could present value to the giants. That team won’t be competing for a few years. Pick up known commodities until the time comes.

    Looking at our depth chart at MLB we have 33 players listed. Obviously somebody gotta go, but every name there looks like potential Major League contributors. The FO calls it depth. If they all remain healthy that’s exactly what it is. Obviously not all will remain off the DL all year. I think it’s safe to say there will be at least 33 players that play some role on the ML roster in 2019. I’d guess more moves will happen before Opening Day. Maybe several of them. It’s who Friedman is. It’s what Friedman does.

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  5. MLBinsider breaking a story on Twitter that Realmuto has been traded to the Dodgers for Ruiz and some other players. Physicals exchanged and the trade should be finalized on Monday. I will believe it when I see it, but trading Ruiz for a 2 year rental is insane.

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      1. Like I said, I will believe it when I see it. And I really do not believe Andy is dumb enough to trade Ruiz…….

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      2. Since it is the only place I have seen this , I tend to think it is pure BS> There is another guy on there who does that all the time. Last I looked there were like 130 reply’s to that post asking for details. There are no indications from guys like Rosenthal or Heyman, who are usually right on top of a story like that. I think what confuses people is that he uses the MLB logo for his avatar.

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      3. Obviously there are tweetle dees and tweetle dumbs. We see evidence of that on a national level daily. I’m not part of that universe so I have no idea who this “insider” is. If he’s not reliable why report it here?

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      4. How can he get away with using the MLB logo? By the way, the deal is now official. Ruiz, Turner, Seager, Kershaw and Buehler plus six players to be named later.

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  6. Oh well. It’s Sunday. Super Bowl Sunday at that. Nothing Dodgers is going to happen today. Let the twitterverse explode if it wants. I’ll be taking it easy this morning and entertaining guests this afternoon and evening. Maybe something happens tomorrow, maybe it’s more of the same glacial movement. Whatever. Baseball is coming eventually. It does every year.

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