Random Thoughts on Dodgers’ Starting Rotation, 40-Man Roster and Free Agent Market

If there’s one thing the MLB stoppage has provided fans with so far this winter, it’s the freedom to let their minds run wild with imagination. With the absence of any legitimate rumors of trades or signings, hypothetical acquisitions have been running wild in the baseball blogosphere. If the CBA resolution arrives later than sooner, fans could witness a mad frenzy of signings like no other before.

For fans of the Los Angeles Dodgers, lots of questions linger. Above all else is how much money the club will spend on payroll. Following in a close second is the future of righty starter Trevor Bauer and where he fits with the team. Whatever the case may be, all parties are hopeful the season starts on time without any major implications on the schedule.

Starting Rotation

With the transaction freeze in place, there hasn’t been a whole lot to talk about as far as roster-building goes. We’ve beaten to death everything surrounding the state of the Los Angeles rotation, specifically if Bauer doesn’t pitch and Clayton Kershaw ends up throwing for another team, if he’s indeed able to pitch.

One thing we haven’t touched on much is whether the Dodgers plan on sticking to a traditional rotation or utilizing more “openers.”

In 2021, the Dodgers used a franchise-record 39 pitchers, including limited services of arms like Kevin Quackenbush, James Sherfy, Yefry Ramirez, Jake Reed and more. Part of the reason was the insane number of injuries — and the COVID-19 protocols — coupled with the fact that the team only played 60 games in 2020, so to say that player stamina and conditioning were lacking would be an understatement.

The Dodgers used 19 different pitchers in either a starting or opening role last year, led by Walker Buehler with 33 bona fide starts and David Price with 11 “opening” appearances. Personally, I feel the Dodgers aren’t leaning one way or the other — if they have the quality starters to run out every five days, they obviously don’t need to employ an opener. In other words, they probably don’t plan on using openers unless the roster requirements dictate it.

40-Man Roster

Last year, each player who was part of the 40-man roster had at least several opportunities to showcase their skills, leading many to believe that the Los Angeles farm might not be as talented as once perceived. Front office boss Andrew Friedman became a master at manipulating the team roster, throwing players to the sharks that some fans would have never believed — see Justin Bruihl, Darien Nunez, Mike Kickham and more.

No doubt, the same could be in store for next season. 25-year-old righty Michael Grove was recently added to the 40-man mix last month, meaning there’s a better-than-average chance he’ll make his big-league debut in 2022.

A few other young players to keep an eye on next year as potential 40-man starting pitching additions are Ryan Pepiot, Landon Knack and Clayton Beeter. Fans will also closely monitor the continued emergence of Andre Jackson and Mitch White to gauge if they’re actually big-league material.

Free Agency

Many of the hottest topics on the rumor front surrounding position players like Freddie Freeman and Carlos Correa have overshadowed much of the starting pitching speculation. Max Scherzer landing in New York received most of the attention, and whatever happens with Kershaw will certainly dominate the headlines whenever those decisions roll around.

While most of the big-name starting pitchers came off the table before the CBA expired, there could be a few diamonds in the rough remaining. Or, we could see the Dodgers make a few trades if all else fails. If not, we may be in store for quite a few more “openers” in 2022.

11 thoughts on “Random Thoughts on Dodgers’ Starting Rotation, 40-Man Roster and Free Agent Market

  1. I have decided that we should at least talk to the Rays to see what they would want for Glasnow. He had TJ in August so won’t be ready until 2023 which is his last year of control.

    The Rays will be responsible for paying him to sit out this year which will cost them about 6 mil, money they probably would rather not spend.

    What say you my fellow GM’s? What do we offer the Rays for one year of Tyler Glasnow? He’s a local kid so we might have a shot at extending him if we got him. And the good news is that he’s not repped by Boras.

    2023 Rotation:
    Buehler
    Glasnow
    Urias
    May
    Pepiot/Miller/Gonsolin

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      1. I’m guessing that would be the low bid since a lot of teams will be interested, but Vivas is very interesting to me and I saw a video of Huebeck on draft day and was impressed.

        I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see the Rays move Glasnow this winter but doubt it will be to L.A.

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      2. I think you’ll be hearing a fair amount about Vivas in the next couple of years. Remember the name.

        Why Glasnow? Well, I consider him one of the 15-20 best starters in the game. You may disagree.
        2.3 WAR in 88 innings before he got hurt last season and estimated to earn 6 mil this year. Since he won’t pitch I would guess he wouldn’t get much of a raise for 2023.

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      3. I’ll take your word for it. Good K/IP ratio. He’s been around a while without putting a great year together. Maybe all he needed was the knife.

        So my offer is a good one. I’m a natural.

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  2. I think you’re on to something jeff, six mil is a lot of money for the rays to have sit on their bench. I believe there is a better than 50/50 chance that he is on a team other than the rays for the 2022 season.

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