(Editor’s note: TBPC would like to welcome Ben Kirst to the site’s writing team. Despite spending most of his life in Western New York, Ben is a lifelong fan of the Dodgers, and his writing experience has included coverage of the Buffalo Bills and Sabres, Canisius College hockey, University at Buffalo basketball and various D-3/high school sports. He managed, edited and wrote for Buffalo.com for seven years. He also contributed to USCHO.com for three years and The Dunkirk (N.Y.) Observer for another four. Hopefully, Ben will tolerate all of our antics here at TBPC and continue to contribute many insightful articles in the future. Feel free to give him a follow on Twitter @BK77.)
Aside from the big Charlie Culberson trade with the Braves, which essentially moved $47 million in payroll and opened up three roster spots, the Dodgers have been pretty quiet so far this winter. On Thursday, Dennis took a an early look at what the rotation in Oklahoma City might be. With the movement of Scott Kazmir and Brandon McCarthy to the Braves, where does that leave the big league rotation?
With the hot stove season and baseball’s winter meetings inching ever so closer, there has been a huge amount of chatter and speculation among followers of the Dodgers surrounding potential trades or the addition of a few free agents. But while the squad will indeed have a slightly different look come spring, there’s a pretty good chance that management builds the 25-man roster from the existing framework within the organization. Last week, general manager Farhan Zaidi addressed the media, stating that he thinks the roster won’t need much work.
At this point last week, many followers of the Dodgers were beginning to show signs of concern for a major collapse in the standings, yet many close to the team who knew a little bit about mathematical probability simply shrugged off the slump as a common occurrence which could happen to any contending squad.
At this particular juncture of the 2017 campaign, it’s a bit difficult to provide a general outlook regarding the starting rotation of the Dodgers, mainly because of its present instability. Yet, although the pitching hasn’t been the sole culprit of the club’s first four-game losing streak since May of 2016, it has indeed been ugly as of late, especially in the current series against the Diamondbacks at Chase Field.
With each passing day, it seems as if more positive news surfaces regarding the improvement of staff ace Clayton Kershaw‘s back injury. Yet regardless of how hard the three-time NL Cy Young award winner pushes for a return to the active roster, the Dodgers have hardly any rationale at all to warrant a speedy return to the team.
Fans of the Dodgers were set to go nuts if the front office didn’t come though for them at the trade deadline, getting them another starting pitcher to help Clayton Kershaw and Company in the playoffs. But low and behold, seemingly at the last minute, they did, trading three prospects to the Texas Rangers for right handed pitcher Yu Darvish.
While there are several factors which could potentially contribute to the dynamics of the Dodgers pitching rotation over the coming week, the club still continues to take a conservative approach on a day-to-day basis, protecting themselves from one or two outcomes that may determine the fate of the starting five moving forward.
Long before Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw‘s scheduled evaluation with back specialist Dr. Robert Watkins on Monday, reports began to surface on Twitter, most specifically from Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, indicating that the three-time NL Cy Young Award winner will presumably miss four to six weeks after a back injury became evident in Sunday’s series finale against the Braves.