Going into the offseason the Los Angeles Dodgers have multiple question marks involving their roster as president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman has a number of different avenues he can take to improve it.
One of the questions that needs to be addressed is the starting rotation. With Hyun-Jin Ryu and Rich Hill both potentially departing in free agency, the only certainties in the rotation are Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw and Kenta Maeda, who Friedman confirmed will be a starter despite finishing the year in the bullpen.
Re-signing either Ryu or Hill is also a possibility, as well as other free agents like Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg and Zack Wheeler. It appears Friedman plans to go with a pitcher in the organization for one of those spots as he confirmed again this week at the annual General Manager Meetings that Urias will be in the rotation, via Jorge Castillo of L.A. Times:
Friedman reiterated Wednesday that the team plans on having Julio Urias in the rotation next season.
Urias was once the top young arm in the Dodgers farm system, but a few injuries, including shoulder surgery that cost him most of 2017 and almost all of 2018, stunted his development.
Urias went into 2019 healthy but on an innings limit, so he split time between the rotation and bullpen. He had a solid overall season, going 4-3 with a 2.49 ERA, 3.43 FIP and 1.08 WHIP with 85 strikeouts and 27 walks in 79.2 innings across 37 games (eight starts).
The 23-year-old remained healthy for the entire season, although he did miss some time due to a domestic violence suspension in August.
Urias was actually better as a reliever, posting a 2.01 ERA in 49.1 innings compared to 3.26 in 30.1 innings as a starter. It is not surprising to see that he will be returning to the rotation in 2020 though.
While Friedman has not stated so yet, he will likely be on some sort of innings restriction, but it won’t be anything near his 2019 limit. For that reason, the Dodgers’ starting pitching depth will be essential once again next year.
While Stripling, May and Gonsolin give the organization some depth, the Dodgers may need to add another arm or two to in the rotation to alleviate the burden on Urias and their organization’s other young starters.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events and more!