With pitchers and catchers due to arrive at Camelback Ranch this week, the Los Angeles Dodgers find themselves in an enviable position. The club boasts arguably the deepest starting rotation in all of baseball, which was recently boosted by the signing of Trevor Bauer.
The reigning National League Cy Young Award winner joins a staff that includes Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, David Price and Julio Urias. There are other arms the Dodgers could turn to as well, with Tony Gonsolin and Dustin May at the front of the list.
In most years, a surplus of this kind typically would result in a trade to clear space. However, as teams once again prepare for the grueling demands of a normal 162-game season, having more starters than spots to fill is not the worst scenario.
That’s how Dodgers manager Dave Roberts views the situation, as he expects the club to use more starting pitchers this year than perhaps ever before, via Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
“As we sit here in the early part of February – it’s amazing. It’s great,” Roberts said. … “This year is unprecedented in terms of how players will respond, in particular pitchers,” Roberts said. “So to look at workload from ’20 and now look out at ’21 – things are going to happen. How much can a pitcher handle? So for us to look at it as depth beyond depth is a very good thing.”
During their current run of eight consecutive NL West titles, the Dodgers have used an average of 12 starting pitchers per season. That number may very well increase this year given the uncertainty of how players will respond with the longer schedule and bigger workload.
Even before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Dodgers placed a strong emphasis on stockpiling depth. Now as the club gets set to enter a challenging season, they figure to be in a prime position to withstand any obstacles that come their way.
Spring Training changes for MLB health and safety protocols
Spring Training will look a bit different this year as part of the health and safety protocols recently agreed upon by MLB and the Players Association. It will essentially be divided into three phases, with the first round of workouts limited to individuals and small groups through Feb. 20.
Then from Feb. 21-26, larger groups and intrasquad games will be permitted. Official Spring Training games begin Feb. 27 or 28, although contests against non-Major League teams are banned this year.
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