Dodgers News: Alex Wood Intends To Be Part Of Starting Rotation
Dodgers News: Alex Wood Intends To Be Part Of Starting Rotation
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In need of starting pitching last season, the Los Angeles Dodgers opted against trading for an ace and instead acquired Mat Latos and Alex Wood as part of a 13-player trade with the Atlanta Braves and Miami Marlins.

Latos was released from the organization in late September, and Wood battled inconsistency. Entering an offseason that was flush with starters, the deep-pocketed Dodgers were expected to be in the thick of bidding wars.

However, Los Angeles primarily focused on re-signing Zack Greinke and carried onward with their focus on depth once Greinke accepted a six-year, $206.5 million offer from the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Dodgers’ first response was agreeing to terms with Hisashi Iwakuma on a three-year, $36 million contract. Only for the deal to never be made official after Iwakuma failed a physical, and ultimately re-signed with the Seattle Mariners.

The additions of Scott Kazmir and Kent Maeda in December completed the Dodgers’ search for starting pitching. It also added depth to a rotation that was unable to withstand the losses of Brandon McCarthy and Hyun-Jin Ryu to their respective season-ending surgeries.

Assuming Ryu is healthy enough to be part of the rotation come Opening Day, the depth also means a starter — widely presumed to be Wood — must get bumped to the bullpen. However, the 25-year-old Wood envisions otherwise, according to Bill Plunkett of the OC Register:

“The expectation is that I’ll be in the rotation and we’ll go from there,” he said. “At the end of the day, all I want to do is win so whatever I can do to help the team win I’m going to do. But at the same time, my mentality is I’m a starter and I’ve earned the right to be a starter. I don’t plan on that changing if I can help it. That’s my mentality.”

In 12 starts with the Dodgers last season, the left-hander was 5-6 with a 4.35 ERA, 4.10 FIP, 1.27 WHIP and averaged 6.3 strikeouts per nine innings. Wood was 7-6 with a 3.54 ERA, 3.45 FIP, 1.41 WHIP and 6.8 strikeouts per nine innings over 20 starts with the Braves in 2015.

He threw two innings of relief in the Game 3 of the National League Division Series against the New York Mets at Citi Field, allowing four runs on four hits, including a three-run home run to Yoenis Cepedes.

Part of Wood’s struggles can be attributed to a nagging ankle injury. “Alex had an ankle injury last year that we felt like he came here and actually pitched well for us,” Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said at FanFest on Jan. 30.

“We feel like there is even more in the tank because as we got into it, the ankle, we feel like, caused the arm slot to drop, which contributed to some of his struggles against right-handed hitters. In the past, he has been really good against them. He has worked really hard.”

Friedman added the club has not yet committed to a plan that moves Wood into the bullpen. The offseason presented sufficient time for Wood to rest the troublesome ankle — classified as a bone bruise.

For his career, the Braves’ second-round pick from the 2012 draft is 26-26 with a 3.30 ERA, 3.34 FIP and 1.27 WHIP over 98 games (67 starts). Wood last appeared out of the bullpen in 2014, when he was used as a reliever in 11 games.