The Los Angeles Dodgers starting rotation underwent a bit of a makeover this offseason, which was set in motion by Zack Greinke signing with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
It was an adventurous process, but Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman managed to round out the rotation nicely by signing Scott Kazmir and Japanese righty Kenta Maeda to multiyear deals.
However, Kazmir’s deal includes an opt-out clause after this season, which Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi said the club is comfortable with given the pitching depth in the organization.
Los Angeles is also getting Brett Anderson back as he turned down other contracts to bet on himself by accepting the one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer.
As the Dodgers rotation sits right now, it’s leaning heavily left with Anderson, Kazmir, Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Alex Wood all vying to be part of the picture come Opening Day. Maeda represents the lone righty, though he may be joined around the All-Star break by Brandon McCarthy.
While much has been made about the lefty-dominated rotation, Kazmir doesn’t see any issues with it. “It’s just new to everyone. That’s why it’s just such a big deal,” he said.
“I’m all for it, but maybe I’m biased. I’ve said this before, if you have guys that pitch like Kershaw, they can get right-handers out as much as left-handers, so I don’t think handedness really matters.”
Kazmir can be grouped with the lefties who have enjoyed success against right-handed batters. In his 11-year career, the southpaw has allowed right-handed hitters to bat just .250./.332/.412, compared to left-handers who have hit .241/.299/.357.
Last season Kazmir fared better against righties, holding them to a .225/.301/.344 slash line over 577 plate appearances. Same-side batters hit .272/.312/.462 over 186 plate appearances.
If Ryu proves to be healthy then Wood will likely start the season in the bullpen, but he along with Brandon Beachy will provided the Dodgers the starting pitching depth that they lacked in 2015.