The Los Angeles Dodgers had one of the top starting rotations in baseball last season, but heading into the offseason it was a major area concern for the team as both Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer were free agents.
L.A. was able to re-sign Kershaw, but they lost Scherzer to the New York Mets on a record-setting contract prior to the MLB lockout beginning. While it’s nearly impossible to replace the future Hall of Famer, the club signed Andrew Heaney and Tyler Anderson to compete for a spot in the rotation and provide much needed depth.
With the additions of the veteran southpaws, the Dodgers effectively have six starters for their five rotation spots, and another if they still view David Price as a potential option after he was utilized in of a hybrid role last season.
With just eight Spring Training games remaining, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts is close to sorting out his rotation to open the season and appears set on Andrew Heaney and Tony Gonsolin filling the final two spots behind Walker Buehler, Julio Urias and Kershaw in some order, according to Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
After Sunday’s game, he indicated that the rotation at the start of the season will feature Buehler, Julio Urias, Clayton Kershaw and Heaney with Tony Gonsolin as the fifth starter (though Roberts has not revealed the order).
“I think if you look at it right now, it’s pretty easy to see that Tony is projecting to be that (fifth) guy,” Roberts said. “He’s building up. He’s done it before. He has the weapons to be a starter. So I think that’s kind of where we see it now.”
Heaney beginning in the Dodgers’ Opening Day rotation reinforces their commitment to helping him breaking out. The 30-year-old was their first signing of the offseason and they competed against more than a dozen teams to sign the left-hander based on their belief in his upside even after posting an ERA near six last year.
So far, Heaney’s struggles have continued into Spring Training as he owns a 16.88 ERA in his 5.1 innings pitched, with two home runs allowed. Heaney surrendered 29 homers last season.
Gonsolin had an impressive showing in his 2022 Spring Training debut, throwing three scoreless innings with no hits while striking out four against the Colorado Rockies.
The right-hander is entering his fourth season with the Dodgers and is looking to bounce back from an injury-plagued 2021 campaign and establish himself as a key piece of their rotation.
This past offseason the 27-year-old has put an emphasis on improving the strength in his right shoulder and so far is encouraged by the results.
Anderson was the last pitcher signed by the Dodgers, and he too has looked sharp. Anderson has the most experience among the pitchers being considered for the rotation.
The 32-year-old made his MLB debut in 2016 with the Colorado Rockies and remained with them through the 2019 season before signing with the San Francisco Giants, and splitting time with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Seattle Mariners last season.
Price was looking to earn a spot in the rotation but he has yet to appear in a Cactus League game.
Dodgers waiting for MLB’s ruling on Trevor Bauer
The Dodgers are still waiting for MLB’s ruling on Trevor Bauer, who is out for at least the first week of the regular season as his stay on administrative leave was extended through April 16 due to the league’s ongoing investigation into sexual assault allegations.
Bauer is set for a hearing on April 4, which could impact MLB’s investigation and next course of action.
Under MLB’s joint domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse policy, commissioner Rob Manfred can levy any suspension regardless of whether criminal charges were filed or not. Some have speculated such a punishment for Bauer could be up for a full season.
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