When the Los Angeles Dodgers were on the verge of closing the door on the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 6 of the World Series, it was Julio Urias that had the honor of recording the final out.
The left-hander tossed 2.1 perfect innings to solidify the Dodgers’ first title since 1988, capping off a magnificent postseason that included six total appearances and two starts.
It was a different role than what he had during the regular season, when all but one of his 11 outings came in the form of starts. Urias nonetheless thrived, going a perfect 4-0 with a 1.17 ERA in 23 innings.
As the offseason unfolds, the Dodgers are deliberating whether to keep Urias in the bullpen next year or move him back to the starting rotation, via Andy McCullough of The Athletic:
Urias is also under team control through 2023; there is still some internal discussion about whether he is best suited for the rotation or for the relief role he starred in during the postseason.
The Dodgers currently have an abundance of options to choose from when constructing their starting rotation for the 2021 season. The group includes holdovers such as Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin, to name a few.
And while the club figures to lose some depth in Alex Wood and Jimmy Nelson during free agency, they are expected to get back David Price, who opted out of the 2020 season.
With more starters than spots to fill, the Dodgers could ultimately decide to keep Urias in the bullpen next season, or at the very least, use him in multiple roles as they did throughout the playoffs.
Roberts praises Urias for being patient with development
The 2020 season marked Urias’ first without an innings limit. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts praised him for being patient and keeping his trust in the organization.
“No. 1, Julio’s openness to trust the organization and what’s best for his career and for us as an organization to really do what was best for him,” Roberts said last month. “You can debate whether we were too careful with him, if we didn’t push him enough.
“I appreciate Julio is going to have a great career and I do think the foundation of taking care of him in his early years to allow him to go forward and have a great career, I think that’s a part of it.
“That’s not easy for an organization to do. I just appreciates he understands whatever did was the best thing for him and his career.”
As for whether Roberts envisions Urias as the Dodgers’ permanent closer someday, he is simply focusing on the present. “We can have that conversation later,” Roberts said.
“Right now, I love him as a starter for the Dodgers in Game 3. I think with Julio, with his mind and skillset, he can do anything on the mound.”
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