Dodgers Spring Training: Dave Roberts Believes Up To 9 Pitchers Are Candidates For Spots In Opening Day Rotation
Dave Roberts, 2020 Spring Training
Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers accomplished their biggest goal of the offseason by acquiring Mookie Betts from the Boston Red Sox, successfully adding another frontline player to an already deep roster.

David Price’s inclusion in the deal is notable as well, as his presence adds some stability to a starting rotation that lost a few notable contributors this winter.

Hyun-Jin Ryu turned a career 2019 campaign into a lucrative four-year contract with the Toronto Blue Jays, while Rich Hill departed for the Minnesota Twins on a one-year pact filled with a plethora of incentives.

The Dodgers also traded Kenta Maeda to the Minnesota Twins in a deal that netted them pitching prospect Brusdar Graterol, Luke Raley and the 67th overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft.

Even with all of the departures this offseason, the Dodgers still have more candidates than spots to fill in their starting rotation. “There’s competition,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.

“You’re looking at eight arms, possibly nine, that really can make a case. Right now, it’s just kind of let these guys do their thing. I just know we have eight, nine guys that are very, very confident in that role.”

With Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw and Price entrenched at the top of the starting rotation, the fourth spot is expected to go to Julio Urias. Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman recently suggested the possibility at the annual FanFest event.

As for the final spot, it will ultimately come down to who shines the most in Spring Training. Among those being considered are free-agent signings Jimmy Nelson and Alex Wood, and holdovers Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May and Ross Stripling.

Nelson and Wood are each coming off injury-shortened 2019 campaigns, but have proven in the past they can be effective when healthy. Though, Nelson was just slowed in camp by a groin issue, and May is also dealing with a minor injury.

Gonsolin, May and Stripling were among the Dodgers’ most versatile pitchers last season, showing a capability to either start or relieve. The candidates that miss out on the fifth spot in the starting rotation will presumably shift to relief roles and further lengthen what should be an improved bullpen this season.

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