When the Los Angeles Dodgers signed Trevor Bauer to a record-setting contract last month, it further bolstered what was already one of the deepest starting rotations in baseball.
With the first four spots set, the only question remaining is who will round out the staff as the No. 5 starter. Julio Urias is believed to be the favorite, although Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May and Jimmy Nelson will also receive consideration.
Regardless of who is left out, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts sees a path for each of Urias, Gonsolin and May to make the Opening Day roster. “Sure, yeah,” Roberts said. “I think those guys have all shown what they can do at the Major League level. I just want these guys to continue to build up.”
With Major League Baseball transitioning back to a 162-game schedule this season, a heavy emphasis is being placed on pitching depth. As starters slowly build up, teams may go to their bullpen more often early in the year.
For the Dodgers, that could amount to some combination of Urias, Gonsolin or May eating innings in a relief role.
“Obviously we open up with four in Colorado. Starting pitchers aren’t built up where they will be later in the regular season, so to have as many guys that can take down innings obviously is very important,” Roberts acknowledged.
“So when you’re looking at potentially two starters that don’t make the rotation, it certainly makes sense to have guys that can log some innings.”
No matter how things play out this spring, there will be a couple of talented starters who find themselves in the bullpen or in the Minors at the start of the season. Roberts hopes they keep a positive mindset and use the opportunity to continue building up.
“I guess if there’s any club that you could even have that conversation, it’s ours,” Roberts said. “With the depth, we’re seven or eight starters deep.
“My message to Dustin, along with all those other starters, is continue to build up, keep making pitches and we’ll see where that leads.”
May sets goal of making Dodgers’ Opening Day starting rotation
Despite the odds being against him, May has set his sights on making the Dodgers’ Opening Day starting rotation. “At this point in the year I’ve got to go out and do everything that I can,” May said.
“I’m fighting for a spot. We’ve got seven guys to fill five roles. I’ve got to go out and do everything that I can to get one of them. That’s my goal: to be on the Opening Day roster as a starter. So I’ve got to do everything in my power to go out there and achieve it.”
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