At the moment, the Dodgers have four starters pretty much set in stone (assuming they’re healthy): Julio Urias, Clayton Kershaw, Tony Gonsolin, and Dustin May. Beyond that, they have at least five internal options to make starts in that fifth spot: Ryan Pepiot, Michael Grove, Andre Jackson, Bobby Miller, and Gavin Stone.
So the Dodgers don’t really need to add a starting pitcher this offseason. They would have liked to sign either Jacob deGrom or Justin Verlander, but both went on very lucrative contracts to other teams. Tyler Anderson and Andrew Heaney both signed multi-year deals with AL West teams, and other guys like Taijuan Walker, Chris Bassitt, Zach Eflin, and others have signed elsewhere, too.
There are still good pitchers available, including lefty Carlos Rodon, who has been a Cy Young contender each of the last two seasons, first with the White Sox and then with the Giants. He makes sense in a lot of ways for L.A.
Dodgers Nation talked with Dodgers insider Pedro Moura at the Winter Meetings last week, and Moura isn’t convinced Los Angeles needs to sign a starter.
“I guess no. No, I don’t think so. But I think they would want one. I think it would certainly look better. Could they win the World Series without adding an elite starter? Yeah, I mean I can see a world in which Dustin May is back to being elite next season. I’m not saying I guarantee it, or even would bet on it. But it’s certainly possible. Walker Buehler could be back in September or October. And the Dodgers, especially with this new playoff format, the Dodgers are not in position where they’ll really going to be fighting for a playoff spot, right. They’re fighting for once they get to the playoffs. We know they’re going to be in the playoffs next season. So I think they’re in the market for guys who could be elite in October.
“Could Ryan Pepiot be good by then? Could Dustin May be great by then? Yeah, I mean these are all possibilities. And so if you string those together with Julio Urias, who was, again, really good this season, I think they still have that potential. But at the same time, understanding them as we do, I think it still makes plenty of sense that they would pursue an elite option.”
Los Angeles could sit out free agency and try to address any needs they might have at the trade deadline. It wouldn’t affect their playoff chances very much — if the season started today, L.A. might still be the favorites to win the NL West, and they’d certainly be in line for a playoff spot.
Still, it makes sense for them to be in on pitching, as Moura said. Assuming perfect health for pitchers is a fool’s game, and the Dodgers generally aren’t fools.
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