Los Angeles Dodgers Rotation Options


The Los Angeles Dodgers have not been having good luck when it comes to acquiring pitching this offseason. After their deal to acquire Aroldis Chapman fell through last week, their free agent deal to add Hisashi Iwakuma to their rotation fell through days ago, leaving questions surrounding the Dodgers rotation after Zack Greinke left via free agency to join the Arizona Diamondbacks.

We’ve grown accustomed to seeing the Dodgers with the one-two punch of Greinke and Clayton Kershaw, but the 2016 version of the squad may be lacking two big names at the head of the rotation. While Kershaw is still with the club, the rotation behind him currently projects to include Brett Anderson, Hyun-jin Ryu, Alex Wood and Mike Bolsinger.

While the name recognition may not be enough for a Los Angeles-based team, according to MLB.com, those five currently form the fifth-best rotation in the big leagues, according to WAR (wins above replacement). Their combined projected WAR is 15.7, right on the heels of Cleveland’s 15.9, and not too far behind the young aces in Queens who come in with a 16.7, ranking second in the Majors behind the Chicago Cubs.

So the sky isn’t falling, but one has to believe that the likelihood that the Dodgers add another starter is still relatively high. The question is where will this starter come from? The big move that had been talked about after the Dodgers inserted themselves into the Reds-White Sox swap for Todd Frazier was that Los Angeles was acquiring more prospects to make an even bigger move–namely to acquire Jose Fernandez from Miami.

After the Dodgers drew a monetary line in the sand in negotiations with Greinke, the team may be taking another approach in the coming years. They have a number of solid prospects, giving them one of the better farm systems in baseball. Starting in 2016 they may begin to rely on that system instead of adding the biggest free agents on the market.

The big fish on the farm is Julio Urias, a 19-year-old left-hander that made the climb to Triple-A last season. In two starts with Oklahoma City, Urias appeared overmatched. His line from those two starts included 4.1 innings pitched, 11 hits, 9 earned runs, 6 walks and 5 strikeouts. He’ll likely begin 2016 with the OKC Dodgers after putting up a 2.71 ERA in 13 Double-A starts. If all goes well, he could be a rotation option around the All-Star break if the Dodgers want to push it.

Right-hander Jose De Leon, 23, reached Double-A last season and according to Baseball America ($) could be a No. 2 or No. 3 starter. He will also likely start in Triple-A, but given his age may have the better shot of the two to make his debut around midseason.

Added to the young guns is veteran Brandon McCarthy, who required Tommy John surgery after four starts last season. In his career McCarthy holds a 4.13 ERA, but would be a solid addition to the rotation next season if his recovery goes well.

Next: Twins Relying on Prospects in 2016

The team may look to acquire starting pitching via trade, but it likely won’t be any of the bigger names–Fernandez, Gray, Sale–due to either the cost of acquisition or the team’s general unwillingness to trade their top pitcher. Another option for the team as they wait for McCarthy and Ryu to heal, would be to go after a free agent, with two big names in Mike Leake and Yovani Gallardo still on the market.

The Los Angeles Dodgers don’t necessarily have to make a big move this winter in order to remain competitive in the NL West, but with the San Francisco Giants and Arizona Diamondbacks making big moves, it would be a tough sell to a large market to not do so.