With advancements in conditioning and understanding what a manager can or should ask from a starting pitcher, gone are the days of a top organisation having one true “Ace” that carries the rest of the team through a postseason. Although offering unparalleled entertainment, it seems unlikely that a team ever looks to a player, the way the Dodgers turned to Hershiser to deliver the goods through the last two months of the 1988 season and into the playoffs being awarded the World Series MVP. In modern baseball, having a deep rotation should be the foundation for Major League success.
The plan is for Clayton Kershaw to pitch on Opening Day, Walker Buehler and Trevor Bauer are clear mainstays in the rotation. That leaves two spaces between four pitchers who would make the third spot in most of the other teams’ rotation. I expect manager, Dave Roberts, to use Price if he’s anywhere near his previous powers as his fourth man, and has said that the plan is for Julio Urías to start. With the ‘Opt Outs’ present in Bauer’s contract and Kershaw entering the final year of his bumper extension, there is a chance that in just a year, there will be two open spots in this stacked roster that Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin could fill, if they just stayed patient. If injury cover and bullpen appearances don’t please them, both these two talented young pitchers could prove very valuable trade assets.
The Dodgers had the best record in the regular season and are now the reigning champions, this season will be a different challenge for the Dodgers. After chasing for 32 years, the rest of the league is chasing them. It’s hard to improve when you’re the best team in the league, but by including Price on the Mookie Betts trade, and bringing in the current NL Cy Young Award winner, General Manager Andrew Friedman has tried his best. I’m not sure how this rotation looks at the end of the year, and I don’t know what faces we will see in 2022, but with the season starting in just a couple of weeks 21, this Dodgers rotation keeps them firmly ahead of the chasing pack.
Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images
Freddie Law-Keen is a guest contributor for Bat Flips and Nerds. You can find him on Twitter @FLK_Sports