Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The Los Angeles Dodgers entered the offseason with uncertainty in their starting rotation that was cause for concern as Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer both became free agents.
There was reported interest in re-signing Scherzer, but he joined the New York Mets on a record-setting three-year contract. The MLB lockout then arrived, and once business resumed, the Dodgers re-signed Kershaw to a one-year contract.
He gave L.A. a formidable top three starters in their rotation. The staff arguably is now led by Walker Buehler, who was named the Dodgers’ Opening Day starter.
Meanwhile, the backend of the rotation will be a combination of Andrew Heaney and Tony Gonsolin to begin the season. Tyler Anderson and David Price — who has said he wants to earn a spot — could factor into the picture as well.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts understands the need for quality innings and reliability from his starting staff. Although Roberts has a lot to be pleased about, he acknowledged starting pitching depth is his biggest concern, via Juan Toribio of MLB.com:
“I think probably starting pitching depth,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said when asked which area of the roster he’s most concerned about. “I think that’s probably the thing that occupies my mind.”
Roberts’ concerns are understandable and with Trevor Bauer’s future up in the air, he can’t be considered for the rotation or even as a piece moving forward until MLB completes their investigation.
Dustin May will be available at some point this year although in what capacity is unclear as he continues to rehab from Tommy John surgery. The initial expectation is May will return as a starter.
The back half of the rotation is definitely worrisome after Heaney struggled mightily last season posting a 5.83 ERA in 30 appearances (23 starts) with the L.A. Angels and New York Yankees. Anderson pitched to a 4.53 ERA with a 4.37 FIP in Pittsburgh and Seattle in 2021, but showed upside during Spring Training.
Heaney has struggled with changes to his approach with mostly negative results during Spring Training.
Roberts predicts World Series title
Expectations are once again high for the Dodgers as they enter the 2022 season with a ‘World Series or bust’ mentality.
Losing Corey Seager and Scherzer would otherwise be a blow for clubs with dreams of a deep postseason run, but the Dodgers filled those holes with Freddie Freeman and kept Kershaw on a one-year contract.
Kershaw expressed confidence in his health this spring and his results have reinforced that.
All the talent on the roster keeps lofty expectations in place, and rightfully so, but Roberts is ready to meet those head-on, as he predicted a 2022 World Series win during an appearance on the “Dan Patrick Show.”
Roberts has since stood by his World Series guarantee and wondered why such a belief caused uproar.
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