Spring Training begins this week!

“It’s a doggy-dog world out there.” I have seen that written on the Internet more times than I care to mention, and it apparently applies to the Dodgers’ starting rotation competition this spring. There are seven proven pitchers trying to fit into the two spots for fourth and fifth starters. Kershaw, Hill and Maeda look to be locks for the first three slots, but after that you’ve got McCarthy, Wood, Kazmir, Ryu, Stripling, Stewart and Urias hunting for work.

“As we look around here today, we have a lot of starting pitching depth, but as we finish spring training, guys like Alex Wood, Brandon McCarthy, Scott Kazmir, they’re going to have to pitch somewhere,” Roberts said. “So whether it is out of the rotation or potentially out of the pen, I don’t know that answer right now.”

Oh, and once they get the starting pitching set, they can start on their “eight outfielders for three positions” problem.

It all begins on Wednesday.

  • Not that the Dodgers are locks for the post season, the team that could be built from the players they hold back in extended spring training could be better than a few MLB teams.

  • Bob_Hendley

    Eric had an encouraging observation on the starters, Klayton and Hill in particular: they accounted for only 27 starts last year between the two of them, so the notion that they could be closer to 60 this year is a reason for optimism.

    • WBBsAs

      Kershaw has a history of durability, but Hill does not – he’s a calculated risk. I hope he works out, but I’m not convinced he will.

      • Bob_Hendley

        Well, he did get in 20 starts last year, despite everything. So 20 plus 30 from Klayton gets them up to 50, or almost twice as many as last year.

        • WBBsAs

          Given Hill’s age, and continuing blister issues, there’s room for skepticism.

          • Bob_Hendley

            Sure, but the deep rotation means that he can be babied more if need be to increase his contribution.

          • WBBsAs

            I have no complaint about the signing per se, but it does come with significant risk.

  • Bob_Hendley

    Lotta flexibility in that outfield in terms of stashing players in OKC and seeing how things work out.

  • Changing the clubhouse vibe between Friedman’s arrival and now, along with more thoughts about Jansen’s re-signing.

  • Bob_Hendley

    Ruf to Korea? If Dodgers go with 13 position players, looks like choice for the 25th guy is between Quique and Taylor. Nod to Quique given his ability to be sixth outfielder. Would mean that Puig would be fulltime and Toles and Thompson to OKC, with Franklin and SVS platooning with Joc and Dre. Quique to outfield and SVS to 1st when AGon needs a day off.

  • SI grades teams’ winter performances; Dodgers do well.

    Preliminary Grade (Feb. 10): A-

    Key moves since preliminary grade: Signed OF Franklin Gutierrez and IF Chase Utley

    The Dodgers put the finishing touches on a strong
    offseason with a pair of late deals. Though he’s no longer an elite
    centerfielder, Gutierrez punches well above his weight against lefties,
    hitting .280/.373/.511 with 20 homers in 329 PA against them in 2015 and
    ’16; he shores up a glaring need even in an already-crowded outfield.
    Utley, brought back for just $2 million plus incentives, can still be
    useful in a bench role.

  • foul tip

    Couple recent reports say Gagne mulling comeback attempt at 41 following his Team Canada WBC stint . Catcher quoted in this says he had MLB quality stuff in a recent bullpen, including that legendary change.

    Story says he was clocked 93-95 last fall.

    Even if Game isn’t Over and someone signs him, could he last thru the season at 41? Unlikely.

    Brian Wilson wants to come back as a knuckleballer. Which is more likely? Neither?

    http://m.dodgers.mlb.com/news/article/216461484/eric-gagne-throws-bullpen-in-dodgers-camp/

  • foul tip

    Mike P sees method to Dodger overstocked rotation madness: ride pitchers’ good health to quality innings as long as their health holds. Then plug in others to deliver quality when those conk out. Rinse, lather, repeat. (Kinda like last year.)

    “To understand what the Dodgers are doing, it’s important to understand that putting together a starting rotation is no longer about finding five pitchers who can give you 32 starts and 200 innings apiece. The question these days is simply “What’s the most effective way to get
    around 920 quality innings from your starters? Which is roughly the average that we saw from Major League rotations last year. Whether that pie gets sliced up among six pitchers or 12
    doesn’t really matter so much, as long as: A) they’re good; and B) you have roster flexibility. ”

    http://m.dodgers.mlb.com/news/article/216256958/dodgers-can-take-advantage-of-rotation-depth/

    • Still need 3 good to great starters once into the playoffs.

      • foul tip

        Yeah, and Maeda faded late last year. The team didn’t seem to trust anyone else who was available. Would like to have seen what Wood could have done. You’d think plain old luck would break the Dodgers’ way at some point.

        • Bob_Hendley

          Wood didn’t come back from his surgery until the third week of September, so not enough time to build up his arm strength and innings to assume a starter role

      • WBBsAs

        Kershaw, Hill and Urías sounds pretty good to great to me.

  • Ruf’s contract sold to Korean League team. LHP Nuno (who?) traded to Orioles for Class A RHP Ryan Moseley.

    • WBBsAs

      You misspelled “Nuño.”

  • Mike Piazza, team owner.

    • Bob_Hendley

      The photo of the game appears to be Reggio against arch rival Parma from just up the road. I know this because when I lived in Argentina, Parma was know as the Argentine team and played in the highest level “A” with a good number of top level Argentine players.

  • Fernando Valenzuela, team owner.

    • Bob_Hendley

      Tigres de Quintana Roo, I have seen them play in Cancun. This is actually the storied Tigres from Mexico City that moved there in 2007. Old friends Ismael Valdez and Daryl Ward played for them, as did Julio Franco.

  • WBBsAs

    First MLBTV game of spring – Fillies v. Yanquis. Dodgers on tomorrow.

  • WBBsAs
    • Agreed. I wonder if he’s mentioned it to the maker yet.

      • Bob_Hendley

        Blue would be difficult to integrate into a color scheme mimicking the Mexican flag.

        • WBBsAs

          The Mexican flag is not Halloween colors.

          • Bob_Hendley

            He’ll need to dye his beard.

          • WBBsAs

            And change his cap.

          • Bob_Hendley

            That goes without saying!

          • WBBsAs

            Notice that there is no logo on his cap. There may never have been, because of trademark issues.

  • WBBsAs

    Steiner never met a cliché he didn’t like.

  • WBBsAs

    The Dodgers are on MLBTV at noon today.

    • And took a 7-2 lead which they promptly gave up.

      • WBBsAs

        But then the rooks get the lead back.

        • Bob_Hendley

          IOST (it’s only spring training), but sure is nice to see the dingers from the farm boys.

          • WBBsAs

            Bellinger’s was an absolute bomb.

  • Weisman put on his reviewer hat to talk about the Oscars today.

    • Bob_Hendley

      This is on “Dodger Thoughts”! So, just had to comment.

      • scooplew

        True, but Jon put in his chops here for years and his writing expands the playing field.

        • Bob_Hendley

          Sure and really knew his stuff from his day job.