We’ve documented how this has been an off-season to forget for the Los Angeles Dodgers thus far; between losing Zach Greinke, backing out of a trade for Aroldis Chapman after domestic violence charges surfaced, and a failed attempt at signing Hisashi Iwakuma all while the San Francisco Giants and Arizona Diamondbacks made large strides to improve their rotation and bridge the gap in the National League West. This week the Dodgers finally took steps to reestablish themselves as the leading contender for the division, as they added veteran starter Scott Kazmir on a three-year, $48 million deal, then reached an agreement with Japanese pitcher Kenta Maeda.

While neither pitcher will be able to fill the shoes of Greinke, who was a perennial Cy Young award candidate one of the few pitchers in baseball on the same level as longtime staff ace Clayton Kershaw, they do give the Dodgers much-needed depth, while taking pressure off of incumbents Brett Anderson and Alex Wood, and lessening the need for injured starters Hyun-jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy to rush back from their respective shoulder and elbow surgeries. The 31-year-old Kazmir has had a career renaissance since resurfacing with the Indians in 2013 after an extended absence from the game, going 32-29 over the last three years with Cleveland, Oakland and Houston, establishing himself as one of the more reliable and consistent starters in baseball during that time, and helping the Astros in the playoff push last season. Maeda will be making his major league debut this season, after a storied career in Japan, with a 2.39 ERA and 1.05 WHIP over 1509 2/3 innings in an eight year stint with the Hiroshima Carp, both lower career marks than Masahiro Tanaka and Yu Darvish posted before they made their debuts in the states. At 27, Maeda is a two-time winner of the Sawamura Award, given annually to Japan’s top pitcher.

While neither is a certainty to continue their past success, both of them give the Dodgers the depth they sorely needed after watching Greinke leave for Arizona earlier in the off-season. The Dodgers were burned last season by their lack of rotation depth after losing McCarthy and Ryu to injuries for the majority of the season, and at the very least they now appear to have five solid rotation candidates, and the ability to bring Ryu and McCarthy back slowly, given the uncertainty that has plagued Ryu for the last year and a half since his shoulder problems surfaced. McCarthy was not expected back until mid-season anyway, so now he becomes more of a luxury than a necessity. These moves were vital after seeing the Giants add Jeff Samardzija and Johnny Cueto behind Madison Bumgarner, and the D’Backs bring in Greinke and Shelby Miller to add to former All-Star Patrick Corbin, and help the Dodgers keep pace in the division, given that Los Angeles is considerably deeper than their counterparts after these two moves. With prospects Julio Urias and Frankie Montas not far away from contributing on a major league level, the Dodgers rotation appears to be in great shape to handle the long season, and ready for everything should more injuries strike.

Related Posts:



You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment