Dodgers’ Starting Pitching Finally on Right Track – Don’t Screw It Up

After season after season for what seems like a decade, Dodgers’ starting staffs were replete with names like super-stiff over-the-hill has-beens or never-weres such as Roberto (Fausto Carmon) Hernandez, Ted Lilly, Jon Garland, Vicente Padilla, John Ely, Eric Milton, Aaron Harang, Brett Tomko, Eric Bedard, and the worst of them all Kevin Correia, and over the past couple of seasons, with such always-injured super-risks in the best spirit of Jason Schmidt, such as Brandon McCarthy, Brett Anderson, Alex Wood, Brandon Beachy, and yes, Rich Hill.

Well, today, with the likes of McCarthy, Anderson, Wood, Scott Kazmir, Hyun-Jin Ryu all unable to pitch for extended periods, and Hill having been well enough to start exactly two games over the 39 days since his August 1 acquisition, as has been the pattern throughout his 12 year career (his 16 startes this season ties his second highest total ever and his 88 innings pitched this season is his third highest total ever and only once has he exceeded 100 innings pitched in a season), The Dodgers actually do have what looks like a potentially outstanding starting staff going forward through the rest of 2016, season and postseason, and into 2017.

With the now set return of Clayton Kershaw, the teams look to have the top four rotation spots occupied by Kershaw, Kenta Maeda, Julio Urias and Jose De Leon, with all the other now inured plus youngsters Ross Stripling and Brock Stewart competing not for key middle rotation spots, but only for that last number five slot.

So, the order of the day is DON’T SCREW IT UP. And, just how might that happen? Rumors have been rampant the past few days and talk show pundits have spent considerable time debating the possibility of the Dodgers re-acquiring Zack Grienke.

Why would the Dodgers even consider such a move? This past off-season, the Dodgers refused to give Greinke a six-year contract, and rightly so, as I have often written. Arizona saw only good in such a deal, and agreed to give him $206.5 Million over that period. and, lo-and-behold, Greinke has had his worst season in a decade, with an ERA of 4.54 and a WHIP of 1.27, despite a won-lost record of 12-5. As the Diamondbacks have tanked, due to a wide number of absurd moves, highlighted by one of the worst trades in baseball history, giving away a parcel of top prospects including now starting shortstop Dansby Swanson to the Braves for the worse than mediocre Shelby Miller, they are now trying, apparently, to cut their losses by trading Greinke. Greinke’s horrid start this week (eight earned runs in four-two-thirds innings pitched) against the Dodgers may have tempered their interest, hopefully. But, fans of such a deal see it as now only a five-year deal and with the Diamondbacks willing to eat part of the contract, better economically than what they could have done to have kept Greinke.

This fails on both counts, miserably. First, on the number of years issue, that is preposterous, as the contract still extends to years when Greinke will be less effects at the end of his career – you cannot bring back the earlier, better years, through his season does not even qualify on that account. Second, even at $150 Millions for five years, he is overpay drastically at the end of the contract, and likely even now.

No, do not divert money used better elsewhere (left field, to pay Justin Turner, to get a real catcher, to further improve the bullpen, etc.) and do not run away from the youth movement that has for the first time in years brought real hope to establishing a solid, talented and healthy starting rotation.

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