2014 Season Preview: Looking At The Dodgers Starting Pitching

The Dodgers fifth man in the rotation is a big question mark and the health of Billingsley and Beckett are a contributing source of unknowns for the rotation. Likely, they’ll take a good look at Stephen Fife who made 10 starts for the team last year going 4-4 with a 3.86 ERA. Going into Spring Training, the Dodgers will also test the arms of four pitching prospects: Zach Lee, Ross Stripling, Chris Reed, and Matt Magil. Lee was placed on the top 100 prospects list by MLB.com this off-season, coming in at 63rd overall. The Dodgers may have to dig into their farm system to fill this last spot if a move for a starting pitcher is not made.

Losing the Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes has the Dodgers still looking for another starter to eliminate the potential dependency on these inexperienced pitchers. Bronson Arroyo, Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez all still remain on the market, but the latter two are nearly out of the Dodgers interests. The strongest push has been for Arroyo and the Dodgers are one of three finalists to sign him along with the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Baltimore Orioles. Arroyo would be an ideal and durable pitcher for the Dodgers, but they may not be as aggressive in the bidding as their NL West foes.

If the Dodgers sign Arroyo, they’ll have a fair spread of pitchers to look at in the four and five spots. When looking at how the Dodgers starting pitching might fare against the rest of the league, the World Series champion Cardinals and the Nationals have impressive rotations topping in the National League. The Dodgers may be all too familiar with the head of the Cards rotation Adam Wainwright, Shelby Miller and Michael Wacha while the Nationals look dominant with Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmerman, Gio Gonzalez and Doug Fister in their top-4.

What sets St. Louis and Washington above the Dodgers is their depth at their fourth and fifth spots, but the Dodgers should be excited to see where Kershaw, Greinke, and Ryu take them this season despite a few unknowns about the back of the rotation. Spring training will tell the organization a lot about these younger guys fighting for a fifth spot, but fans shouldn’t lose sight of their impressive pitchers who will definitely shine in Dodger Blue this season.


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