With Max Scherzer and Clayton Kershaw becoming free agents this week and the expected exodus of Trevor Bauer, the Dodgers will have some holes to fill in the starting rotation next season. At the moment, only Walker Buehler and Julio Urias remain for LA, both with the expectation of filling 30+ starts in 2022. With that, we’re in that fun preamble to the offseason’s open market.
Of the dozens of premium arm expected to hit free agency this winter, the Dodgers will have an opportunity to stick with the known or look to seriously shake up the roster. With that, LA Times beat writer Jorge Casillo had some thoughts on how Andrew Friedman could fill out the depleted starting rotation.
Enter Marcus Stroman. The right-hander made 33 starts for the New York Mets in 2021, going 10-13 with a 3.02 ERA over 179 innings pitched. Here’s what Castillo had to say about the 30-year-old pitcher.
What Stroman lacks in durability — he averaged 5-1/3 innings in 33 starts for the New York Mets this year — he makes up for in performance. … [His] four-pitch mix consists of a 92-mph fastball, 85.5-mph slider, 90.4-mph cut fastball and 86-mph changeup.
Someone who could fill quality innings at the top of the rotation is exactly what LA should be looking for. While Stroman lacks the gravitas of a Kershaw or Scherzer, he makes up for it with durability and athleticism. He’s made 30+ starts in four of his last five full seasons. The big question for LA is, what could Stroman be seeking in free agency? Rumors have him asking for $25M annually, which may cause the Dodgers to consider upping the ante to reach Max Scherzer’s reported asking price.
Notably, Andrew Friedman has said that he expects LA to pull from its bounty of young, talented arms from the minor leagues next season and beyond. With Dustin May expected to return around mid-season, and another campaign set to only help Tony Gonsolin, seemingly the club can go cheap in the rotation. But another season of the rotation faltering or being understaffed late and into the postseason would be a tough pill to swallow for fans. Particularly as the Giants and Padres look to strengthen their clubs as well this offseason.
As has been said numerous times here on this site, this coming offseason is sure to be one of the most transformative winters in recent memory.