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Dodgers Offseason: What Does LA’s Rotation Look Like With Clayton Kershaw Coming Back

With the news last week that future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw will be returning for a 16th season with the Dodgers, we can start to get a better look at what L.A.’s starting rotation might look like in 2023. There are still some questions to be answered, but Kershaw was one of the biggest unknowns.

Coming off what will likely be a second-place finish in the Cy Young voting, Julio Urias slots in as L.A.’s number-one starter, with Kershaw as number two right now. Tony Gonsolin and Dustin May would likely fill in the next to spots, leaving one hole with plenty of options to fill it.

Los Angeles has three young starters who spent time in the big leagues in 2022: Ryan Pepiot, Andre Jackson, and Michael Grove. Any of those guys could fill a spot in the rotation if necessary, but they also have Bobby Miller and Gavin Stone, two more highly touted prospects who finished the season in Triple-A and will likely be ready for the big leagues at some point in 2023.

There’s also the free agent market, with at least four or five potential targets Los Angeles might have their eyes on. Tyler Anderson pitched for the Dodgers in 2022 and had the best season of his career, and he might accept the qualifying offer L.A. gave him. Even if he doesn’t, he could return on a multi-year deal. Kodai Senga is a free agent from Japan the Dodgers have shown interest in, and Jacob deGrom, Carlos Rodon, and Justin Verlander are all free agents, too.

If the Dodgers were to get aggressive on the free-agent market — or the trade market, for that matter, as there are rumblings Corbin Burnes of the Brewers might be available — they might have to make some hard decisions about some of their younger pitchers. Do they consider trading one or more of Pepiot, Jackson, and Grove? Do they think about moving May and his electric stuff to a bullpen role? When do they pull the trigger and get Miller and Stone into the big leagues?

So yeah, there are still a lot of questions, but the return of Kershaw gives the rotation some stability it needed heading into the offseason. Not to mention all the sentimental reasons it’s wonderful to have Kershaw back. Hopefully, the Dodgers can go get him his second World Series ring in 2023.

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3 Comments

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  1. In addition to hopefully getting Anderson to return, it might be a good idea to sign or trade for another starter who can give more length than what Dodgers usually get from Gonsolin. Dodgers need to see or count on some of the rotation to go beyond 4 or 5 innings on occasion. Again, it’s not really fair to ask the BP to cover 12 or more outs every night.

  2. If we were to re-sign Anderson; we could do a piggy back with someone like Jackson if necessary behind Gonsolin or May. I would take the qualifying offer if I were Anderson. Ya never know. That could spring him into a three year contract at close to that amount. Not sure he would get more than 15 in a multi-year right now.

  3. Kodai Senga could look like very interesting FA to get. I don’t know what his people are looking for but he comes to MLB with no strings attached to his former team, like Ohtani. Although he’s pitched for 11 yrs. already, he sure looks good against the USA in WBC. The Dodgers could revitalize the strong Japanese interests in the LA area along with Ohtani in Anaheim…..like the days of Nomo, T. Saito, and K. Maeda. He still has a plus heater and an outstanding splitter to strike guys out…and can eat up innings.

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