The Dodgers Need a Long Man

Ross Stripling

At this point we know that Andre Ethier will start the season on the disabled list alongside reliever Pedro Baez, southpaw Scott Kazmir, and right handed middle man Josh Ravin. I feel especially bad for Ravin. He had little to no shot to make the roster anyways, but last year he broke his arm in a car accident and now this year he pulls his groin. When is this guy going to catch a break?

With opening day just a week away, the Dodgers are gearing up for their final weekend at Camelback Ranch. The Dodgers open the regular season next Monday afternoon at home against the San Diego Padres. With Clayton Kershaw on the mound the Dodgers have a pretty good chance of winning of course. For all you sports betters out there, you can check out the Dodger’s odds of winning on opening day and all throughout opening week at SportsBetting.ag.

It looks like Hyun-jin Ryu has finally returned to form this spring, as he tries to make the Dodgers rotation for the first time since 2014. Ryu has battled shoulder and elbow problems since the end of the 2014 season. He has labrum surgery on his shoulder as well as debridement surgery on his elbow. This year Ryu has posted a 2.57 ERA with the Dodgers in camp.

He’s tossed 14 innings and struck out 12 while posting a .79 WHIP in 4 starts. Most importantly he says he’s pain free. The Dodgers have decided they will roll the dice and place him in the rotation. No matter how good he looks it’s still a gamble considering how much time he’s missed over the last two seasons. A healthy Ryu is a huge boost to the Dodger’s rotation though.

With Ryu in the rotation and Julio Urias being foolishly stashed in extended spring training the Dodgers are close to rounding out their rotation. After Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill, Kenta Maeda, and Ryu, only the fifth spot remains up for grabs. Scott Kazmir will start the season on the disabled list after the Dodgers figured out that he couldn’t retire my grandmother. That means the fifth spot will be up for grabs between Alex Wood, and walking wounded Brandon McCarthy. But what about adding a long man?

One of the Dodgers issues over the last couple of years has been the lack of a long man in the bullpen. With the constant injuries to the Dodger’s starting rotation, the bullpen has had to pitch a lot of innings in 2016. As a matter of fact the bullpen pitched more innings than ever before because the Dodger rotation tossed only 859 innings last year. That ranked them 29 out of the 30 clubs. That meant the Dodger starters averaged only a little over (5.3) five innings pitched every time out.

The Dodgers had a great bullpen. The relievers were the tops in baseball (3.35 ERA), but they also led MLB in most innings pitched. The Dodger relievers tossed 590.2 innings in 2016. That averaged out to nearly (3.71) four innings per game.

This is not a sustainable strategy forever. Sure the Dodgers did get to the NLCS and they played well. But they paid the price with injuries. If you’re starter only goes 5 innings every night and you have to use 4-5 relievers or get at least 4 innings from your bullpen every night then you are going to eventually get burned later in the season. The bullpen will get tired and by August or September most of your middle relievers will be hurt or gassed.

Who Should Be The Dodger's Long Man?

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To help alleviate this problem the Dodgers need to use a long man. Preferably someone who can make a spot start or pitch multiple innings in middle relief. Maybe that can be Alex Wood? He’s pitched pretty well this spring. Maybe that can be Brandon McCarthy? Maybe that can be Ross Stripling or Brock Stewart?

Either way the Dodgers need someone to perform in this role. I’ll put it to a vote with you guys. Who do you think should be the Dodger’s long man? Tell me what you think and cast your vote above.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Former Co-editor of Lasorda's Lair. Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic Cheap MLB Tickets

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62 thoughts on “The Dodgers Need a Long Man

  1. “Julio Urias being foolishly stashed in extended spring training”

    Right now we have six starters for five positions. Are they all better than Urias? No, but Urias can only pitch a limited number innings this year. I would rather have him pitching in October than April. Shutting him down for an extended period in the middle of the season was tried 2 years ago but he took a long time to get back to form. Whether his innings should have been extended in the last two years is a moot point. This is where we are today.

    Injuries, etc will thin the herd of starters. It always does. There will be a spot to plug Urias into come May. It’s a long season. Let’s plan for a long post season as well.

    I would say this is smart rather than foolish planning.

    Suspect Wood will be the long man with spot starts unless we see an early injury–then he can be the fifth starter and the second injury is Urias’s spot.

  2. Scott, Dave Roberts announced yesterday that Ryu has made the rotation. He also stated that who ever does not make the rotation between McCarthy and Wood would become the long man. That means basically that Stripling is going back to AAA. Brock Stewart is not supposed to throw for at least a couple of weeks.

    1. I think we established the O/U for number of starters at 12. I’ll take the over. And one of the over is yet unknown because he will come at the deadline. We have more depth than anyone because we have a 25 man, a 40 man and a deadline man. It’s good to be rich.

      Wait, what? Every team has the same number of players? Oh. Well, our players are better dammit. Our pitchers can beat up your pitchers.

      1. Too funny there Badger. Not sure our pitchers can beat up their little sisters without getting hurt.

        But wouldn’t it be nice if our starting rotation was our greatest strength…….ahh, those were the days. The days of B-FAZ. Now our greatest strength is our depth. I wonder how many titles depth has won. So far Friedman and Zaidi combined in their careers it is ZERO.

        And yes, no other MLB team has a 40 man roster. FAZ acquires all the ‘good’ players and the rest of the teams just pass on everyone else. I’m guessing that their minor league coaches are forced to pitch some of their minor league games. On special give away days the minor league mascot starts the game.

  3. Here’s my suggestion, free of charge. Stick Hill in the bullpen let him be the long man. Put Wood in the rotation, when he gets hurt bring up Urias.

    So then it would be:
    Kid K
    Maeda
    Urias
    Ryu
    McC

    When McCarthy goes down replace with Strippling or Stewart.

    Not sure where Alvarez projects this season.

      1. He’s just trying to save Hill for the end. What’s wrong with that? Is Hill not as important as Urias come playoff time?

        1. Ah, so wrong on so many levels. Well maybe two or three levels, and that’s not too many.

          Hill is probably more important than Urias given age and role with team.

          Second,
          Urias’ situation is quantifiable. He has X innings allowed. Hill has no such limitations. Hill’s are subjective and unforseen: injury.

          Third,
          Nowhere in Artie’s post did the word “save” appear. It appears you are thinking for him.

    1. All of them will see duty this season. I would be pleasantly surprised to see Urias, Ryu and McCarthy in the rotation at the same time. It could happen, but none of them will be around all year.

  4. To provide some balance to the starting rotation, I think that McCarty should be the 5th starter and the 8 bullpen pitchers should be Wood and Stripling sharing long man role and filling in as needed to get a tough out with the rest of the bullpen then being Morrow, Libertore, Fields, Dayton, Romo and Jansen. If the team only uses 7 relievers then I’d send Morrow to minors only because he has an option available but would prefer to keep him rather than Fields. Once Baez is ready, he’d take the spot of Fields or Libertore depending on performance and/or overuse. Lots of options available at AAA so keep rotating others to keep bullpen fresh and build experience level of the other pitchers such as Avilan, Masterson, Stewart, etc. DEPTH IS OUR GREATEST STRENGTH.

    1. Denny, they are not going with an 8 man pen. They are using 7. They want that extra bench player and in truth they need him. Especially in the NL. Right now the 7 look like, to me anyway, Jansen, Romo, Morrow, Fields, Liberatore, Dayton, and the Wood, McCarthy loser. I would like to see them have better balance in the starting 5, but I do not like McCarthy as he has shown bupkis this spring and Wood’s start today will go a long way in deciding who is that 5th guy. Right now it’s Super K, Maeda, Hill and Ryu. Hatcher should be released. When Baez is ready who ever has not been performing between Fields and Morrow will be sent down. They will not go with only 1 lefty in the pen. They might keep Avilan over Liberatore since I think he has options left. But they like Dayton a lot. Stewart is not going to throw for at least 2 weeks. He has that elbow problem. Masterson? Please, the guy has not been decent in years. He is another of FAZ’s reclamation projects. The OKC rotation should be stacked, with Stripling, Oaks, Sierra, Urias, and when he is ready Stewart. The only real battle right now is for the super utility job. With Kike, Culberson and Taylor fighting that out. I like Taylor best because he gives them the best defense behind Corey. The OF is pretty well set. Puig, Pederson, Toles, Gutierrez and probably SVS simply because he plays 1B too. Segedin has had an outstanding spring, and could because he also can play 1st and the OF slip past SVS. Thompson a dark horse in that race. I think he goes to OKC because they want him to get steady playing time, which he is not going to get up in the bigs. Infield is set too. Gonzo, Forsythe, Seager, Turner, Utley and whoever is the super sub.

      1. Michael,

        Allow me to help you out so you can sound more PC and be right however they decide to go.

        Here’s what would be said by the narcissistic one. And I’m paraphrasing……

        ‘Ideally, being in the NL a team would only want to carry 7 pitchers in the bullpen, but with FAZ, whom are so far advance over everyone else it is very possible that they might choose to carry 8 bullpen pitchers. If they do it is because they know what is best.’

        See, now you are right no matter what they decide to do.

        1. Thanks……but I supported Trump, and being PC is not in my nature. I call a turd a turd……I am wrong about Morrow though. I just read Gurnick’s tweet and he accepted the minor league assignment. If they keep Hatcher over that guy, FAZ is just plain loony…but maybe they decided to keep all 3 lefty’s and release Hatchet Man……….I can dream can’t I?

  5. FWIW, from MLBTR chat:

    L.A. Story
    2:28
    What are the Dodgers thinking with their rotation? It is Kershaw and the M*A*S*H unit. Maea, Ryu, McCarthy, Kazmir and Wood are mediocre veterans with health issues. Are they going to put guys like Urias and Stewart off for another year or more?

    Jeffrey Todd
    2:29
    It’s sneaky brilliant, really. Last week, I think, I said I feel it’s the best staff in the game. They have so many waves of talent and so much depth stashed around. Really a fun experiment in some regards.
    Any wise team would be careful with Urias. In LAD’s case, they can just slow him (and other young guys) to start the year and ramp them up when it seems advisable.

    1. I don’t think anyone is seriously advocating rushing innings onto Urias’ arm. I know there was a post here, but I think that was just to create conversation.

  6. Meanwhile, why we wring our hands over the apparent flaws of this team and the obligatory claims of FAZ malfeasance (not to mention the irresistible impulse to make jabs at another blogger who shall remain unnamed 😉 ), there’s this:

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/2017-positional-power-rankings-relief-pitchers-1-15/

    While you’re there, scroll down a few articles and look at the positional ranking for starting pitching, too. And the Fangraphs ranking doesn’t even factor in that Ryu is almost back to his 2013 form and made the rotation.

    I was pleasantly surprised…excited actually. I’m nothing if not hopefully optimistic about this season. My worry is that the offense might sputter a bit, with Agon having a drop off in production, Seager either on the DL or rusty, JT taking half the year to find his power swing again and Puig displaying the underachievement we’ve come to almost expect, even though we wish a return to his halcyon first two years. Though I’m happy with the Forsyth acquisition. I think he’s a better overall contact hitter than Dozier.

    We’ll see.

  7. Wood getting cuffed around by the Reds who are up 6-2….Bellinger has a homer in this game and Segedin has made 2 errors. Wood allowed 2 homers. In the SD game, Bobby Wilson hit his 4th spring homer….he really is trying to win that backup catchers job.

      1. With the B squad…most of the regulars were playing the Padres. Taylor was playing SS in that game and got another hit. Hernandez hit in the wrist and will have it X-rayed….hope he does not glow in the dark.

  8. So, help me out here, what will Urias be doing while he is being held out?
    Sitting around? Playing catch? Eating and sleeping? Push ups?

    1. He will be throwing, but all of his throwing will be monitored and cataloged so he does not go over the workload the higher ups want him to have. Most of that workload will be at OKC with some coming in extended spring.

    1. He’s 20. The drinking age in some states is 18.

      It’s true he’s been a pro since ’16. But he’s 20. He’s got 344 innings. We shouldn’t NEED this kid, but apparently we do. 100 innings in the second half would be what I prefer. How many other 20 year olds will we have pitching 150 innings? Maybe there are a few, I honestly don’t know. I do know that Holmes pitched 134 last year as a 20 year old. An innings limit is just a good idea.

      1. Agree with Badger, again. Although I’m not sure who is saying the team needs Urias right now.

        I’m sure some dunderhead is….

        1. In re-reading what I wrote I meant Urias has been a professional since he was 16 years old. Maybe most of you knew that is what I meant. Or maybe most of you didn’t read it.

          Bluto I think many, me included, believe that a 20 year old may be the second best pitcher on our Major League roster. If he does get 150 innings, I’m betting those 150 will be better innings than anyone other than Kershaw. It’s good news bad news for me. Good news we have a young pitcher that advanced, bad news we don’t have veterans that would allow him to take his time developing.

          1. Wait. What??!?!?!

            “bad news we don’t have veterans that would allow him to take his time developing.”

            Is that what you meant to write? Because it’s not even close to correct, Badger.

            I mean Wood is waiting for a spot, which means Urias has more of a buffer to continue his development and NOT be rushed into service.

            The team HAS veterans, and that’s why Urias is starting in extended spring training with nobody from Roberts, to Boras, to Urias, to Utley to Friedman needing to rush his development.

            He’ll come up and have his innings, just as the mutually agreed upon development plan dictates.

          2. It’s absolutely what I meant to say. If Urias was in SF, where they have 4 guys that go 200 innings and Matt Cain as a 5th, he wouldn’t be asked to be ready to step in as a possible 3, or even 2, with the possibility he will be NEEDED in the playoffs. Those veterans to whom you refer? Yeah, sure. Maybe it works out that MCarthy, Kazmir, Wood and Hill all get 25+ starts and the Dodgers win it all without asking a 20 year old on an innings limit to not have to win a Game 3 in the playoffs. What are the odds that happens?

          3. I got a nephew. Smart kid. Went to John’s Hopkins. Majored in physics. Works as a nuclear scientist for the Navy. Good kid, too.

            Sent me an email just about an hour ago. We were conversing about the Dodgers (He’s a big Dodger fan) and Cory Seager, and he sent this:

            “Remember how mad people were when the front office didn’t trade Pederson, Seager, and Urias for Cole Hamels a couple of years ago?

            I’m really looking forward to this season, I think FanGraphs has them projected as the best team in the league, just ahead of Cubbies. Wooohoooo!!!!”

            Like I said. Smart kid.

            It’s the question I raised last year. Do you overpay for a starting pitcher who will give you a lot of innings but be mediocre, or do you have solid pitching and a lot of depth that will give you five good innings before the solid bullpen is summoned? Seems like the second scenario did pretty well for the Dodgers last year, and the Royals before that. Smardjia or however the hell you spell his name can get his 90 million from the Giants. Greinke can get his 206 million. Hamels can do whatever with the Rangers. No thanks.

          4. John Hopkins? Didn’t read much about baseball did he. Either that or he heard that bullsh*t from you.

          5. If Urias were in San Fran he’d be #4, he’s #3 here.

            Your point is basically because Urias may have to make what? 3-4 starts in the playoffs, maybe, that his development is jeopardized?

            It’s interesting, but if the Dodgers are trending towards the playoffs, couldn’t they use their depth to save Urias those 3-4 starts so he can get them in a playoff atmosphere.

            I’m sure some here would argue that learning to pitch in the more “important” games are vital to development.

            You’ve had many good points all the time, Badger. This stinker seems like an odd one.

          6. Stinker?

            We just disagree.

            The point is simply this – I would prefer we didn’t have to rely on a 20 year old on an innings limit. I would prefer we had 5 starters, at least 4 of whom were capable of 30 starts. We appear to have 1 capable of that accomplishment. I think that may be a problem. You don’t. I’m not criticizing you for lack of foresight. We just disagree.

          7. “John Hopkins? Didn’t read much about baseball did he. Either that or he heard that bullsh*t from you.”

            Gee! Now that wasn’t a very nice thing to say!

            Oh, he probably reads more about baseball than either of us, hence the Fangraphs citation. And no, I’ve not had a discussion about the specifics of trade deals, though as someone who follows baseball, I’m sure he probably read this:

            http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/page/tradedeadline_hamelshunt/who-trade-cole-hamels-deadline-anyone

          8. Yeah, everybody read the rumors. No doubt the Phillies ASKED for our best prospects. I guess I’m so tired of hearing stupid crap like “remember how mad people were when the Dodgers front office didn’t trade Pederson, Seager, and Urias for Cole Hamels a couple of years ago”. Nobody, and let be clear about that NOBODY suggested the Dodgers should do that. Maybe I’m sensitive about it because certain loud mouth posters suggested I was the one who said it. Tell your Hopkins relative he too is wrong. Nobody suggested trading Seager and/or Urias. Both were always off limits. For the umpteenth time, we had the 24th ranked prospect at the time. That player was ranked much higher than anyone the Phils received. The package I suggested began with him. I’m thinking FAZ did indeed offer that player as they’ve since moved him. The Phils liked the Texas offer better.

            You should visit more often patch. I know you only come by to stir the pot, but, the pot often needs stirring. Have a nice day.

    1. It looked like a slow start, but I’ve noticed a few 13k figures lately. The Dodgers drawing a crowd hasn’t been a problem for a while. Not at home anyway. Only 2600 showed up at Goodyear this afternoon.

      Holmes pitched today. His ERA is 54.

      Buehler pitched today. I predict his ERA will go down soon.

      So, is Wood in the rotation?

      1. Wood had a good and precise quote today:
        “I’m sure if I don’t start in the rotation, I’ll end up in it at some point.”

        1. Yes, he will. And I have the over on 11 other guys getting a start.

          It seems I’m the only one talking number of starters. I think we were second only to the Braves in that category. We had 15 different starters last year. Will we do that again? Maybe that should be the number.

      2. I think McCarthy will beat him out. Because they do not want at this point 4 lefty’s in the rotation and Wood has worked out of the BP before so he is the long man by default

  9. I think that for sure Wood will be the long reliever. McCarthy will be on the opening roster but he would make a lousy reliever, besides definitely a lousy starter. It’s too bad we’re stuck with him and his contract. Maybe he’ll surprise us all.

  10. Fields and Liberatore were optioned, so we won’t be seeing them. My updated pencil sketch for the starters are:
    Kershaw
    Maeda
    Hill
    Ryu
    ?? My choice would be Wood, but McCarthy could be picked because he’s a righty, as Norris said.

    Gonzalez
    Forsyth
    Taylor, if Corey can’t go
    Turner
    Toles
    Pederson
    Puig, his last chance
    Grandall
    Taylor has been a standout replacement. With Utley capable of multi-positions, infield looks good. Logan,Utley, Taylor, and Turner, have been on fire this spring.
    Pederson seems to be only an HR hitter, my criticism from last year holds. We need power, but I wouldn’t keep that from finding a good trade for him. Not much of a hitter, in general.
    I see lots of platooning in the outfield. It is not set. Toles is basically unproven as well as Thompson. Van Slyke may have to slide over and make room for the new guys coming up. Some bright prospects we have. It’s a shame about Ethier. I was hoping he would shine after Kemp left.

        1. I had confidence at one point. Not so much now, but recently read an article saying he’s excited again. How somebody his age could suddenly lack enthusiasm for playing big league ball is mind boggling to me. Of course, I actually had to work for a living, so what do I know about being wealthy at 24 for playing a game. Kiké has the talent to be successful. If he lacks want to cut him loose.

  11. Rich Hill has been a ML pitcher off and on for 12 years. Last year, in his last contract year, he put up 45% of his total career WAR. What are the odds he does something like that again?

    Ryu and McCarthy are the 4 and 5. I know projection sites don’t think much of either. Anybody here willing to make their own projections?

    1. Badger

      Did you see that article at Dodger com, with Puig in the headline?

      The writer said it doesn’t look like Puig is recognizing pitches really, and I know that was your concern with Puig.

      1. Yes it is a concern. I still wonder if he has trouble picking up spin. If that’s true, he will continue to chase. I’d get his eyes thoroughly examined. If they haven’t done that already it’s an oversight on management’s part. Yeah, I said oversight.

        1. You can see this from his SO stats, this spring. He doesn’t see the ball well. Whether it’s his eyesight or poor hand to eye coordination (or whatever you call it), he is not a picture of consistency and I’ve just about given up on him. How he did so well at the start of his career is beyond me at this point.

      2. Puig’s definitely a wild card. I didn’t see that article, but I know that Turner Ward has had a lot of private sessions with Puig on his swing path and swing.

        To me that’s the biggest worry, because his swing used to be picture perfect to me.

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