On Tuesday afternoon the Dodgers announced that they have optioned left hander Adam Liberatore and right handed middle man Josh Fields to the minors, These moves have basically finalized their opening day pitching staff. This means that Luis Avilan and Grant Dayton will serve as the two primary left handed relievers, so Liberatore is not needed.
Fields has had a weak showing this spring, and the Dodgers will move either Alex Wood, or Brandon McCarthy to the bullpen as a long man. Of course mega bum Chris Hatcher will likely remain on the roster to blow more games and frustrate the fan base. I don’t understand that decision, but I’ll get to that in a minute.
I do understand the decision to option Liberatore, although I don’t like it. The southpaw was the Dodger’s best reliever last year, until overuse led to a late season injury that shelved him for the last couple of months of the season. I still think Liberatore is good enough to be on the roster but Avilan has pitched well this spring and Dayton is really good. He’ll be in Oklahoma City if the Dodgers need him.
As for Fields, the hard thrower has looked awful this spring. In 9 appearances he’s posted a 9.72 ERA in 8.1 innings pitched. He pitched well last year for the Dodgers. In 2016 he posted a 2.79 ERA in 19.1 innings pitched. He struck out 22 and walked 8 appearing in 22 games. He struck out 10.2 during last year’s campaign and posted a 3.61 FIP. He wasn’t bad and I don’t know what happened to him. However if the Dodgers need him they know where they can find him as well.
The Hatcher choice is quite puzzling. Somebody please explain to me how he still has a job? He’s been horrendous since the Dodgers acquired him and equally terrible this spring. I guess the Dodgers feel like they need him since Pedro Baez is unable to go and they’re short on right handed relievers. It’s pretty frustrating watching him blow game after game and still have be employed. Hopefully the Dodgers will wake up soon because things are not likely to change with him.
This means Hatcher and Ross Stripling will be the main right handers in the bullpen and Sergio Romo will handle the eighth innings. With Hyun-jin Ryu returning to the rotation that means the fifth starter spot will go to either Brandon McCarthy or Alex Wood with the other going to the bullpen.
The better choice is putting Wood in the rotation and McCarthy in the pen, but an even better decision is not having McCarthy on the roster at all. Wood is clearly the superior and healthier pitcher, but the Dodgers are enamored with McCarthy for some strange reason. It’s probably due to the 48 million dollar contract they inked him on.
So it appears that the pitching staff will look like this…….
Kenley Jansen– CL
DL-Scott Kazmir– Pedro Baez-
There are some question marks here. Can Ryu return to form and hold up throughout the season? Will Rich Hill find his off-speed offerings? Will Brandon McCarthy be useful? Can Wood adjust to a long man role? Will Hatcher continue to suck?
If everyone stays healthy the Dodgers could potentially have a very strong rotation. The Bullpen looks pretty good too even with Hatcher mucking up the works. Eventually when Baez comes back Hatcher should be given his walking papers. The Dodgers also have Julio Urias stashed away in Glendale twiddling his thumbs in extended spring training. I’m hoping we see him soon.
Is this what the pitching staff will look like on opening day? What do you guys think? Where can the Dodgers improve?