The Dodgers learned the unfortunate yet predictable news that right handed hurler Tom Koehler will begin the season on the disabled list after being diagnosed with a right shoulder sprain of the anterior capsule. The news is actually more of a blow to the Dodger’s plans then most people think. Koehler was supposed to be their utility man down there in the bullpen, as someone who was expected to provide middle relief innings, long relief innings and or the occasional spot start. However when you sign a pitcher or player that has a long and established history of injuries then it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone when they get hurt.
With Koehler out indefinitely, that opens up an available spot in the Dodger bullpen. Manager Dave Roberts has already stated that five spots are already taken. The following relievers Kenley Jansen, Tony Cingrani, Scott Alexander, Pedro Baez, and either Ross Stripling or Josh Fields are locks to make the opening day roster.
Losing Koehler does put a wrench in the plan because the depth this year looks thinner than last year. So that gives Wilmer Font, Yimi Garcia, Adam Liberatore and a few others a chance to crack the roster. Font was horrendous last year in a short sample size after getting called up to the big club when rosters expanded. I wasn’t impressed with Font at all. He better impress the Dodgers because he’s out of options.
Garcia is attempting to return from Tommy John surgery, and Liberatore is attempting to return from injury as well. However the one guy I would like to see get a chance to establish himself is left hander Edward Paredes, who was an under the radar pick-up for the Dodgers in 2017. The Dodgers stole him from the Tigers in the 2016 rule 5 draft and he was a pleasant surprise. The 31-year old Dominican appeared in 10 games for the Dodgers in 2017 posting a 3.24 ERA and allowed only three earned runs on eight hits over 8.1 frames. Paredes struck out 11 and walked none giving up only one home run.
There are other pitchers that will be battling for one of those three remaining spots as well. Rookie Walker Buehler, Dylan Baker, and Brock Stewart all will have a shot at cracking the opening day roster. Koehler’s injury is unfortunate, but it does open the door for another arm. It also weakens the Dodger’s pitching depth even more than it already was.