Tom Koehler’s Shoulder Strain Opens The Door For Other Arms

Edward Paredes

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.

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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.

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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16 thoughts on “Tom Koehler’s Shoulder Strain Opens The Door For Other Arms

  1. For me, Stewart is a very questionable possibility. He’s been given many chances to impress and he’s literally blown them all.

    I agree Paredes does have some shine to him. We need to see him more for a real opinion.

    Dodger pitching seems weaker than last season. However, with consistent production from Wood and Hill, it can be the difference. We need at least 3 consistent starters who can stand in for more than 4-5 innings. Maeda cannot be included in this group. Buehler either cracks the rotation or wins a spot as a reliever. If he does neither, we may have another Urias on our hands, just not quite good enough.

  2. I think our bullpen will be better than last year, and hopefully our bench too. We have more variety this year, so far, in terms of bullpen arms as well as more contact hitters, in camp. And a bit more speed too. No more guys like Gutierrez, Hatcher and Sergio Romo.

    Alexander and Jake Peter are outperforming our holdovers. I was the first to laud that three team trade back in January 5 and so far looking good!

    1. And for the record I was not high on Kohler from day one. Alexander yes, Kohler no.

      We had a Yasiel Sierra sighting yesterday- he retired 6 and struck out 3 without giving up a hit. I’m hoping we get some innings out of him – he only cost us $30 milllion!

  3. First off, I would not put Buehler on the roster as a reliever. The guy is a starter and that is what he needs to be doing. No bullpen for that guy and he has a much better batch of stuff than Urias, so comparing the two is worthless. They both are coming back from injuries. Sorry Scott, but with Cingrani and Alexander both already named to the team, Paredes has basically no shot at sticking. They are not going to carry 3 lefty’s in the pen although it would probably be a smart thing to do if Alexander ends up being the set up guy. Font has pitched well so far in spring, and Roberts says he will get at least 1 more start. But Venditte has been good as has Chargois. Lowe basically has shown he is no option at all. So with 3 spots open, there is going to be a lot of competition between the relievers the last 3 weeks here before the season starts. Grandal may have homered yesterday, but he still looks totally lost from the left side of the plate. His homer came off Tony Watson, so take that traitor! Monday noted on the broadcast that Grandal is not striding from the left side, he is lunging at the ball. Joc Pederson is pissing away his probable last chance to be a regular and it may be time to deal him to another team. The kids are still impressing. Rios will be at OKC as the starting first baseman, but Beaty has looked good also. Farmer has been very impressive both at the dish and behind it. The surprise has to be Peter. I will say FAZ struck pay dirt so far with him.

    1. Didn’t many of us say that the FBZ should trade Grandal and Pederson before spring training? Because their value would start going down once the new season begins?

      Sometimes the SABR approach is behind the times!

      1. I said trade Squirrel this winter for starter depth. We don’t need him. We got catching.

        Since there is no organization loyalty in the modern pro game by definition there are no traitors either.

        I still have high expectations of Garcia and Baez. And though I do understand Michael’s position on Buehler I would consider him for a bullpen job. With him it’s about both lengthening him and his facing the better hitters in high leverage situations. What will they do with him? Who knows. If he’s got 135 innings in him I want most of them with the varsity. He’s got the best stuff of anybody after Kershaw. It’s time.

        1. Garcia another one of those guys who has not thrown much this spring. He has options so he will probably be sent to OKC also. Baez has already made the team. I have not seen Fields pitch at all so not sure what the story is there. Lowe and Lee have been less than stellar.

        1. That should not have been the main reason. They also have Verdugo. And they are loaded with outfielders. I really like Peters. He is going to be special. Badger, if they keep Buehler on the roster it would have to be as a long man. You do not want starters doing the quick warm up thing. I believe whole heartedly that he needs at least a full season at AAA. Build his arm strength there. More controllable environment and to tell you the truth I do not think he is ready. He has been out with back problems. Toles has shown he is healthy so show Joc the door. I never liked Grandal from the get go so show him the door too. Ruiz has been a revelation. That kid can flat out hit. Peter is making Utley redundant. And unless they plan on keeping Chase no matter what he does in spring, Peter is making a strong push to be on the team……so trade Hernandez, Peter can do what he does.

          1. Michael

            Peter hits leftie, so they are not going trade Kike.

            How many of those outfielders have proved they can hit major league, pitching?

          2. Makes no difference. There are left handed hitters that handle lefty’s well. Farmer plays 3 positions, Peter plays 4, Solano has looked good and could also back up Seager and can play 2nd and 3rd also. As for the outfielders, if Toles is healthy, and he has shown that he is, he makes Pederson redundant. You always gripe about blocking the kids, so now Verdugo can get a shot. Locastro is a pretty good hitter and can also play multiple positions. The Dodgers have 8 outfielders, including Kike who I think of more as an infielder than an outfielder, on the roster. But in my mind they should have traded Joc in the offseason since he had a decent world series unlike a lot of other guys. Toles will hit for a higher average than Joc and he is one of the few threats on the bases. Kike is very replaceable.

  4. Michael

    First, your the only one here that is constantly gripping about something, or some player, not me.

    Chris Taylor had a great spring training last year, and he still did not make the major league roster, over Kiké, so I doubt Peter would make the major league roster over Kiké, this year.

    And like I said, Peter hits leftie, and if he took anyone’s spot, that would be Chase, but that isn’t going to happen, as you know.

    1. I gripe about a certain player maybe, but I do not gripe about blocking the kids….you on the other hand have done that a lot……Why would Peter just take Chase’s spot simply because he hits LH? If he can hit lefty’s as well as he does RH why would it make a difference? If Kike could hit RH as well as he does lefty’s he would be an everyday player……but he can’t. If I have a player who can hit both types and be consistent, I want that guy not a one dimensional hitter like Hernandez. I know all about why Taylor did not make the team last year and it had nothing to do with Kike. If Taylor had played the OF all spring, he would have had a better chance at sticking with the team. So far, a trained monkey could play better than Utley is. He still only has one hit in spring. Seager struck out 3 times today, so he does not look close to being ready yet and it will be a while before he even plays the field. I am saying that the Dodgers have more options to replace Hernandez and could trade him without missing a beat. Keeping Joc, well they might have thought the way you said, but considering the fact that he once again looks totally lost at the plate and like Grandal is striking out a ton, it is just time to move on, especially since Toles looks totally healthy.

      1. Michael

        It was either Kike or Taylor last year, and that is the excuse they gave Taylor, because Taylor out played Kike, in spring training.

        And remember we didn’t know at the time, that Taylor would perform throughout the season, like he did in spring training.

        And Peter doesn’t hit both lefties and righties the same, like you said.

        And we don’t even know if he can hit major league pitching, either.

        I would love for Peter to get a chance, over Chase, but that is not going to happen.

        I don’t continually grip about anything, that is not my personality at all.

        About Kike, you loved Joc, who is also a one dimensional hitter, so that is not the issue.

        1. I did not say Peter hit well against both. I said if. But it does not matter. Yeah, I liked Joc a lot, he showed good power and potential. But there is that word again, potential. He has not lived up to that and has had parts of 5 seasons in the majors. So it is time to move on. Same thing with Kike. He is never going to hit .300 again like he did in 2015. He will not get the chance since he is nothing more than a utility player. They all have potential, whether or not they ever fulfill it is another matter. When Joc was in the minors before he came up, he was not one dimensional. He could steal bases, hit for power and average, and was a damn good outfielder. None of that has played in the majors. He was the first player in over 30 years to have a 30-30 season in the PCL. Unfortunately for Joc and the Dodgers he has been unable to repeat those kinds of numbers in the bigs. As for Peter, we did not know if Taylor could hit big league pitching after last spring either. It is always a crap shoot with young players. Kike can’t hit big league pitching consistently either. If Grandal is the blind squirrel, Kike is his kid brother. Everyone is raving about Buehler, just like they did Urias…..put him in there now, he is ready. We want him to use his innings for the big club. I think that is a huge mistake, but that is just me. I think he needs more time in AAA. Build his arm strength up as a starter because using him out of the pen if he is not going to start is counter-productive. His innings can better be controlled at AAA. In the heat of a pennant race, you are trying to win every game. I myself am a world champion griper. Got the habit in the military. But I know enough about this game in the over 60 years that I have watched and played that I can see and tell when a player is good or bad. Consistency is the biggest problem for most players except the super stars and those who are very good. If Grandal could hit .275 he would be considered a great catcher. But he can’t hit .250. Kike has had one good season, 2015. Yeah, he like a lot of players have their moments like his 3 homer game against the Cubs in the playoffs, and Joc having a good World Series. And it is not because of playing time. It comes down to how you prepare for a game. If your job is to come off the bench and pinch hit, or play a position a couple of innings, you need to do that job as well as you can. If you cannot hit a certain type of pitch or a lefty, you should practice against that type of pitch or arm until you can hit it. Work ethic plays a huge part in how well you are going to perform. Guys like Seager, Turner, Taylor and Bellinger get it. The kid Peters was being praised by Monday on the broadcast the other day because he heard from coaches about the kids work ethic. Some players have it, others do not.

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