Brandon McCarthy is Nice Addition to Dodger Rotation
He loves Vin Scully. He grew up in SoCal until age 10. He is not Dan Haren. He’s sarcastic and entertaining on Twitter. What’s not to love about the newest Dodger starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy? Sure he’s no Max Scherzer, Jon Lester or Cole Hamels. That’s okay, because the Dodgers already have a duo of aces in Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke. They merely needed to shore up the back end of the rotation behind Hyun-jin Ryu. Brandon McCarthy will be an excellent fourth or fifth starter for the Dodgers over the next four seasons, and I’m looking forward to his humor on social media as well.
McCarthy’s reported four-year $48 million deal with the Dodgers has yet to be officially announced most likely because there needs to be a roster move made in order to open up a spot for him. The Jimmy Rollins trade is yet to be finalized pending a multitude of physicals, so we are still waiting on those official announcements by the team.
While McCarthy has had right shoulder issues, and he missed a big chunk of games in 2012 due to a horrific skull fracture injury due to a line drive off his head, the lanky right-hander had a great season in 2014 between the D-backs and Yankees. His combined win-loss record of 10-15 and 4.05 ERA last season shouldn’t factor into his value on the mound. McCarthy is definitely an upgrade over the traded and soon-to-be-retired Dan Haren. Four years does seem like a lengthy contract, but McCarthy should provide stability to the backend of the Dodger rotation if he stays healthy and his shoulder doesn’t flare up. With exactly 200 innings pitched in 2014, Brandon struck out 175 batters while only walking 35. His FIP was also very good at 3.55, and he only allowed 10 homeruns all year in 2014. Pitching at Dodger Stadium would certainly allow McCarthy to continue keeping the ball in the park, and after watching Haren allow 27 homeruns in 186 innings pitched last year, that should be a breath of fresh air out of the fourth or fifth rotation spot for the Dodgers.
It was no surprise signing since Farhan Zaidi worked for the Oakland Athletics during McCarthy’s time there from 2011-2012. Adrian was already on board with the Dodgers signing McCarthy a couple of months ago, and I too feel as though this signing should bring more consistency out of the rotation. After all, last season we had to watch Carlos Frias, Red Patterson and Roberto Hernandez all make starts when the Dodgers rotation hit injury snags. Even Clayton Kershaw missed six weeks at the beginning of the season causing the Dodgers to scramble to find starting solutions early on. If I never have to think about Kevin Correia or Paul Maholm starting again for the Dodgers, I will be happy.
Zach Lee was seemingly in the running last offseason to make a run at a starting spot during 2014, but that plan quickly derailed. Stephen Fife is now a free agent, and Matt Magill never panned out either. The Dodgers had to add at least one more starter this offseason, and Brandon McCarthy was a good choice. I’d like to see the Dodgers pick up one additional starter so as to prevent more Carlos Frias starts and or Juan Nicasio spot starts. I think you know by now that Cole Hamels would be my top choice, but after the McCarthy deal, the Dodgers may not want to spend much more. They certainly will not trade away any of their top prospects including Julio Urias, Corey Seager or Joc Pederson, so obtaining Hamels may not be feasible.
With the rotation thus far consisting of Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy, I’d like the Dodgers to either make a big splash by trading for Cole Hamels or instead take a more conservative approach and risk on Chad Billingsley. Billingsley became a free agent this offseason after the Dodgers declined his 2015 option and picked up his buyout. After two elbow surgeries and some frustrating setbacks, Bills could be that dark horse which could provide the Dodgers an affordable alternative for the fifth spot in their rotation. Albeit a risk, Bills is a former first-round draft pick by the Dodgers and could be re-signed for a much less pricey contract than the $14 million option which was declined.
Zach Lee will also get another look, and with the Dodgers moving their Triple-A team to Oklahoma City, Lee’s effectiveness could be more easily evaluated now that he will be pitching somewhere other than Albuquerque.
While the Dodgers should still be on the hunt for another starting pitcher this offseason, adding Brandon McCarthy is a good complement to the starters they already have. Even though it doesn’t win games, McCarthy’s humor along with his gorgeous wife Amanda’s social media presence will surely be enjoyed by Dodger fans. If there was a stat to rate social media usage by MLBers, McCarthy would get a 9.9 out of 10 trailing the league leader in Instagram posts Yasiel Puig.