While Bolsinger and Frias Perform, are Other Dodgers Moves in Order?


With the recent news of Hyun-jin Ryu’s pending surgery and possible loss for the season, the importance of Mike Bolsinger and Carlos Frias carrying 40% of the starting rotation load becomes all the more crucial. So far they have delivered admirably.

As of May 21, Bolsinger has 3 starts for the Dodgers. With a 2-0 record, he has pitched 17.1 innings, given up only 2 earned runs (producing an ERA of 1.04), and struck out 14 to only 6 walks. Refusing to be outdone, Frias now has a 3-1 record on 4 starts and two early relief appearances. He’s pitched 24.2 innings, giving up 7 earned runs (a 2.55 ERA), and has thrown 19 strikeouts to only 6 walks.

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As good as these two have been so far, can Dodger fans expect similar results as we grind towards the middle third of the schedule? According to Jason Catania at Bleacher Report, “If LA can coax another six weeks or so out of this current compilation of arms, that’s probably the best-case scenario before reality starts setting in.”

The reality Catania speaks of includes the ever-expected injury to Brett Anderson (who has moved his way up from the 5th spot to the 3rd spot in the rotation due to injuries to Brandon McCarthy and Ryu), and the likelihood that opposition hitters will soon figure out Bolsinger and Frias.

Even if Bolsinger and Frias maintain their strong performances for the remainder of the season, does anyone anticipate either of them to be relied on for a post-season start? Five starters aren’t needed in the playoffs, true, but 3 are for sure with a reliable option for number 4. In a year where all of Dodger Nation anticipates at the very least a trip to the World Series, does the thought of Anderson, Frias, and Bolsinger competing for a Game 3 start in the NLDS or NLCS boost anyone’s hopes for success? Taking nothing away from their performances so far this year, the post-season is a different animal.

With that question in mind, do we anticipate the Dodgers to make a move to bring in a third high-caliber starter to place behind Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke?  Catania points out that “While it’s unlikely they would move untouchables like shortstop Corey Seager or [Jose] Urias, there are plenty of intriguing upstart youngsters on the farm” who could be used for trade bait.

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  • Pitchers who could find themselves looking for new teams in the coming weeks include Johnny Cueto, Scott Kazmir, Mike Leake and Kyle Lohse, all of whom are free agents at season’s end. Cole Hamels is another option, but the high asking price by the Phillies leads me to think that’s an option Andrew Friedman will likely skip.

    If the Dodgers look to bring in another starter, who would you trade? Right-handed prospect Jose De Leon (who was recently promoted to double-A) is an option.  Outfielder Scott Schebler, who showed well in the spring, is another. Will Friedman cash in on their future for a shot at a championship now, or do you think they are grooming current starters like Alex Guerrero for a possible move?

    For the moment, the strong outings by Bolsinger and Frias are buying the Dodgers time. Their first place lead is slowly dwindling but to this point that’s not the fault of their starting rotation. Come September and October, however, that may no longer be the case, and as circumstances now stand, a trading away of some future stars in order to strengthen the rotation could be in order.