After Kershaw, how will the rotation look?
Clayton Kershaw would be the number 1 on literally every baseball team right now. He would probably be the number 1 on any team for the last five years.
For the first time in the last three years, the Dodgers don’t have another number 1 behind Kershaw. Zack Greinke, who would also have been an ace on most other teams, left for a whole lot of money in Arizona. The Dodgers patched that hole up by signing Scott Kazmir and Kenta Maeda, who combined will make less annually than Greinke will. Those additions, plus the returns of Brett Anderson and Alex Wood, the potential return of Hyun-jin Ryu, and the eventual return of Brandon McCarthy leave the Dodgers with a potential six-or-seven-man battle for five rotation spots.
According to Rizzo, Ryu will pitch in Spring Training, but it’s still unknown when that will be. He’s also not a lock to be on the opening day roster, but pitching earlier in Spring Training will help his chances of starting the season on the active roster.
If Ryu isn’t ready, the rotation should be set with (in no order) Kazmir, Maeda, Anderson and Wood backing up Kershaw. A healthy Ryu complicates things a bit, but the Dodgers are in a great position where they can afford to wait for him and McCarthy to be 100 percent rather than rushing them back early. Even after this handful of pitchers, the Dodgers could stretch out Joe Blanton or see if Mike Bolsinger can capture some of the magic he had early on last year. The bottom line is that even though the Dodgers lost a key piece at the top of their rotation, they’ve replaced that with depth and over a long season, that should pay dividends.