Dodgers’ pitcher Brett Anderson reportedly suffered a bulging disc in his back and will be sidelined three to five months.
The Dodgers got a surprisingly durable Brett Anderson last season, as he posted a career high in starts (31) and innings (180 1/3). The Dodgers took a one year flier on him last offseason and it paid off pretty well, as Anderson pitched past his expectations and ended up as the Dodgers’ number three starter for most of the season.
The one year, $10 million investment paid off, and the Dodgers offered Anderson a qualifying offer. For the first time with the qualifying offer system began, three players, including Anderson, accepted the one year, $15.8 million contract. He reportedly wanted to prove he could stay healthy for another year and test the free agent waters after two fully healthy seasons, likely
This is a huge bummer for a pitcher that seems likable enough. He bet on himself by signing the qualifying offer, and unfortunately that was a losing bet. According to Dodger Insider, Roberts stated that Anderson thought the injury was “a couple-day thing that would subside.”
The Dodgers had a number of question marks in the rotation heading into the season, and injuries were at the forefront of that. Hyun-jin Ryu is coming off major shoulder surgery and isn’t expected back until May. Kenta Maeda reportedly had a less-than-ideal physical, which led to him signing an incentive-heavy contract. Brandon McCarthy is coming off Tommy John and should be back around the all star break. Scott Kazmir has a reputation as an injury prone pitcher, but that’s not entirely true and he could be the most durable pitcher in the rotation, after Clayton Kershaw.
The Dodgers caught a ton of flak in the offseason for losing Zack Greinke. They went for pitching depth over star power, leaving the Dodgers with a downgraded number two starter, but with six or seven solid candidates for the opening day rotation. This is where that pays off, as the Dodgers have better options to deal with an injury to a number five starter going down than pretty much any other team in baseball does. Had the Dodgers matched or surpassed the Diamondbacks’ offer to Greinke, their top-two starters would be in better shape, but the rest of the rotation would likely be in a ton of trouble right now.
Alex Wood was probably looking at a battle to crack the rotation, but with Ryu and Anderson each likely beginning the season on the DL, he should slot into the fourth spot after Kershaw, Kazmir and Maeda. The fifth spot is a bit more dicey. Mike Bolsinger was a savior last season before being replaced by Mat Latos, Brandon Beachy has a ton of talent and promise but struggled last season following a pair of Tommy John surgeries. Another year removed could help, but he has an uphill battle to overtake Bolsinger. This competition will likely be something to follow throughout all of Spring Training.
Alanna Rizzo mentions young prospects, which could be a very intriguing storyline in Spring Training. Julio Urias and Jose De Leon are top prospects and should probably spend this season in AAA. If they impress in Spring Training, there’s an outside chance one of them can crack the opening day rotation. I’d probably bet on De Leon getting a shot before Urias, who has had his innings watched very strictly throughout his career. Carlos Frias and Zach Lee could also be candidates, so it looks like the Dodgers finally will have a position battle to watch during the spring.
Please, just wrap the rest of the rotation in bubble wrap and let’s get to April.