Rich Hill is the biggest head scratcher here. I know what you’re saying: “Why would the Dodgers pay 48 million for a bullpen piece in the postseason?” Well, the truth is I don’t know why the Dodger gave a 37-year old with injuries concerns a three-year deal. It surely hasn’t paid off so far. But that’s neither here nor there; I’m creating this rotation based on the players on the roster.
The fact of the matter is Rich Hill brings more flexibility to the postseason rotation than Julio Urias does. I touched on his age and his injury concerns, so what better way to get value on your investment than to preserve his arm (more like the finger) by using him out of the bullpen.
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October baseball is unlike baseball during the regular season. Every out matters and every situational pitching is highlighted more than ever. By utilizing Hill out of the bullpen, you get a veteran left-hander that can get both lefties and righties out in pressured situations and can also give you multiple innings. Hill to the bullpen provides experienced protection IF Urias struggles and Hill could possibly widen the bridge to Pedro Baez and possibly Kenley Jansen.
Hill without question has the potential to be in the starting rotation. That’s why the Dodgers resigned him. But for the time being, he still has yet to prove he’s healthy, as he has yet to pitch six innings this season. If Hill can show that he’s fully healthy and regain his form that he showed last season then without question, he’ll make the rotation come October. But as of today, June 7th, that’s not the case. I know Urias has yet to show he can pitch with confidence this season, but as of today, this gives the Dodgers the best combination.
Hyun-Jin Ryu – Ryu’s inconsistency leave a lot of question marks for Dave Roberts to trust come playoff time. I wonder whether Ryu will make the postseason roster depending on whether he can settle into a more permanent role as the season progresses.
Kenta Maeda – Maeda fell off as the season went on last year. He struggled in his starts in the postseason and has struggled early on this season. Maeda transitioning into a bullpen role may not be the best move for him in the future, but it certainly is the right move for now. I’m worried the league may be catching up to Maeda’s stuff as more film has been discovered on Kenta.