Dodgers: Armed With a Strong Rotation How Will LA Fit Buehler in?

(Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
(Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images) /

The Dodgers are going to need to call up a starting pitcher to start Monday in place of Rich Hill.  The logical candidates are Walker Buehler and Brock Stewart with Buehler being the favorite to start Monday’s game.

The Dodgers once again find themselves in an envious position when it comes to their starting rotation.  The Dodgers have one of the best pitching prospects in baseball, in Walker Buehler but there is currently no room for him in the Dodgers’ starting rotation.  While Buehler may start Monday with Rich Hill on the disabled list, that is the only start Walker will get before being sent back to the minor leagues.

Once Rich Hill returns, the Dodgers have five solid starters in their rotation.  Obviously, Kershaw is going to stay in, and Alex Wood is a lock to stay in the rotation after winning sixteen games last season.  Rich Hill is off to a slow start, but history shows he should finish with an ERA in the low 3’s and be a very solid number three pitcher in the rotation.

Kenta Maeda has had mixed results but a .513 BABIP and a 1.05 FIP suggest that Kenta has had some bad luck so far.  Maeda also has a contract that is based on starting pitcher incentives.  Hyun-Jin Ryu is off to the best start of any Dodger starting pitcher and that rounds out the five men in the starting rotation.  Barring a long-term injury to someone in the Dodgers’ starting rotation, it’s hard to find a permanent rotation spot for Walker Buehler.

The Dodgers want to keep Walker Buehler on an innings limit, but they are wasting his bullets in Triple-A.  The club is better off finding a way to cement Buehler in the starting rotation.  There are a few different scenarios in which the Dodgers can make a permanent home for Walker Buehler in their starting rotation.

One option would be to go with a six-man rotation.  The Dodgers could keep Clayton Kershaw on his normal starting schedule and then use everybody else in a sequence after that. Hyun-Jin Ryu and Kenta Maeda are two pitchers who were used to starting once in a week overseas.  Using a six-man rotation would keep both Ryu and Maeda on a schedule that included extra rest.

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Rich Hill and Alex Wood are two other pitchers who wouldn’t mind the extra off days in a six-man rotation.  Wood spent multiple stints on the DL last season and Rich Hill is currently on the DL.  The Dodgers could employ a six-man rotation and get Walker Buehler into the starting rotation without kicking anyone else out.

Another way the Dodgers could keep Buehler’s innings down is to once again play ten day DL roulette with everyone in the rotation not named Clayton Kershaw.  Last season Alex Wood seemed to come back strong after his stints on the disabled list, and Ryu pitched even better with extra rest.  Although it would make MLB mad, it would be hard to prove that the Dodgers starters were really faking it.

While the Dodgers could possibly trade an extra starting pitcher, that is the least likely of all their options.  Hyun-Jin Ryu is a contract year but he has been magnificent and the Dodgers wouldn’t get much for him since this is his only year of control.  The Dodgers depth also took a hint last winter so the Dodgers need to keep all their starting pitchers.

Next: Ryu proving to be one of the best fifth starters in MLB

For now, it appears the only way the Dodgers could fit Walker Buehler into their rotation permanently, is if a big injury occurs.  While we would all love to see Walker Buehler, there is no room for him and hopefully, nobody makes room for him by going down.  Walker Buehler’s time is coming (perhaps Monday), but for now the Dodgers simply have no room for him to stick in their rotation permanently.