Dodgers: 2020 starting rotation with (and without) question marks

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 09: Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches in relief in the seventh inning of game five of the National League Division Series against the Washington Nationals at Dodger Stadium on October 09, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 09: Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches in relief in the seventh inning of game five of the National League Division Series against the Washington Nationals at Dodger Stadium on October 09, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /
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LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 09: Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches in relief in the seventh inning of game five of the National League Division Series against the Washington Nationals at Dodger Stadium on October 09, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

Heading into next season, the Dodgers surely will be faced with a similar dilemma to what they faced in 2018. And 2017: Who to include in the rotation.

In dealing with starting rotation problems, the Dodgers have seemingly opted to roll with an exorbitant amount of depth that will allow them to place pitchers on the IL without much thought. In 2019, only Walker Buehler reached 30 starts for LA. The next three highest starters, Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Kenta Maeda started between 26 and 29 games.

Realistically, a five-man rotation with good health would net around 30 starts per pitcher, with that equaling 150 games started. That leaves only 12 starts for pitchers outside of the rotation. This season, the Dodgers main five starting pitchers combined to only start 126 games for the club. The top six starters only threw in 141 games.

The Dodgers certainly would seem to need more consistent work out of their starting pitchers, and yet their 106-win regular season would say otherwise.

Still, even if the system of a “core-four” with plenty of satellites worked in 2019, can it fare as well in 2020? And will the Dodgers stick with this sort of system in lieu of opting to trade away the excess in order to slim down the MLB roster while bulking up a slightly lacking farm system?

In this article, I’ll break down how the two most likely options would work for the Dodgers. First, I’ll get into what a 2020 “core-four” is likely to look like, before getting into what I feel will be the path the Dodgers choose to take, which would be to slim down and become more efficient.

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