Once on his way out the door, Ross Stripling will return to a familiar role for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2020.
Imagine for a minute, you’ve found yourself at the center of trade rumors and then being told that you are in fact being included in a swap with another club. You come to grips with the thought of changing teams, moving across town from the Los Angeles Dodgers to the Los Angeles Angels, but ultimately realize that the opportunities afforded with such a move are beneficial to where you see yourself as a player.
Then imagine the carpet being pulled out from under you like it was all some strange dream.
That’s precisely what happened to Ross Stripling when he found out he was on his way across town to the Los Angeles Angels in a trade that included outfielder Joc Pederson and prospect Andy Pages in exchange for fellow prospect Luis Rengifo. The trade was another domino that was set to fall as part of the larger trade that ultimately netted the Dodgers Mookie Betts and David Price from the Boston Red Sox.
However, when the trade with Boston saw a delay in execution, notably because the Red Sox were not happy with the medicals that were coming back in regards to Brusdar Graterol, the secondary deal was put in limbo while the Dodgers determined if they could ultimately move both Pedersen and Stripling. After the delay lengthened, Angels owner Arte Moreno pulled the plug on his end of the deal, and the pair of Pedersen and Stripling got to keep their Dodgers uniforms.
While Pedersen will once again remain in a platoon role in the outfield, where does Stripling fit into the equation in 2020?
At 30-years-old, Stripling is no longer the prospect he once was, and he won’t hold back an arm like Julio Urias or Dustin May at this stage of his career. Likewise, David Price’s past success (not to mention his large salary) will dictate his spot in the rotation as well. As such, Stripling is not likely going to crack the starting staff as he would have as a member of the Angels. However, that does not mean that he will not have a role to play in 2020.
Stripling has made a decent career out of playing the hand that has been dealt him, filling the holes the Dodgers need in both the rotation and the bullpen. Over the course of his 136 career appearances, he has made 52 starts and 84 relief appearances, including 22 games finished. Likewise, he’s been fairly consistent regardless of when he’s starting or relieving, as seen in the table below.
While Stripling has best been served in relief, where he’s pitched to a solid 3.12 ERA and 1.185 WHIP over the course of his career, his splits are fairly even across the board. That is likely owed to having to stay stretched out for potential starts as injuries dictate opportunity.
Speaking of opportunity, Stripling should still see ample spots to pick up starts throughout the season as well. With Clayton Kershaw dealing with ongoing back issues throughout the last few years and David Price seeing his own durability issues as Father Time creeps up on him, Stripling will undoubtedly see a few starts if for no other reason than to keep the lefty pair healthy throughout the season and into the playoffs. There will also be additional starts available while the team tries to manage the workload of their younger starters as well.
While Stripling is unlikely to be an All-Star again at this point in his career, he undoubtedly has a role to serve on the Dodgers pitching staff. Los Angeles Dodgers fans are happy to have him back, and undoubtedly Dave Roberts is as well.