Ross Stripling was on his way to Anaheim with a spot in the rotation, before the trade with the Dodgers fell apart.
Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling admits to feeling a little slighted about the trade that would have put him in the Los Angeles Angels starting rotation. After the deal fell through, LA’s front office tried to quell the situation by promising him a chance in the Dodgers’ rotation, but it quickly became apparent that Stripling would be working out of the bullpen.
While Stripling acknowledged it’s a “win-win” for him, regardless of how the trade worked out, he admitted looking back at the opportunity he lost with the Angels.
“When it kind of fell through, Andrew [Friedman], and Mark [Walter], and Dave Roberts were kind of saying, ‘You are going to get a chance to be a starter,'” Stripling said on The Scribes of Summer Podcast. “And then when we announced Julio [Urias] as the number four before games even started. And Alex Wood was basically clearly the number five, and they announced that. That’s kind of when I reflected, and kind of was like, Crap, I don’t know if I really got a chance to earn that fifth spot this spring.”
The Angels’ new manager, Joe Maddon, planned on deploying a six-man rotation before the pandemic changed the calculations surrounding a 2020 season. With Shohei Ohtani rehabbing from elbow and knee injuries, and Griffin Canning on the mend, it’s easier to identify a spot for Stripling within an unproven Halos rotation than it is with the Dodgers.
“It might have been a pretty cool opportunity to compete for an Opening Day role with the Angels, versus, basically, looking like I never had a chance to make the rotation with the Dodgers,” Stripling said.
Stripling is 30-years-old, but as a late bloomer, still three years away from free agency, including the 2020 season. As he progresses along the aging curve, he is quickly running out of time to make his name as a starter, a role where he has excelled in the past, earning an All-Star appearance in 2018.
The Dodgers are expected to use a rotation led by Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, and recently acquired David Price. Stripling was hopeful for a spot in the back-end of the rotation, before Julio Urias and Alex Wood seemed to lock those positions up.
The proposed deal that would have sent the right-hander to Anaheim, also involved outfielder Joc Pederson, who will now play a platoon role with AJ Pollock in left field. Once the trade between the Dodgers and Red Sox for Mookie Betts was re-negotiated, the deal with the Angels fell apart.
If the 2020 season eventually returns amid the novel coronavirus, the season will look drastically different than it would have under normal conditions. A compressed schedule might present an opportunity for Stripling to join a six-man rotation, as the Dodgers look to ease their starters back into action.