Dodgers need May and Urias to stand out after Joe Musgrove trade
By Adam Weinrib
The Padres have Joe Musgrove? Julio Urias and Dustin May better take the next step as Dodgers starters.
On paper, the Los Angeles Dodgers still have the best rotation in the NL West, despite all of San Diego’s offseason reshuffling.
But paper is comprised of projections. Paper is largely two-dimensional. And any paper compiled regarding the 2021 MLB season, months prior to first pitch, bakes in plenty of assumptions about continued development from the names listed upon it.
What we know for sure is the San Diego Padres traded for California native Joe Musgrove on Monday night, lengthening a rotation that already added Blake Snell and Yu Darvish this offseason in separate trades.
And what we think we know is that the Dodgers can top that or equal it, but that such things are based on top prospects/young big leaguers Julio Urias and Dustin May building on their 2020 postseason momentum now that the calendar has turned.
Yes, the Dodgers still have Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw fronting their rotation. Especially in the regular season, those two are essentially givens.
Beyond that pairing, David Price seems likely to return, as will Tony Gonsolin, a Rookie of the Year contender who faltered in short stints once the postseason began. As far as a regular season No. 4, though, his credentials are unmatched.
That brings us to Urias and May, both of whom had alternating moments of greatness during the postseason in 2020, and both of whom might be tacked onto the end of the rotation in tandem this year.
Many clubs may use a six-man crew in 2021, on account of the stunted season that every arm went through in ’20 — even the pitching-rich Padres have bandied the idea about this week.
We know May’s cutting fastball can play for short stints. We know Urias became a flamethrower, his stuff playing up as the lights shone brighter and the 27th out approached. But is one ready for six innings of primetime once a week? Or both? The Dodgers’ ability to stay firmly ahead of San Diego might hinge on such a proposition.
You know the names that wear brown and mustard. Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, and even the peripherally-loved Musgrove come with a pedigree. So does Dinelson Lamet. Ditto Chris Paddack.
But the Dodgers can bring six similar arms to a firefight, as long as May and Urias translate their promise in ’21.
Don’t count them out.