Dodgers: Dave Roberts gives fifth starter job to least likely candidate

Adam Weinrib
Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin, Los Angeles Dodgers (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin, Los Angeles Dodgers (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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The Los Angeles Dodgers entered the final week of spring training with only one real roster question remaining

Unfortunately, it was perhaps the most resounding one of all: after the Big 3 of Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, and Trevor Bauer, who would be rounding out the roster?

Dave Roberts began the process of answering this question over the weekend with a bit of a surprise: Julio Urias would be taking the fourth spot in the rotation. After closing out the World Series from the ‘pen, he apparently was more than just a borderline candidate for the gig.

Then it was down to three, with decision day looming. David Price, former Cy Young, wasn’t assured a rotation spot, which seemed incredible enough before you realized Tony Gonsolin and Dustin May were also wavering.

Price started Sunday’s rivalry matchup with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, but Roberts assured us not to read too much into that.

On Monday, it became clear why, when he announced that perhaps the rotation option who was best suited to the bullpen would, in fact, be the team’s fifth starter.

I’m sorry…whomst?

Dustin May beat out David Price and Tony Gonsolin for a spot in the Dodgers rotation.

Roberts bucked our better judgment and handed the fifth-starter job to the person we expected would see the biggest uptick in velocity (and clearest role) in the ‘pen in the person of Dustin May.

Of course, it’s only temporary. And of course, the Dodgers had the best of both worlds being able to choose between three studs like this. But we must admit, this is not who we would’ve bet our paychecks on.

All three potential starters entered the spring competition with gusto, and performed to the best of their abilities. May posted a 2.63 ERA, whiffing 17 in 13.2 innings pitched, while Gonsolin matched him cleanly, striking out 12 in 10.1 innings pitched with a 2.61 ERA.

Price, after a year away from the game? 2.70 ERA in far fewer innings.

At the end of the day, May was the most readily built up, and we likely should’ve read the tea leaves, but we’re still stunned the Dodgers had the fortitude to do this — and Price and Gonsolin were clearly happy to acquiesce.

The only roster question that remains now is the very final spot — utility man Zach McKinstry got on under the wire, and either Dennis Santana or Scott Alexander will join the bullpen.

Alexander’s the veteran, but based on Roberts’ praise this spring? We’ll go with Santana.

Clearly, spring performance and the amount of opportunities a pitcher is given did matter in this year’s camp.

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