It was previously believed one of those two would be starting the year in the bullpen with Tony Gonsolin since David Price was returning in 2021.
After the addition of Trevor Bauer, this ending only seemed more obvious.
Instead, it’ll be Price serving as a reliever to begin the year while Urias and May will join Bauer, Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler. Red Sox fans seem to think it’s funny that the Dodgers are “wasting” money for Price to serve in that role, but guess what? It’s the best plan at the moment.
First off, the Red Sox are paying half of Price’s salary. Secondly, Price hasn’t pitched since 2019, which was a 22-start injury-shortened campaign.
David Price isn’t stretched out enough to help the Dodgers any other way.
Price, at this very moment, isn’t even close to being stretched out to be a starter. He’s thrown 107.1 innings over the last two years. He needs months of work to get back to where he was.
For now, he can help the bullpen eat innings while Tommy Kahnle works his way back from Tommy John surgery, Corey Knebel finds his former self after pitching in just 15 games since the start of 2019, Brusdar Graterol gets prepped to endure a full 162-game campaign, and Joe Kelly recovers from a shoulder ailment.
Also, Price made it clear he wanted to help give May and Urias the most innings possible. From the Dodgers’ perspective, it’s probably best to give the two young arms starts early in the year so the stakes are lower. That’ll help them hone their craft in that role before being moved back to the bullpen toward the end of the year/postseason.
Then that allows Price to slide back into the rotation after he’s built his way back up, which would give the Dodgers another experienced playoff arm — and a lefty at that — just in time for when the competition becomes consistently more difficult. At the end of the day, neither May nor Urias will last the entire season as a starter. Every pitcher will be disadvantaged after what happened in 2020, and the Dodgers know better than everyone that depth reigns supreme.
May has only pitched in 26 career games and Urias just 74. They’ll be utilized in both the rotation and the ‘pen as the year progresses, as will Price. Guys like Kershaw, Bauer and Buehler have more of a proven track record and have a lot more experience over the last couple of years being workhorses.
So everyone laughing at LA right now for what seems like “relegating” Price to the bullpen will feel really stupid once this pitching plan materializes when it matters most.