Dodgers: Was trading Ross Stripling a mistake by front office?
Hindsight is always 20/20, but the Los Angeles Dodgers are a team that values pitching depth in every regard. The starting rotation. The bullpen. Hybrid roles. Triple-A. You name it.
That’s why, at the very least, we have to question the team trading Ross Stripling to the Toronto Blue Jays in 2020.
From 2016-2019, Stripling never had an ERA above a 3.96 and helped out the Dodgers both in the rotation and the bullpen.
Then, after a rough start last year (5.61 ERA in seven starts), he was shipped to Toronto for pitcher Kendall Williams and first baseman/outfielder Ryan Noda. Neither of those guys will be helping out the Dodgers anytime soon, though they could pan out down the road and make this argument moot.
Instead of keeping Stripling, we’ve seen the Dodgers waste inning after inning by using Dennis Santana, Mitch White, Garrett Cleavinger, Edwin Uceta, Alex Vesia and Nate Jones. Now, they have problems in the rotation with Dustin May going down, Tony Gonsolin unable to shake the injury bug, David Price not being stretched out as a starter, and Julio Urias crashing back down to earth.
They really couldn’t have figured out a role for Stripling after the four good seasons he provided?
The Dodgers may have made a mistake trading Ross Stripling.
In an unexpected turn of events, Stripling has found his footing with the Jays, even though his 4.33 ERA and 1.23 WHIP are nothing to write home about. He’s been lights out in his last six starts against the Rays, Indians, Astros, Red Sox, Yankees and Marlins, most of whom are among the game’s top contenders (his only lackluster outing came against Boston).
He’s lowered his ERA almost three full points over that span (7.20 to 4.33) and his four-pitch mix (fastball, curveball, slider and changeup) has been on full display. His advanced metrics and peripheral stats aren’t good at all, but we’re now getting a glimpse of the Stripling from 2016-2019 rather than the short-lived version that imploded in 2020 and the start of 2021.
The Dodgers obviously didn’t foresee the pressing rotation setbacks that have plagued them early on, but there was always a concern with the bullpen. Given Stripling had provided assistance in both roles effectively (4.15 ERA as a starter and 3.10 ERA as a reliever), it’s safe to say fans should be confused by the trade.
Now, Andrew Friedman is probably going to have to make another trade before the deadline to fortify the pitching staff when that could’ve been avoided had they kept a known commodity in Stripling.