Dodgers’ reason for giving Andrew Heaney a rotation spot is ridiculous

Thomas Carannante
Mar 27, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Andrew Heaney (28) pitches against the Chicago White Sox during the first inning of a spring training game at Camelback Ranch-Glendale. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 27, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Andrew Heaney (28) pitches against the Chicago White Sox during the first inning of a spring training game at Camelback Ranch-Glendale. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /
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Despite appearing in just two games and allowing a whopping 10 earned runs in just 5.1 innings of work (12 hits, a hit batter and a walk, too!), Andrew Heaney has earned a spot in the Los Angeles Dodgers‘ starting rotation.

Yup, the back end of that unit will feature Heaney (career 4.72 ERA) and Tony Gonsolin (average of 4 innings per outing for his career), which will more than likely strain the bullpen if all of LA’s ducks aren’t in a row.

According to manager Dave Roberts, David Price, who was considered an option, somehow isn’t built up to be a starter despite having ample time to rest and get back into that role. And what about Tyler Anderson? The Dodgers spent $8 million on him only to … use him out of the bullpen?

Whether it was Heaney or Gonsolin getting bumped to the ‘pen, it’s safe to say no Dodgers fan would’ve cared. But the reason for LA giving Heaney a rotation spot is just about as ridiculous as it gets.

Why did the Dodgers give Andrew Heaney a starting rotation spot?

Here’s the latest from MLB.com’s Juan Toribio:

"“The decision ultimately came down to Heaney feeling more comfortable as a starter. Anderson arrived at camp a few days later and made it known that he would welcome any role.Also, despite his struggles this spring, the Dodgers believe Heaney has a higher upside if he figures out his new breaking-ball grip, an emphasis during camp. But while Heaney will get the first crack in the rotation, it’s important to remember the Dodgers could always pivot. Their decisions during the season will be based on production.”"

So, despite Anderson being an objectively better and/or more experienced option than Heaney and Gonsolin, the Dodgers gave the nod to the latter two because Anderson was willing to welcome any role? And because Heaney felt “more comfortable” as a starter despite his awful 2021 season that has continued into spring training?

Truth be told, Heaney and Anderson have almost identical stats, but for the Dodgers to seemingly leave this up to “comfort” rather than recent performance seems counterintuitive to ensuring success.

Here are Heaney’s and Anderson’s career numbers side by side:

  • Heaney – 4.72 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 4.45 FIP, 90 ERA+, 650 strikeouts in 121 games (634.1 innings)
  • Anderson – 4.62 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 4.43 FIP, 100 ERA+, 542 strikeouts in 117 games (623.2 innings)

Anderson also pitched in Colorado for four years, which played a role in inflating his numbers, whereas Heaney’s spent most of his days with the Angels (outside of a half-season with the Yankees).

In the end, there may not be a drastic difference between these two when the season wraps, but it’s just hard to endorse Heaney or give him the opportunity to choose a role of his preference based on how he’s performed the last two seasons compared to Anderson, who seemingly found his footing while Heaney continually loses his.

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