Dodgers insider sneakily reveals troubling Walker Buehler update

New York Mets v Los Angeles Dodgers
New York Mets v Los Angeles Dodgers / Katelyn Mulcahy/GettyImages

Even with all of their successes this offseason, the Dodgers could still be considered a somewhat lopsided, top-heavy team. The lineup's 1-4 is one of, if not the best in baseball, but it still peters out past Will Smith at cleanup. The same can be said about the rotation, which now has Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Tyler Glasnow on top of Bobby Miller, but the last two spots are still in question.

Walker Buehler should be a lock, but he's been recovering from a second Tommy John that kept him off the field for the entirety of 2023, and the team has kept an exact re-landing date in the major leagues elusive. The Dodgers need Buehler to hold down the middle of the rotation, but his future is still in question.

In a recent newsletter,'s Juan Toribio dropped a hint that Buehler won't be ready by Opening Day, and may not even be ready throughout all of April. He writes that Buehler should be "coming back at some point in the early months of the season," which isn't exactly a resounding reassurance for fans -- especially after it was believed last year that he might even be ready to be a reliever come October.

Dodgers insider sneakily reveals Walker Buehler won’t be ready for start of 2024

Before he got hurt, Buehler pitched 207.2 innings for an astounding 2.47 ERA in 2021, which is exactly what the Dodgers need at the top of the rotation now. There are a lot of question marks around Yamamoto, who has never pitched in the major leagues, and Glasnow, who has never pitched more than 120 innings in a season, so a known quantity in Buehler is needed. No doubt he'll be innings-limited whenever he does return, and there's a fair amount of risk in coming back from a major surgery, but having him back would still be less risky than giving the ball to a relatively untested Emmet Sheehan or a struggling Ryan Yarbrough.

Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin are also theoretical factors here, but they both got hurt well after Buehler did and the timelines of their arrivals back in the majors are even more dubious; Gonsolin will likely miss the season, and May's injury remains nebulous. If the Dodgers are still looking out for starting pitchers, namely Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery, competition from the rest of the league will be even fiercer now that Yamamoto has signed, and LA hasn't expressed much interest in either of them.

Buehler remains a big part of the equation, and it's possible that we won't see the Dodgers rotation in its best possible form until a few months into the season. It's discouraging, to say the least, and we can only hope that the team is forming a serviceable contingency plan around his prolonged absence.