Dodgers top prospect’s secret surgery derails LA’s 2024 pitching plan

The Dodgers' pitching depth took a hit with the latest bizarre injury news.
Los Angeles Dodgers v Washington Nationals
Los Angeles Dodgers v Washington Nationals / G Fiume/GettyImages
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While the Los Angeles Dodgers have had a fantastic offseason, some questions remain regarding their pitching depth. Shohei Ohtani is in the fold, but he isn't pitching this season and his future on the mound is an open question. Yoshinobu Yamamoto is likely to be awesome, and Tyler Glasnow will be, too, if he stays healthy, but there is a lot of speculation after that, especially given James Paxton's injury history. Clayton Kershaw is a free agent and recovering from surgery, Walker Buehler is still on the shelf, and LA was presumably going to have to rely on at least one of their young arms to cover innings in the rotation or the bullpen.

One of those young arms that appeared poised to help out in their rotation or bullpen this season was righthander Nick Frasso. Frasso has electric stuff, with a fastball that has hit triple digits, in addition to a hard swing-and-miss slider and a changeup that can be borderline unfair, given the quality of his fastball. Frasso hadn't been throwing deep into games much in the minors, which had him pegged by some as a reliever, but the righty still would be extremely valuable as a bullpen piece, even if starting didn't work out.

Unfortunately, all of that speculation was for naught for this season, as Frasso announced recently that he actually had surgery in November to repair a torn labrum, which will keep him out for at least most of this coming season.

Nick Frasso's injury makes Dodgers pitching plans uncertain

The Dodgers just added Frasso to their 40-man roster in November, which is curious timing given that Frasso apparently had surgery in November as well. Given that he was already on the roster, most assumed that he was going to be in the mix this season for at least a bullpen spot, if not the rotation in 2024. Now that he is out, it further explains why the Dodgers went ahead and brought in James Paxton, and gives some added urgency to getting the bullpen sorted out.

Given how much the Dodgers have invested in this roster, don't be surprised if LA continues to make moves the rest of the way. It is possible that the Dodgers go ahead and add another rotation arm or a bullpen piece or two to round out what has been a transformative offseason. While the top bullpen arms have been mostly cleared out, there are still some interesting guys available, and the Dodgers could shock everyone again and add one of the top starters still available if they are feeling particularly ambitious.

As for Frasso's future, any sort of shoulder surgery is cause for concern, especially for a pitcher who throws as hard as he does. It is certainly a little weird that his surgery wasn't announced earlier, but it isn't that uncommon for injuries to not be reported as quickly as those suffered by guys on the active big league roster. However, the initial word is that his tear was minor enough that avoiding surgery was on the table as an option (before the team took the plunge), so the hope is that he will heal up and be good as new -- either at the end of the 2024 season or going into 2025.

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