For the third year in a row, the Los Angeles Dodgers are going to learn a valuable lesson with roster depth. Last year, their awful bench didn't offer much production and ended up dooming them. The year prior, it certainly would've helped to have Joc Pederson and/or Kiké Hernandez in the fold.
This year, welcome to pitching hell! After letting Tyler Anderson, Andrew Heaney, Tommy Kahnle, Chris Martin and Craig Kimbrel go in the offseason, the Dodgers replaced that group with Noah Syndergaard, the return of Dustin May, Shelby Miller, Alex Reyes and Andre Jackson (among others).
The plans were derailed from the jump, though. Tony Gonsolin suffered an ankle injury, which created a void in the rotation. Reyes (and others like Daniel Hudson, VIctor Gonzalez, JP Feyereisen, Jimmy Nelson and Blake Treinen) wouldn't be ready for the start of the season, forcing LA to roll with a bullpen of Miller, Jackson, Alex Vesia, Evan Phillips, Caleb Ferguson, Yency Almonte and Phil Bickford. Not great.
The rotation seemingly had a solution, though. Top prospect Ryan Pepiot was ready to step in as the No. 5 starter until Gonsolin returned ... until the right-hander suffered an oblique strain and was placed on the injured list to start the season.
LA announced the news just hours before their season opener against the Diamondbacks, and brought up Michael Grove as the corresponding move.
Dodgers place Ryan Pepiot on injured list, recall Michael Grove
It's not the end of the world. Grove and Pepiot were neck-and-neck during Spring Training, with Pepiot edging out Grove for the job, but the two debuted last year and got plenty of chances with the big-league roster.
Still, though, it's not what you want, especially since Pepiot and Grove were never really part of the plan. They were supposed to be the first arm out of the bullpen or trade bait altogether. Grove represents their last line of defense, which now leaves no room for error or injury.
Tyler Anderson for $13 million a year in his prime sure sounds really good now, doesn't it, Andrew Friedman?
It's the nature of the beast. All teams deal with injuries, and sometimes roster-altering ones, but a team with as many resources as the Dodgers shouldn't have put themselves in such a precarious situation by letting all of that talent walk, only to replace it with cheaper alternatives or younger players who lack experience. Sure, let the kids play, but not at the expense of the overall health of the roster.
Throw in the fact that Noah Syndergaard has been injury prone his entire career and Dustin May hasn't made more than 10 starts in a single season yet, and this could theoretically get a lot worse before it gets any better.