The Los Angeles Dodgers decided to reset this offseason rather than reload. So far, it's paid dividends; their youth-juiced lineup remains elite, and their energized remaining core has somehow reached the top of the NL West standings (with the pesky Diamondbacks waiting for him).
Not only did the offseason roster adjustment lead to on-field success, but it also gave the Dodgers added flexibility moving forward. Which is good. Because this rotation is a mess.
We'll have to wait a little longer to see how the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes materializes (he's not getting traded), but there's no team better equipped to pull off a midseason deal for a top starting pitcher (with, potentially, a shortstop added to the package). Corbin Burnes and Willy Adames? Watch the Brewers.
Whether it's a blockbuster or a lottery ticket, the Dodgers will need to improve their starters' ERA in the second half. Walker Buehler will not be walking through that door, as much as he might want to. Julio Urías' walk year has left plenty to be desired, and it's currently on pause. Dustin May is on the 60-Day. Bobby Miller could be the truth. He's also just 1/4 of a playoff rotation.
MLB Standings: Dodgers have middle-of-the-pack starters' ERA
The Dodgers should be proud of their place in the MLB standings, and pending a Padres surge, will be battling it out with the resurgent Diamondbacks for supremacy all summer long.
But right now, they're working to offset their rotation instead of being buoyed by it. The Dodgers rank just 14th in MLB in starters' ERA at 4.40, a notch behind the Padres (12th) and Yankees (13th).
The Yankees, at least, should be getting horses back. Luis Severino just returned. Carlos Rodón, and even Frankie Montas, are lurking. The arms the Dodgers need currently reside on other teams.
It's no surprise, of course, that MLB's teams, when ordered by their rotation ERAs, come out in essentially proper order of success.
1. Tampa Bay Rays - 3.13 ERA
2. Texas Rangers - 3.28 ERA
3. Houston Astros - 3.35 ERA
4. Atlanta Braves - 3.41 ERA
5. Minnesota Twins - 3.43 ERA
6. San Francisco Giants - 3.86 ERA
7. Seattle Mariners - 3.89 ERA
The Twins have underperformed their own peripherals plenty this year, and the sixth and seventh seeds are still borderline playoff teams angling for Wild Card berths. The Cubs, in eighth, are the first appearance of a non-contender. The Red Sox, stuck in 26th with their stinging offense and bum rotation, are mislabeled. Most other placements track.
The Dodgers have the offensive firepower to fight through the regular season and come out on top. But they don't have the horses for a short series. They'll need to find one. Or two.