I feel more confidence in the Dodgers 2011 starting rotation than any other Dodger starting rotation in the past several years. Barring injury or alien possession, the Starting Five should be very good. While not the best in all of baseball (at least not now, not on paper), this group has to be in the discussion as to the TOP 5 Rotations in baseball. I did not say that they were TOP 5, I said that they had to be in that discussion… and they very well could be top 5. Period! Some people seem to discount Ted Lilly, but listen to what Roger Schlueter of MLB.com has to say about Ted Lilly:
It will be interesting to see what Lilly can do in a full season with Dodger Stadium as his home ballpark (he’s 4-3 with a 3.90 ERA and WHIP below one in 10 career appearances there). Since coming to the NL in 2007, Lilly has been one of the more valuable pitchers in the NL. By WAR, he is ninth in the NL since ’07. WAR is an acronym for Wins Above Replacement, or the number of wins the player added to the team above what a replacement player would add.
Giants righty Tim Lincecum heads that list with an 18.7 WAR; he’s followed by Roy Oswalt (17.5 WAR), Matt Cain (16.9), Adam Wainwright (16.9) and Ubaldo Jimenez (15.5).
That’s an interesting stat. Especially interesting since the Dodgers are counting on him to just be a number 4 starter. That stat suggests that he is capable of pitching like a number 2. But he’s the Dodger’s #4 (maybe #3 – depends upon how they are slotted).
The Dodgers starters will probably rank like this:
- Clayton Kershaw
- Chad Billingsley
- Hiroki Kuroda
- Ted Lilly
- Jon Garland
Jon Garland was the opening day starter for the Padres last year and the Dodgers will have their 2010 Opening Day starter (Vicente Padilla) in the pen. That’s a formidable Five (Six), especially if the 1, 2 Starters continue their maturation. This is a team that should have a better bullpen, if for no reason other than less use. It would not be unexpected to me if Kershaw and Billingsley both had “breakout” years. Lilly, Kuroda and Garland are all solid pitchers capable of 200 innings and double figures+ in wins. This should be a fun rotation to watch. We’ll discuss the bullpen later.
- Non-Roster Invitees to Spring Training include Pitchers Rubby De La Rosa, Dana Eveland, Wilkin De La Rosa, Jon Huber, Oscar Villareal, Tim Redding and Roman Colon, Infielders Dee Gordon, Juan Castro, Justin Sellers, and Eugenio Velez, Outfielders Trent Oeltjen and Jerry Sands and Catchers JD Closser and Damaso Espino. I can’t imagine any of them making the team (except maybe DeLaRosa with a super spring), but you never know. They are mostly “organizational Depth” except for Gordon, Sands and DeLaRosa.
- Ramona Shelburne of ESPN/Losangeles has an excellent piece on Trayvon Robinson. T-Rob has the makings of a solid CF.
- Ken Gurnick of Dodgers.com reports that the Dodgers are close to signing Marcus “Iron Glove/Slow Foot” Thames and that they have interest in Eric Chavez (we already know he’s supposed to try out on Jan 20th) and Gabe “A RH Kirk Gibson Minus the Bat” Kapler. This should be interesting… I’ll comment if/when it actually happens.
UPDATE: I guess the Thames deal HAS happened. Tony Jackson says that it is a done deal, pending a physical and that a Gabe Kapler signing is close. Thames and Gibbons in LF could be the worst-fielding duo in baseball, but have 40 HR potential (or 4 HR potential, who the heck knows?). Kapler would be a great clubhouse presence, but is a real long-shot to make the team if he is signed.