As the old axiom goes, "you can never have too much pitching." The Los Angeles Dodgers are currently testing the bounds of that cliché with seven starting pitchers who lack minor league options on the roster, but they are not close to moving any of them, writes Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.
The Dodgers spent big this off-season to land the top free agent pitcher, signing Zack Greinke to a 6 year/$159M deal. He joins 2011 CY Young winner Clayton Kershaw at the top of the rotation, but after them, the rotation depth chart becomes a bit murky. Josh Beckett, who came over from the Red Sox in the blockbuster deal that also netted the Dodgers Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto, is probably not going anywhere since he is owed another $31.5M over the next two seasons. Chad Billingsley is the team’s second youngest starter behind Kershaw and while he may appeal to other teams more than some of the older Dodgers, he is unlikely to be dealt as well. That leaves veterans Ted Lilly, Aaron Harang, and Chris Capuano all fighting for the final starter spot.
Capuano and Harang both topped 30 starts in 2012 and posted solid ERAs. Harang had the slight edge there, with a 3.61 ERA against Capuano’s 3.72 mark but Capuano threw more innings and had the edge in defense independent metrics like FIP and xFIP. Lilly is pitching the best of the three right now, however, with just one runs surrendered on a solo home run in his two innings of spring training work. Harang has allowed five runs on four hits in two innings and Capuano has given up four home runs in five innings of work, though he has also struck out six.
The Brewers, Orioles, and Pirates have all expressed interest in the Dodgers surplus pitching and the Rangers could soon join the mix. The Dodgers may be able to keep one of the two players that miss out on the rotation stashed away in the bullpen, but roster constraints make keeping two extra starters unrealistic. The Dodgers will be forced to either deal one of the three or to release them.