Earlier today, the Dodgers were dealt a blow to their starting rotation, as Brett Anderson will undergo surgery.
Brett Anderson will have back surgery today.— J.P. Hoornstra (@jphoornstra) March 3, 2016
Dave Roberts says that Anderson has a bulging disk. Arthroscopic surgery. 3-5 months recovery time.— J.P. Hoornstra (@jphoornstra) March 3, 2016
Fortunately for the Dodgers, they have an ample amount of depth for their starting rotation, but losing Anderson undoubtedly hurts. After signing a one-year, $10 million contract for the 2015 season, he rewarded Los Angeles' faith, and threw 180.1 innings, and posted an ERA of 3.69, along with an FIP of 3.94.
Over the last three years, Anderson has MLB's best groundball rate for pitchers that have thrown at least 250 innings. The Dodgers now have to figure out who will take his spot in the rotation, and "Dave Roberts mentioned Mike Bolsinger, Brandon Beachy as possible Anderson replacements. Club still deciding if [Carlos] Frias will start or relieve."
Los Angeles should be able to deal with the loss of Anderson without it having serious consequences, but if any other pitchers succumb to injury, their depth will be tested. As Bill Shaikin noted, the Dodgers will have four starters on the disabled list at the beginning of the season (Hyun-jin Ryu, Brandon McCarthy, Frankie Montas, and Anderson).
Some will suggest that this is the perfect chance for Julio Urias to step into the rotation, but Roberts has already said that he wouldn't be the first choice to replace Anderson.
While $15.8 million is a life-changing amount of money, it's fair to wonder if Anderson is now regretting the fact that he accepted the Dodgers' qualifying offer. If he's out for five months, rather than three, he'll return at some point in August, which would give him just two months to prove that he's healthy and effective. Even if he can do that, Anderson might be forced to take another one-year deal, and have to use 2017 to rebuild his value.