Price Opts Out

Saturday, July 4, 2020
Copyrighted by Sarah Morris, 2020

David Price, a left-handed starter who came to Los Angeles with Mookie Betts from the Boston Red Sox, will opt-out of the 2020 season. Price cited concerns for his family when he announced he will not play in 2020. He will play for the Dodgers through 2022.

Although Price was slated to be a member of the Dodger starting rotation, he will not be as missed as many other Dodger starters. Coming off a poor season in Boston caused by a cyst on his left wrist, Price was the question mark in Dodger starting rotation. At 34, Price will have trouble rebounding after sitting out a year. In his two starts during spring training, he had mixed results.

Ross Stripling hopes to take Price’s spot in the Dodger starting rotation. If he succeeds, the Dodgers have a more balanced rotation. With Price, the Dodger starting rotation had four left-handed starters. Having all those four left-handed starters makes it easier for the opponents.

Stripling has been a great right-handed starter during his Major-League career. This spring he looked marvelous with a newly improved slider. Stripling was an All-Star in 2018. Although Stripling has been an outstanding pitcher in first halves during his Major-League career, he struggled in the second halves. Typically, an injury affected his pitching after July.

The 60-game season favors Stripling. He has worked to build his endurance, but he has not succeeded well in this. Stripling as a starter will have an excellent impact on his team.

When Stripling joins the Dodger starting rotation, it weakens the bullpen. Stripling has been an expert long man in Dodger bullpen when he has not been a starter. This year the teams will need long men in their bullpens more than normal. Many baseball-knowledgeable people believe pitchers will suffer more injuries than they do typically. When a starter either suffers an injury or has a poor outing, his team needs a marvelous long man to save its bullpen from being worn out.

Typically, losing a starter for the entire season for any reason can mean disaster for any team. Nevertheless, losing Price should not affect the Dodgers much. Yes, having Stripling in their bullpen as an experienced long man would have been an asset. The Dodgers have three candidates for the long man role.

Acquiring Jimmy Nelson from the Milwaukee Brewers as a non-tendered free agent added the Dodger pitching depth. During spring training, Nelson could not pitch because of an array of lower-body injuries. With three months passed, it can be assumed Nelson has healed from his injuries. Nelson’s ability to throw blazing fastballs is an asset. His velocity enables him to strike out many opponents.

The Dodgers have two promising rookies, Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin. Both pitchers experienced Major-League success in 2019. Their fastballs near 100 miles-per-hour and they know how to change speeds well. Unlike most rookie pitchers, May and Gonsolin’s breaking balls can baffle the opposition. These young pitchers need to gain confidence in their abilities.

Although May had a strained oblique during spring training, he should be healed. Both May and Gonsolin need more Major-League experience before becoming Major-League starters in 2021. A 60-game season allows May and Gonsolin to prove their worth to the Dodger organization.

Price’s decision to opt-out in 2020 should be admired. His concern for his family should be applauded. Price has had a World Series ring. The Dodgers have plenty of pitchers to dominate the Western Division.

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