While Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery are still waiting for their free agent paydays, two powerhouses in need of pitching started have taken different routes. The Dodgers splashed free agent money just for a pitcher who has never pitched in the Majors (Yoshinubu Yamamoto) and one who won’t be pitching until 2024 (Shohei Ohtani). However, they needed more than one starter for next year and took the same route as Atlanta by bypassing free agents and using trades.
The intentions of both teams become somewhat clearer when looking at how they fared last October. Thanks to Charlie Morton’s injury, Atlanta had a starting pitching deficit against the Phillies, especially as Max Fried had to start in the playoffs due to an injury and was not the same Fried he used to be. It was the same story in 2022 when Spencer Strider returned from an injury and then went on the injured list after a trip through the Citizens Bank Park.
As for the Dodgers, last year they entered the Divisional Round with basically an unseasoned Clayton Kershaw and a few guys they found at the airport who missed their flight and just kept staring at the board. They were pretty easily swept aside by a Diamondbacks team on a heater.
Both teams are insuring for this winter with pitchers they cannot possibly expect to carry a full load in the regular season, and they may not even ask them to. The Dodgers traded for Glasnow, Atlanta for Sale. The last three seasons, the two combined for 68 starts. Sale hasn’t pitched more than 150 innings in six years, and neither has Glasnow. They are not innings eaters and actually treat innings like anyone who has just taken Ipecac does.
Both Glasnow and Sale are likely to be seen making many four- and five-inning starts during the season, IL trips for sniffles, and six-man rotations used in the hotter months to keep them as close together as possible wrapped in bubble wrap that both teams can get. All these teams need to feel they’ve achieved the desired ROI is to see both of them throw a few five- or six-inning, nine-K starts a few times in the postseason. Anything before that is preamble or meaningless.
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