The Los Angeles Dodgers would appear to have a pretty good team on paper heading into the 2012 offseason. Theyâ€™ve got their outfield locked up with Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford and Matt Kemp â€“ all of whom should be healthy by spring training â€“ and the infield looks to be in good shape. If there is one area where the Dodgers might want to put some focus, itâ€™s in their pitching rotation.
While they do have an ace in Clayton Kershaw, who has led the National League in ERA for each of the last two seasons, they might want to supplement him with a little help. Veterans Josh Beckett, Ted Lilly, Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang will be back but the concern right now is for Chad Billingsley. Billingsley has partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and received two platelet-rich plasma injections in September. He began a throwing regiment and will gradually increase the intensity but he still might need Tommy John Surgery. If thatâ€™s the case, heâ€™ll be out for all of 2013, which would put a lot of pressure on Kershaw to carry the load.
Some other options are available in free agency, such as Zack Greinke, Dan Haren and Jake Peavy. While Greinke would be the ideal choice, he will also be the most costly. Since the Dodgers already have a top-of-the-line starter, a really good No. 2 like Haren or Peavy will do.
The question is if the Dodgers plan to spend in the offseason and whether they want to spend on pitching. Itâ€™s conceivable that if Billingsley is healthy, they wonâ€™t need any more arms but if heâ€™s out, heâ€™ll leave a huge void behind.
MLB odds makers are likely to make the Dodgers among the National League favorites next season but a boost to their starting pitching will surely help their cause.