After weeks of speculation, the Los Angeles Dodgers managed to pull off their second shocker of the offseason, landing Japanese ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto on a whopping 12-year, $325 million-plus deal. From pretty much the moment the dust settled on the Shohei Ohtani signing, all eyes in L.A. turned to Yamamoto — the top pitcher on the market (non-Ohtani division) and exactly the kind of ace the team needed given the injury-ravaged state of its starting rotation.
But now that Yamamoto is officially headed west, just how does this Dodgers rotation stack up? Have last year’s problems been solved, or is there more work to be done? Let’s take a look at where things stand, and where Andrew Friedman and Co. might still be looking to add.
Dodgers projected rotation after Yoshinobu Yamamoto signing
A lot can still change between now and Opening Day, but here’s how the Dodgers’ top five currently lines up.
1. Tyler Glasnow
2. Walker Buehler
3. Bobby Miller
4. Emmet Sheehan
5. Ryan Yarbrough
Slotting Yamamoto’s name in there makes such a huge difference. Trading for Glasnow last week raised the Dodgers’ pitching ceiling considerably, but it added yet more durability concerns — while shipping out another arm in Ryan Pepiot who was expected to play a key role in 2024. Los Angeles needed some certainty, and Yamamoto provides as much of that as a player who’s yet to throw a pitch in the Majors possibly can. His addition also puts less pressure on Miller, Sheehan and Buehler (who hasn’t pitched since early 2022 after undergoing Tommy John surgery), allowing them to each bump down a rung on the rotational ladder and feel less pressure to be the team’s workhorse. It also gives the team more flexibility and depth, two very important things given how much injury risk and innings limits they’ll be trying to manage next season.
Still, another arm or two would do a world of good. Buehler is coming off major surgery, Glasnow has a litany of health issues in his recent past and Miller and Sheehan have yet to hold up for 150-inning workload. If the Dodgers want to get everyone to October in one piece, they’re going to need more options. Assuming that someone like Lucas Giolito is now out of the team’s price range, one name in particular sticks out: old friend Hyun-Jin Ryu, who came back from surgery of his own to pitch pretty well for the Jays down the stretch last season. His Cy Young candidate days are pretty squarely behind him, but he’s a great fit for Dodger Stadium and he can give the team 100 or so average to above average innings during the regular season — just what the doctor ordered. Ryu or not, expect Friedman to keep working the phones.