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What the Dodgers’ rotation looks like after landing James Paxton

With the veteran lefty now headed to Los Angeles, we go over the Dodgers’ projected rotation as things stand entering 2024.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto of Team Japan poses during the 2023 WBC Workout Day Tokyo at Tokyo Dome on Wednesday, March 8, 2023 in Tokyo, Japan. Photo by Lucas Stevenson/WBCI/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The Los Angeles Dodgers’ offseason spending spree just keeps on rolling. Late Monday night, news broke that the team was in agreement on a one-year deal with veteran lefty James Paxton — their third significant starting pitching addition of the winter so far, following on the heels of Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Tyler Glasnow.

Of course, L.A. has been so aggressive in addressing its rotation because it had to be: With Clayton Kershaw still a free agent, Julio Urias’ career in limbo and Tony Gonsolin and Dustin May expected to miss most if not all of 2024, Andrew Friedman and Co. were essentially starting from square one. The Dodgers could still add more pieces between now and the start of spring training — Kershaw’s future is uncertain, but it’s hard to imagine him wearing any other uniform — but with Paxton now in the fold, let’s take a look at where things stand. Has Friedman done enough to shore up the team’s biggest weakness? How does this Dodgers rotation stack up with the rest of the league?

Dodgers projected rotation after James Paxton signing

A lot can still change between now and Opening Day, but here’s how the Dodgers’ starting staff currently lines up.

1. Yoshinobu Yamamoto
2. Tyler Glasnow
3. Bobby Miller
4. Walker Buehler
5. James Paxton
6. Emmet Sheehan
7. Ryan Yarbrough

When you lay it out like this, you start to get a sense of just how much Los Angeles needed to add one more arm to the mix. Before the Paxton signing, the team’s rotation was comprised of Yamamoto at the top followed by a series of question marks: Glasnow, who’s yet to throw more than 120 innings in a season and has a lengthy injury history; Buehler, who hasn’t pitched since early 2022 and is coming off Tommy John surgery; and youngsters like Miller and Sheehan, dripping with potential but who have never borne the brunt of a full MLB workload.

Paxton comes with his own risks — he hasn’t thrown more than 100 innings since 2019, and his 2023 season with the Red Sox was both delayed and then cut short by different injuries. But the Dodgers aren’t asking the 35-year-old to anchor their rotation. Heck, they probably aren’t even asking him to start a postseason game; they have Yamamoto, Glasnow, Miller and maybe even Buehler for that. What Paxton does is add some much-needed depth, the ability to add 90-100 quality innings to the mix that will help ensure that the major players get to October in one piece. Think of him as sort of an Alex Wood or Rich Hill type, pitchers who were significant parts of past Dodgers contenders despite flying relatively under the radar. Of course, the fact that Paxton comes with far higher upside than either of those guys — and, really, any other back-end option available on the free-agent market — is just an added bonus, and part of what makes this such good business for L.A.