Dodgers Adding Three Starters To Bullpen Could Be An Effective Strategy

Photo Credit: Los Angeles Times 

It was announced on Tuesday that the Dodgers will go with three known starting pitchers into now their bullpen. This could help provide depth within their pitching and provide them with unique looks.

The Dodgers announced that Tony Gonsolin, David Price, and Jimmy Nelson will all start the roster in the bullpen. Based on how the Dodgers have been already playing them, it makes sense for the team to roll them out of the bullpen thanks to the current depth they have in the starting rotation. While things could easily change based on how their starters hold up throughout the season, this could be the way things shake out throughout the regular season.

Tony Gonsolin made three appearances out of the bullpen this spring for the Dodgers as a reliever. In those three appearances, he went 6 innings while only giving up one hit and striking out 7 for an sufficient Spring Training while coming out of the bullpen. During the short 2020 regular season, Gonsolin had a 2.31 ERA with 46 strikeouts, he also held opponents to a .193 batting average as he made 8 starts. He was mostly used as the swing man in the rotation last season, as he made spot starts for the Dodgers in the past, but earned a spot in the rotation in 2020.

David Price is an interesting case to make the bullpen as he’s being paid about $32 million to be a long inning reliever (only $16 million being paid by Dodgers). It always did look like Price was to be the odd man out in the rotation, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be effective in his new role and as a mentor. He only made two appearances out of the bullpen this spring, as he went 4 innings while only giving up 1 hit. Earlier in the month, Price spoke to the media in regards to possibly starting the season in the bullpen “I told them, whatever they need me to do, whatever makes the 2021 Dodgers better- I’m all for it.” Price didn’t pitch last season due to concerns of the pandemic, but did support minor league baseball players within the Dodgers system by donating $1,000 to each player.

Last but certainly not least is Jimmy Nelson, who impressed both in the bullpen and as a starter in the spring. He made one more appearance as a reliever than a starter as he pitched in 3 games while giving up 4 hits with no runs and getting 7 strikeouts. Nelson wasn’t able to pitch in 2020 due to back surgery, but signed back with the Dodgers under a minor league deal, now he’s on the Opening Day roster. Despite an already loaded depth in starting pitching, Nelson still wanted to come back to the Dodgers as he stated in an interview “These guys gave me an opportunity last year, but I definitely felt like this is the right place to be to help me stay healthy and develop.”

Jacob Cisneros is a writer for Dodgers-LowDown. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram @_JacobCisneros.