When David Price broke the unfortunate news earlier this month that he would be opting out of the 2020 season to protect the health of his family and himself, many wondered which Dodger would step up to take his place.
We had recently broken down the most likely options the Dodgers had to replace the presence of Price with Dustin May, Ross Stripling, and Tony Gonsolin leading the pack. However, word got out today that the Dodgers have optioned Tony Gonsolin to the team’s alternate camp due to him being behind everyone else in terms of his buildup for the season. While we will certainly see the Cat Man at some point this season, the move takes him out of the running for the fifth rotation spot leaving May and Stripling.
While there has been no official announcement as of yet, all signs seem to point toward Ross Stripling starting the season in the rotation along with Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Julio Urías, and Alex Wood. He threw a simulated game earlier today and with Walker Buehler slated to throw to Dodger hitters on Wednesday, Stripling could slide right in behind Kershaw and face the San Francisco Giants on Friday, July 24.
Ross Stripling will throw a simulated game today.
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) July 18, 2020
Based on this, the #Dodgers' rotation will probably go Kershaw, Stripling, Urías/Wood, Urías/Wood, Buehler the first time around.
— Jorge Castillo (@jorgecastillo) July 18, 2020
While May is very talented in his own right and offers a higher upside than Strip, Ross has certainly paid his dues for the Dodgers since his debut in 2016. The Dodgers may also seem set to pair Buehler and May together with the latter piggybacking until the former can build up his pitch count while still contributing in a shortened season.
#Dodgers Walker Buehler faced 7 batters in his two "innings," retired them all (2 K). Dustin May now — a "piggyback" pairing you might see early in the season as Buehler builds up.
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) July 18, 2020
If that is a decision that Dave Roberts goes with then that leaves Ross as the last man standing. He’s been working on developing his slider as well as a changeup that looked absolutely filthy in his last intrasquad appearance on July 12. With four quality pitches to work with, Ross is well equipped to handle a rotation spot for the Dodgers and is well-deserving of it. He owns a career 3.51 ERA/3.60 FIP along with a 1.196 WHIP and 8.8 strikeouts per nine across four seasons with the Dodgers. If Strip can tap into what made him an All-Star in 2018, the Dodgers could have one of the best rotations in all of baseball yet again.