Three weeks ago, David Price revealed that he told Dodgers manager Dave Roberts he was willing to pitch in relief if it was what’s best for the team.
Roberts is taking him up on his offer.
The skipper for the defending World Series champs announced Monday that the club’s fifth starter to begin the season will be Dustin May. Not Price and not Tony Gonsolin, both of whom will be headed to the bullpen.
May and Gonsolin pitched perhaps more for the Dodgers last season than they would have otherwise after Price opted out. Both young right-handers were excellent, with May posting a 2.57 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 44/16 K/BB ratio over 56 innings and Gonsolin holding a 2.31 ERA, 0.84 WHIP and 46/7 K/BB ratio across 46 2/3 frames. They’ve also been great this spring.
Price and Gonsolin will be used as “leverage” relievers for multiple innings, per Roberts.
“It’s a threading of the needle,” Roberts said. “They’re all major league starters. So to make sure these guys stay built up is important not only for them but for the 2021 Dodgers. Still appreciating game situations, hitting for a pitcher, there are going to be times where I expect David or Tony to take an AB and take down a couple more innings if the game situation makes sense. But yeah, having those guys built up and not just being one-inning relievers is important.”
It’s possible it might not wind up mattering who Roberts has selected as the club’s No. 5 starter at the outset of the season. May, Price and Gonsolin are all going to start plenty of games in 2021 in a year in which Roberts says he’ll have to use “pitching gymnastics” to get through it. You could argue that Roberts has already employed “gymnastics” with his pitching staff in past years. Now it will be amplified following last year’s shortened season.
As far as fantasy goes, yes, it makes sense to vault May ahead of Price and Gonsolin if he wasn’t already there. The one criticism of the 23-year-old is that he doesn’t miss enough bats. That should come in time, though. The stuff is too good.
I also wouldn’t drop Price or Gonsolin unless you’re in a shallow league. Their times in the rotation will come, and they could offer a little value in relief, too.
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About seven weeks after they traded Andrus to the Athletics, the Rangers announced Monday that they would be designating Odor for assignment. The veteran infielder is under contract through 2022 for just under $28 million, but the team has elected to take that hit. Texas will not ask Odor to accept a minor league assignment.
Odor, of course, was already being phased out of the Rangers’ plans, just as Andrus was already being phased out before he was traded. The club is turning second base over to Nick Solak, which left Odor competing for playing time at third base. Ultimately, though, the Rangers just decided it was best for all parties to move on. Odor batted just .167/.209/.413 last season and has hit only .215/.279/.418 since 2017.
“All these decisions are challenging, in particular, with somebody like [Odor], who has been with the organization since he was 16 years old,” president of baseball operations Jon Daniels said. “We didn't think it was in his best interest or our best interest to kind of force the issue into a bench role. So we made the decision to make the move now. A ton of respect for him as a man, first and foremost, as a person, as a teammate. He was never an issue. We want to make that very clear. This is a baseball decision.”
The Rangers don’t exactly have a great backup plan in place for third base with Odor out of the way. They appear set to go with a platoon of career utility players Brock Holt and Charlie Culberson at the hot corner. Sherten Apostel and Andy Ibáñez could also be thrown into the mix at some point.
Eventually, the third base job will belong to top prospect Josh Jung. That will probably happen at some point in 2021, although Jung is currently recovering from surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left foot. Jung was regarded as a quick-mover when the Rangers took him at No. 8 overall in the 2019 Draft, but he hasn’t played above A-ball and won’t be game-ready until at least May.
As for Odor, he should get a shot somewhere now that he can be had at the veteran minimum. It’s hard to believe he just turned 27 last month, and while it would be foolish to expect growth at the plate from him at this point, for fantasy purposes he does offer power and some speed.
Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News tweeted that he “will not be surprised if Odor ends up in Baltimore.” It’s not clear whether Grant is hearing something or just offering some speculation, but it would make sense as a landing spot and figures to give Odor his best shot at salvaging any fantasy value.
American League Quick Hits: Shohei Ohtani had to leave Monday’s start against the Dodgers due to a blister on his right middle finger. He expects to make his next start. … Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports that a second opinion has confirmed that Eloy Jimenez needs surgery to repair a torn left pectoral muscle. Heyman says that Jimenez is expected to be out for 4-5 months, not 5-6 months as previously reported. … George Springer's (oblique) status for Opening Day remains up in the air after he underwent another MRI on Monday. … Matt Barnes was cleared to rejoin the Red Sox after it was determined that he had a "non-infectious positive for COVID-19". … Aaron Judge has missed time lately due to allergies but is expected to be fine for Opening Day. … Willy Adames homered in both of his at-bats Monday to lead the Rays to an win over the Orioles … Tanner Houck pitched shutout ball for 4 1/3 innings Monday against the Braves. … Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes that Yoshitomo Tsutsugo batting leadoff for the Rays this season "seems likely". … The Angels signed relievers Steve Cishek and Tony Watson to one-year deals Monday.
National League Quick Hits: Various reports say that the Mets’ contract extension offer to Francisco Lindor is for 10 years and $325 million. Lindor has countered at 12 years and $385 million. … According to Jordan McPherson of the Miami Herald, Sixto Sanchez will be optioned to the Marlins' alternate training site. He’s just getting stretched back out after being brought along slowly this spring following a false-positive COVID-19. … Sonny Gray (back) is planning to pitch a couple innings in the Reds' intrasquad game Wednesday. … Trent Grisham (hamstring) and Austin Nola (finger) will begin the season on the injured list … Luis Urias is expected to see most of the playing time at shortstop for the Brewers. … Logan Webb fired six innings of one-run ball in his final Cactus League start Monday versus the Athletics. … The Phillies re-assigned Odubel Herrera on Monday, leaving Adam Haseley and Roman Quinn to platoon in center field. … Mike Yastrzemski exited Monday’s game after being hit on the left hand by a pitch, but X-rays came back clean. … Adrian Houser fanned six over 5 2/3 scoreless innings in Monday's win over the Rangers. … Carlos Carrasco (hamstring) has begun a throwing program. … Robert Murray of FanSided has reported that the White Sox have signed Jake Lamb, pending a physical.