Dodgers' 2012 rotation: Few thrills, but could have been worse
And that pretty much wraps up your 2012 Dodgers roster. All goose bumps, are you?
Word that the Dodgers are about to sign right-hander Aaron Harang would lock up their projected rotation, and pretty much close their offseason shop.
If the signing of Harang doesn’t exactly have the faithful reaching for confetti, neither should it leave them screaming into the night. He had a nice bounce-back season for the Padres in 2011 and is certainly a fine back-of-the-rotation starter. As was the recently signed Chris Capuano.
Trouble is, neither is a frontline starter, which essentially is what Hiroki Kuroda was, and now he’s officially cast adrift. After Clayton Kershaw, Kuroda was actually the Dodgers’ No. 2 starter last season.
Now the Dodgers 2012 rotation shapes up this way (with 2011 numbers):
W/L ERA WHIP SO/9
Clayton Kershaw 21-5 2.28 0.98 9.6
Chad Billingsley 11-11 4.21 1.45 7.3
Ted Lilly 12-14 3.97 1.16 7.4
Aaron Harang 14-7 3.64 1.36 6.5
Chris Capuano 11-12 4.55 1.35 8.1
As a unit, after Kershaw it doesn’t have much wow factor. The rest are of the capable variety, which is probably two too many of those for a team that wants to contend for a title.
Still, they figure to give the bankrupt Dodgers a chance to win most nights, which is better than where this could have been headed.
Of course, the latter three aren’t exactly kids, nor are they known for keeping the ball in the ballpark. Lilly turns 36 next month and gave up 28 homers last season in 192 2/3 innings. Capuano is 33 and surrendered 27 homers in 186 innings. And Harang turns 34 in May and gave up 20 homers in 170 2/3 innings.
Hope Matt Kemp is doing plenty of offseason sprints.
Harang led the National League in strikeouts back in 2006 and came back with 218 strikeouts the next year. But he suffered through three consecutive losing seasons with the Reds until turning things around last season as a fly-ball pitcher for the Padres in pitching-friendly Petco Park.
He was probably the Padres’ best starter last season, though they declined their half of a $5-million mutual option for 2012.
As a final piece, he leaves the Dodgers with a solid enough rotation, though unlikely to leave the Giants all envious. And with all that age, injury seems inevitable.
But with his payroll being cut up to $20 million from a year ago, General Manager Ned Colletti is in the make-do business. When you’re making do, goose bumps are not required.
— Steve Dilbeck