On Tuesday, it was reported that Clayton Kershaw will be re-signing with the Dodgers for his 17th season in Major League Baseball. All 17 of those seasons have come with the Dodgers, but his 17th season will be unlike anything he’s done in his first 16.
For starters, Kershaw will be opening the 2024 season on the 60-day injured list as he recovers from surgery on his glenohumeral ligaments in his shoulder. In his initial announcement in November, he said he was “hopeful to return to play at some point next summer.”
While it’s impossible to predict when Kershaw will be able to return to the mound, it sounds like he won’t be back until after the All-Star break at the earliest.
So, the Dodgers won’t have to worry about an embarrassment of pitchers until the second half of the season. When Kershaw returns, though, things will get a bit crowded.
Barring an injury — and it’s almost impossible to say the Dodgers will go through the entire 2024 season without an injury to a starting pitcher — the Dodgers will have seven viable starting pitchers when Kershaw is able to return to play: Kershaw, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Tyler Glasnow, Walker Buehler, Bobby Miller, James Paxton and Emmet Sheehan.
If all are healthy, expect the first six to make up the L.A. rotation, with Sheehan going back to the bullpen in a hybrid role. That would make the Dodgers’ rotation look something like this:
Yoshinobu YamamotoTyler GlasnowWalker BuehlerClayton KershawBobby MillerJames Paxton
However, the Dodgers front office made sure to build a rotation that was not only dominant, but had plenty of depth in case of injuries — and they needed to.
Yamamoto has never pitched in MLB, and is used to pitching once a week in Japan. Glasnow is coming off a season in which he threw career-highs in starts (21) and innings pitched (120). Buehler is coming off his second Tommy John surgery, and won’t be ready for the start of the season. Miller only has one MLB season under his belt, where he made 22 starts and threw 124.1 innings. And Paxton missed all of 2022 and made just 19 starts in 2023.
So, the Dodgers will be hoping for healthy seasons from many of their starters in 2024, but they’re also prepared with tons of depth.
While Sheehan is the first pitcher who will get starter opportunities, the Dodgers also have Michael Grove, Gavin Stone and Ryan Yarbrough able to fill in. Kyle Hurt made 16 starts in the minor leagues last season, too.
Then, from players who are yet to make their MLB debut, the Dodgers have tons of options, headlined by top prospects Landon Knack and River Ryan.
Suffice to say, the Dodgers have more than enough starting pitching depth for the 2024 season. Kershaw won’t be in a rush to return to action — but the Dodgers will have a spot for him whenever he’s ready.
Photo Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports