The Los Angeles Dodgers are loaded with starting pitchers, most of them left handed. In order to balance out some things and obviously clear some space, Alex Wood might be turned into a relief pitcher, as someone has to be sent to the bullpen.
Clayton Kershaw, Scott Kazmir, Brett Anderson, Kenta Maeda, Hyun-Jin Ryu. It’s getting pretty crowded there, and Wood, who didn’t do too well in his 12 starts with the Dodgers last season (5-6 in 70.1 innings, posting a 4.35 ERA) after getting traded there from the Atlanta Braves, just might be the one who makes way for the new arrivals, Kazmir and Maeda. He did quite poorly in his one appearance as a reliever in the playoffs too.
So why Wood? It’s not just the numbers. He was effective, nothing more, for the Dodgers in his few months last season. Considering the others ability and his own, it might be best suited for him to get less innings to show what he has. Ryu, recovering from shoulder surgery on his left labrum has spoken to the media in South Korea and said he fully expected to be part of the Dodgers rotation by the time the season begins. He was their number 3 guy last season, so unless there’s something holding back his return to the field, it’s Wood who is going to pay with playing time.
The 25-year old was a 2012 draft pick by the Atlanta Braves and made his debut in 2013. In three years he has 67 starts and 98 games, going 26-26, posting a 3.30 ERA and a 1.267 WHIP, while striking out 7.9 per nine innings. However, in terms of power and control, he seemed to have a decline or regression last season, which might mean there’s more work to be done about his throwing. Maybe the Dodgers can get a quality starter out of him at some point (or some other team), but right now he’s the expendable one in the rotation.