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Future Dodger Ace – Where Will He Come From?

Badger made a point…”Replacing an ace is no easy thing. But it needs to be addressed.”  I agree that it needs to be addressed, but I am not sure how everyone defines Ace. For me, he needs to be at the elite level for more than one year. Rick Porcello won a CY but he was never an Ace. Walker Buehler was/is an Ace. I think Julio Urías is approaching that status, but he is one year away from FA, and with Boras as his agent, there will be no extensions discussed.

They also need to be elite for an entire year and not be limited to 100 – 120 IP.  Clayton Kershaw used to be an Ace, and still is elite, but not at the Ace level because he cannot go 180+ IP.

Tony Gonsolin needs to do it more than 2022.  If he can continue thru 2023 and into 2024, he could be an Ace.  Dustin May’s stuff is elite, but neither his command nor control are near the Ace level right now.  Maybe with a full winter of rehab and strengthening he will get to the top of the rotation status.

Bobby Miller?  He has not dominated at any level.  Just like May, his “stuff” may be elite, but his command is not close to being elite.

Ryan Pepiot and Gavin Stone have at least dominated at the AA and AAA level.  But most scouting evaluations still consider them huge reliever risk, although those risks seem to be diminishing.  Pepiot’s change dominated at MiLB but is not fooling enough MLB hitters.  Pepiot’s best game as a ML pitcher did come in relief of Michael Grove.  Maybe Pepiot is another Tommy Kahnle?

Michael Grove?  He showed that he can get ML hitters out, but he is probably more like Mitch White and Ross Stripling than Zac Gallen.

Andre Jackson?  If there were a picture in Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of a long middle reliever it would be Andre Jackson.  For me, that is not a negative.  Every team needs one.  Somebody needs to fill David Price’s role next year.  Jackson seems a prime candidate.

The Dodgers are loaded with 3-4-5 rotation level pitchers, but are devoid of sure thing top of the rotation pitching candidates after Julio Urias.  There are multiples knocking on the door.

For 2023, the rotation should include (ages are 2023 baseball ages – age on June 30, 2023):

  • LHP Julio Urías – (26) – FA 2024
  • RHP Tony Gonsolin – (29) – FA 2027
  • RHP Dustin May – (25) – FA 2026

If Clayton Kershaw wants another year, he needs to get it. Limit his innings again to 100 – 125.  While I do like Tyler Anderson for a new deal, at some point the organization has to **** or get off the pot with some of their MiLB prospects.  Are Pepiot, Grove, Stone ready for the rotation consideration in 2023?

  • LHP Clayton Kershaw – (35) – Current FA
  • LHP Tyler Anderson (33) – Current FA
  • RHP Ryan Pepiot (25)
  • RHP Michael Grove (26)
  • RHP Gavin Stone (24)
  • RHP Bobby Miller (24)
  • RHP Andre Jackson (27)

Once again, that is a deep group.  But elite?  I do not see an Ace in this group.  Good pitchers? Absolutely!

What FA pitchers might be considered an Ace?

  • Jacob deGrom (35) – I agree with STB. He will negotiate with multiple teams (probably including the Dodgers) and get as much as he can, but he will stay with NYM.


  • Justin Verlander (40) – He is more likely to be available for LAD, but at 40, are you comfortable with a Max Scherzer level contract?  Scherzer is 17 months younger than Verlander.

The best of the other FA SP:

Is there a pitcher in that group that you would block any of the Dodger prospect pitchers for 3-5 years?  Rodón figures to be the most sought after and probably the most expensive.  He would be a top of the rotation pitcher, but I am not sure that any of the others would be anything more than mid to back of the rotation types.  I think AF will seek out another Andrew Heaney type pitcher before signing any of those not named Carlos Rodón.  I am not convinced that AF/BG would even consider Rodón.  Although I do like Bassitt on a 2 year plus option deal.

Free agency is not the only way to acquire a Top of the Rotation pitcher.  A team can trade for one.  Of course both teams need to want to make a trade.  Almost never will a contender trade a top of the rotation pitcher pre-season.  At the deadline maybe if the contender status has been eliminated.  I have not yet had enough time to look at all of the top pitchers and their clubs to see if there are potential trades AF/BG might consider.

However, two come to mind…RHP Shane Bieber (Cleveland) and RHP Pablo Lopez (Miami).  While no trade was obviously consummated, both pitchers are considered available at the right price.

Shane Bieber (28) is arbitration eligible and considered to be in the $12MM range.  Pablo Lopez (27) is also arbitration eligible.  Both have two years of arbitration and will become FA after the 2024 season.

Both pitchers would require some top prospect pitching (and others) in return.  Both Bieber and Lopez could slot in nicely behind Urías.

Of course the best way to acquire a future Ace is to draft one or sign one from the International Free Agent Market.  But teams drafting every year where the Dodgers do, are not primed to draft top of the rotation pitchers.  Maybe one will drop to them like Walker Buehler did.

I figure the trade is the best choice for the Dodgers.  They have an abundance of players who are “Major League Ready”.  The Dodgers cannot utilize all of them, so it seems logical and practical to package some to go get the elite players.

MiLB Game Summary

Salt Lake Bees (LAA) 2 vs OKC Dodgers 3

The Dodgers jumped out to a 3-1 lead after 4, and then held on for their 3rd consecutive victory over the Bees to end their season.  They finished the season 84-66, and 1.5 games behind El Paso Chihuahuas.  Unfortunately OKC was 2-4 last week against El Paso to get eliminated.

Jon Duplantier started for OKC and went 4.0 innings allowing a HR for the sole run he did allow.  He gave up 2 hits and 4 walks to go with 8 Ks.  4 relievers followed with Beau Burrows replacing Duplantier and throwing 2.0 perfect innings with 3 Ks to get the win.  Mark Washington pitched 1.0 inning and got pushed around a bit allowing 3 hits and 1 run.  Aaron Ochsenbein and Nick Robertson pitched the final 2.0 perfect innings, with Robertson getting his 2nd OKC save.

The big offense was supplied by James Outman who went 3-4 with a double (14).  Omar Estévez finished the season strong going 5-12 with a HR over the last 4 games.  Michael Busch had one hit, but it was his 21st Big Fly for OKC, 32 overall for the season.


Box Score





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Stone looks like he could be a future ace to me with his control and consistency. Not the overpowering type, but more a craftsman like Maddux or Greinke.


I don’t see any aces in our organization. I see a few potential #2’s. You can read that two ways. I believe a real ace will likely come through trade. I like your choices. There are probably others

5 for 35 with 13 Ks. An offensive sluggernaught!

Sam Oyed

Offensive for sure.


Koufax was an Ace at 93 mph and maybe a #4 at 97 mph. Some pitchers never tame the tiger but Ace has to have a tiger within.

Let’s never forget Pedro Martinez or history will repeat itself. I’m talking Stone here.

We are a year away from having a hole at 3rd and we already have a hole in LF and CF and soon at SS. I don’t know if I would trade for an Ace before I filled those 4 position player spots. That said, I like Bieber.


Bieber’s ok I guess. Kinda out in the sticks. Quite red neck conservative. I like Burney Falls better. One of the first vacation trips I took my new wife included Burney and Burney Falls.

Koufax and Drysdale were both aces. Took the ball every 4th day and finished what they started. No ace does that today.

Last edited 1 year ago by Badger

You see, Beiber is a small town in Northern California, and… never mind.

Fred Vogel

Maybe instead of one stud ace, the team should put together a six man back-up group and call themselves The Acettes.


Julio and the Acettes.

I think you’re on to something Fred.


A friend in Sedona sent me this:

The Dodgers won their franchise-record 107th game on Wednesday, putting a bow on one of the greatest regular seasons in MLB history, Axios’ Jeff Tracy writes.
By the numbers: With seven games left, they have a chance to become just the seventh team to win 110 games in a season.

  • Their +322 run differential is the sixth-best since 1900 and the best since the 1939 Yankees. It’s also nearly 100 better than second place (Yankees, +235).
  • Their 494 runs allowed put them just about on pace to allow the fewest of any team this century (2015 Cardinals, 525).
  • Fans have contributed, too: Their average attendance of 47,687 trails only 2019 (49,065) for the most in franchise history, and is 17% higher than second place this season (Cardinals, 40,775).

Between the lines: The Dodgers’ payroll ranks second behind only the Mets, but money alone can’t buy this many wins. It’s the depth beyond their stars that once again is driving their success.

  • Unheralded guys like Trayce Thompson (Klay’s little brother) and Tyler Anderson have stepped in for the struggling Cody Bellinger and injured Walker Buehler.
  • Injuries could have sunk them — they’ve lost the fourth-most days to the IL among all teams — but instead they’ve battled to a historic end.

The big picture: The Dodgers’ 2022 season is an all-timer in a vacuum, but is even more impressive when you look at the 10-year run it’s capping off.

  • The only time since 2013 they failed to win the division was last year — when they won 106 games.
  • They’re the only team in MLB history to win 106+ games in three straight full seasons. In the non-full season, all they did was win the World Series.
  • Their 927 wins since 2013 are 72 more than second place (Yankees, 855), roughly the same as the difference between the Yankees and the ninth-place Cubs (784).

The bottom line: The Dodgers are very good at baseball — so good that one might be tempted to say there’s something in the water in Southern California. Then again, the Angels exist.

Last edited 1 year ago by Badger

It’s just a wonderful time to be a Dodger fan!

dont sweat the ‘ace’ thing, the team has shown repeatedly they can acquire top of rotation talent through a myriad of ways.


Good point. I figure Friedman knows the best way to stack the front end of the rotation. It will get done.

Singing the Blue

I’d be happy to add Bieber or Lopez to the staff (assuming the price was within reason) but I don’t consider either of them a real Ace.

I’ve been going back and forth with Badger regarding my views on Gallo and I haven’t changed my mind. I would like to put Joey and Craig (Kimbrel) on a bus and send them off on a nice vacation before the playoffs. I don’t want either of them anywhere near a Dodger post season roster spot.

Dodger management seems to indicate they were thinking of using Gallo and Trayce as a left field platoon. Problem is that neither of them is hitting left handed pitching. B&P brought up the idea of subbing Pillar for Gallo over at LADT today and I think that idea has some merit. Pillar’s career numbers against southpaws are good, he’s no slouch on defense and he plays with an intensity that I think would be a great addition to the Dodger clubhouse.

I’m not going to kid myself into thinking that Vargas has any chance of being on a playoff roster, since they haven’t given him any at bats to prepare for that, so my vote goes to Pillar. Rios would have been another possibility but 3B and DH seem to be taken by others at this point. Outman simply has too little experience for AF to even consider him.


I’ll buy Gallo’s ticket out of town but I’m holding it til after the Colorado series.

Vargas, Outman, Pillar on the post season roster? Don’t really see it. Gallo or Outman? I don’t know. Gallo is so yesterday and Outman is so tomorrow. Is Pillar even ready?

The last roster spots may already have been decided but I wait to see who might light it up in the next 6 games. I prefer Gallo. He’s done it before.


The whole team sucked offensively last night. But that was last night.

There are a lot of at bats left in this season for that guy who will be off the bench come October. I think of that big at bat with ducks on the pond and who do I want up there? I still want Gallo.


Hill LOVES pitching in Boston. It’s near his family.

With that said, given with the almost unmanageable backlog of starters currently styming the Dodgers (this is why Stripling and White were traded, right?) I don’t see why Hill could be brought to town.

Singing the Blue

I was thinking along the same lines as Bluto.
I would imagine that Hill would prefer to start if given his choice and even though the Dodgers have a lot of questions, they have so many solutions to those possibilities that I’d imagine Hill would prefer to sign somewhere where his odds of being a starter all year are greater.

Fred Vogel

Interesting article in The Athletic today by Peter Gammons exploring how the Astros have creatively constructed their pitching staff, which is considered, along with the Dodgers, to be one of the best in baseball.

Last edited 1 year ago by Fred Vogel

That is a great article. THere’s also been conversation about how the Astros are one of the few (VERY few) teams who have been able to develop Latin America pitchers into starters not relievers.

THey’re a good org. Even if they cheated.

Singing the Blue

The guys who are responsible for developing those Latin American pitchers had nothing to do with the cheating, so they deserve all the credit they are due. Maybe AF should pick off a couple of them since L.A. is a much nicer home base than Houston (with apologies to any of you who might live in Houston).

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