LOS ANGELES, CA — The Dodgers recently signed James Paxton to a one-year, $11 million contract with two million dollars in incentives. This guy was 38-17 from 2017-2019, then missed all or parts of 2020-2022 after undergoing Tommy John surgery following the 2021 season. He was 7-5 with Boston last year and will add more depth to the Dodger rotation. Nothing like a veteran lefty. He could be a sleeper this year in this newly revamped rotation. Hopefully, for L.A., he will have a soporific effect on hitters that will lull them to sleep for five or six innings. Remember this: pitchers are not allowed to pitch more than six innings in the major leagues. It is part of the rules handed down by the nerds running baseball.
Paxton will be one of the pieces in this puzzle the Dodgers are working on for this season. They don’t know when Walker Buehler will return this season after his Tommy John surgery. They think Dustin May will be out until the second half of the 2024 campaign after his Tommy John surgery. Tony Gonsolin is a question mark after his Tommy John surgery ended the season for him last year, and he is likely to miss most, if not all, of the 2024 season. Clayton Kershaw is looking at a possible return in late August, yet he still has to decide whether or not to re-sign for this year or retire.
By the way, since the beginning of the pitch count and innings limitations era began in baseball, it seems like the only ones who have not had Tommy John surgery have been the ushers at the ballpark!
I have watched baseball for the better part of 70 years, and I know it is not how many pitches or innings a pitcher throws that will damage his arm as much as what and how he throws a ball. Trying to throw 100 mph from the first inning and the number of breaking balls thrown will put more stress on an arm than throwing 100-120 pitches in a game. There was a time when a pitcher would throw under 100 pitches in a complete game for the win, and people would praise him for that.
Look up David Cone’s perfect game from Sunday, July 18, 1999, where he threw only 88 pitches, 68 for strikes with ten strikeouts because he knew how to pitch by pacing himself and by changing speeds instead of trying to blow 97 mph pitches past hitters.
— New York Sports Games (@NYSportsGames12) July 16, 2021
The only way we will know if this revamped starting rotation can get the Dodgers to the promised land of a world championship is to watch how it plays out. There are the possibilities of injuries again to Paxton and Tyler Glasnow, and we still don’t know how effective Yoshinobu Yamamoto will be in a five-man rotation. So, as they say in Rome, “Let The Games Begin.”
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