Predicting how the Dodgers pitching rotation will look in 2018

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 11: (L-R) Alex Wood (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 11: (L-R) Alex Wood (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

5. Kenta Maeda

Now, there were two options to fill this fifth spot in the Dodgers rotation. One is Kenta Maeda, who gets the nod and the other is Hyun-Jin Ryu. Although Maeda was fantastic in the bullpen for the Dodgers late in the season and in the playoffs, they brought him in as a starter.

Plus, Ryu is the easiest big league asset for the Dodgers to deal away in a trade for Giancarlo Stanton. He is a free agent after this year and can still provide the Marlins some quality innings in an otherwise thin pitching staff.

There are far too many arms in the bullpen anyways that the Dodgers do not need to make the permanent transition of Maeda as a reliever. Instead, the team can throw him in at the tail end of the rotation as a strong finish to the deepest pitching staff in baseball.

On most teams, Maeda would be a third pitcher. Heck, for some, he may even be the second pitcher in the rotation. On the deep Dodgers, he is the fifth best arm.

Yet this is the best role for Maeda if he does remain a starter. As we saw in his rookie season, Maeda ran out of gas down the stretch which in turn led to a slow start to 2017. However, once Maeda gets into his groove and his stuff starts to dance, he becomes an out machine for the Dodgers.