Dodgers News: Dustin May Named 5th Starter; David Price to Pitch out of Bullpen

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 30, 2021

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Dustin May (85) smiles after fielding a ball during a spring training baseball game against the Chicago Cubs Thursday, March 25, 2021, in Mesa, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
Ashley Landis/Associated Press

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts announced Monday that Dustin May has won the club's fifth-starter role over David Price to open the 2021 MLB season. 

May also beat out Jimmy Nelson for a spot in the Dodgers rotation. Both Price and Nelson will join Tony Gonsolin, another pitcher with starter experience, as part of the bullpen.

"It was easy, it was tough—just a lot of variables that I really just don't wanna get into," Roberts told reporters. "I just think that we feel good with David, Jimmy and Tony in the pen getting left, getting right out, taking down two, three, four innings. Potentially at some point, I expect those guys to even finish a game if it makes sense."

Price was acquired by L.A. last February as part of the blockbuster Mookie Betts trade, but he opted out of the 2020 season amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Dodgers went on to capture the World Series with a postseason rotation that included May and Gonsolin.

That didn't stop the front office from upgrading a staff led by Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler. They signed reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer to a three-year, $102 million contract and also brought in Nelson for depth.

It created a logjam to fill the five rotation spots, with Julio Urias also having earned one with a 1.17 ERA across 23 innings during last year's playoffs.

So the Dodgers will open the season with Kershaw, Bauer, Buehler, Urias and May in the rotation with the other fifth-starter candidates moving to the pen.

In early March, Price explained he reached out to president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman during the offseason to encourage the Bauer pursuit.

"Whatever makes the 2021 Dodgers better, I'm all for it," Price said.

Between a star-studded rotation with no shortage of replacement options should injuries arise and a powerful lineup led by Betts, Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger, the Dodgers are in prime position to make a serious run toward a championship repeat.

Los Angeles kicks off the regular season with a seven-game road trip beginning with Opening Day on Thursday against the Colorado Rockies.