With the Dodgers 5th starter vacancy looking like it’s going to be filled from within, a lot of candidates are popping up for the job. Some top prospects like James McDonald, Scott Elbert and Josh Lindblom along with some journeymen veterans like Charlie Haeger and Russ Ortiz. Although it is more than likely that a few of these pitchers will be given a chance, only one of them will be the 5th starter when the Dodgers travel to Florida during the second series of the year. This is where things may get interesting for Eric Stults.
Eric Stults has been with the Dodgers organization since the 2002 draft. During that time, he’s been an occasional spot starter along with being used out of the bullpen in rare circumstances. Even though he probably doesn’t have the talent to be a staple point in the rotation, he’s been consistently solid for the Dodgers for quite some time. He’s pitched in parts of the last four seasons, and surprisingly enough, is the only current Dodger to pitch a complete game shutout in back to back seasons. Stults’ situation gets difficult this season, being as how he’s out of options.
Even though he’s obviously not in high demand by rest of the teams in the league, odds are if the Dodgers try to option him down this season, another team will give him a shot. This is where the Dodgers have to make a decision. Are they finally going to give Stults a consistent chance at the 5th spot, or are they willing to let him go to another team without compensation. In a dream world, Stults would pitch brilliantly in spring training and win the job, but chances are Stults will have a new team before the end of the season.