Nate Eovaldi May Be On His Way, Dodgers Pursued Roy Oswalt, So What’s The Rotation Problem?

Nate Eovaldi was pulled from yesterday’s start in AA, leading to speculation that he could be on his way to the Dodgers, but the surprising news is that the Dodgers were apparently in on Roy Oswalt.

Ted Lilly is still listed as the Dodgers’ Tuesday night starter, but there are increasing indications that will change.

In addition to the sudden audible of Double-A pitcher Nathan Eovaldi from a Saturday night start to a one-inning relief tuneup, the Dodgers reportedly were aggressively in talks with free-agent starting pitcher Roy Oswalt before apparently bowing out over his financial demands.

The Oswalt news is out of left field, as there were no indications previous to this that the Dodgers were involved in talks with him.

It’s odd news because such a pursuit would seem to indicate a long-term solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.

The timing of Eovaldi’s juggling seems to indicate he’s on standby to make a Tuesday start for the Dodgers. Manager Don Mattingly remained noncommittal when asked if Eovaldi’s Saturday appearance (he struck out all three batters he faced) could be a sign of an imminent roster move.

“I guess it could be,” he said.

Don Mattingly just gave a standard comment that he would say regardless of what the team is actually doing, but I think it’s pretty transparent that Eovaldi is on his way.

The question is: why?

My concern stems from the fact that nobody in the rotation actually deserves to be pulled. Clayton Kershaw (1.97), Chris Capuano (2.14), Chad Billingsley (3.88), Aaron Harang (4.36), and Ted Lilly (3.14) are all doing their jobs at the moment.

Now I wouldn’t be concerned about Eovaldi being called up to make a start or two if Lilly’s neck is hurting again or something of that nature, but the pursuit of Oswalt does bother me, because it infers a longer term issue and makes me wonder how serious a pitcher in the rotation may be hurt.

Another scenario is that perhaps there was/is a trade in the works, but basically everybody has been in the dark about that as well, which is relatively rare.

Should be interesting to see who’s on the mound on Tuesday.

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As a bonus, Mattingly shot down the suggestion that Billingsley would be replaced.

Mattingly did shoot down the suggestion that Eovaldi would move into Chad Billingsley’s spot in the rotation. Billingsley battled through five innings Saturday night, allowing two runs with three walks but also striking out eight. He was in position for his third win until the bullpen let an eighth-inning lead get away.

“Nate’s one inning has nothing to do with Bills,” Mattingly said. “We’ve got five guys in the rotation. I don’t know why we single out Bills so much.”

Mattingly went on to defend Billingsley for “continuing to work on things to be more consistent. Sometimes it’s easier said than done.

“I saw in the stats he’s one of three pitchers to win 10 games for so many years. Not a lot of guys can say that. It depends where you put the mark. Is he supposed to win 20 games every year? Is it 14, 12?”

Wins? Meh, but everything else is right.

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