Rick Honeycutt ducked his head underneath the canopy of a golf cart, searching for protection from the sun. He had just spent two hours on the backfields at Camelback Ranch, surveying the surplus of arms the
Honeycutt stood watch behind a pack of mounds as veterans like
The assemblage of talent has yet to become a cohesive unit, but the organization hopes the group can blunt the departure of
"It's a very solid approach that we're taking," Honeycutt said. "You just cannot have enough pitching. It's great to see our organization having youth that's right on the verge of making that jump, and also bringing in some veteran presence. ... The abundance of quality that we have here is extremely pleasant to be around."
Saturday marked the first official workout for the team's pitchers and catchers. The full squad reports Wednesday and convenes as one Thursday. Thus begins the gradual march to the regular season, where the Dodgers intend to win their fourth consecutive division title and erase their recent history of postseason futility.
"We've got a very good idea of where we're going to go, and how it's going to shake out," Roberts said. "But competition is always a good thing. With six weeks, there's a lot of things that can happen."
The most likely competition would occur for the fifth spot in the rotation if Ryu cannot answer the bell when the season starts. If Ryu is not ready the team could turn to Alex Wood. He joined the Dodgers as part of a complex three-team trade with Atlanta and Miami. Wood showed signs of stardom with the
In part, Honeycutt explained, Wood was dogged by a lingering ankle injury that occurred while still with Atlanta. He felt discomfort when he landed in his delivery. Wood declined to put the blame upon his body, but Honeycutt felt he was compromised by the condition.
"There were things that I would be asking him, and he would say 'Well, I just can't. I'm having trouble with that,' " Honeycutt said. "He's a tough young man who wanted to take the ball. I don't want to over-evaluate, but that's a pretty important part of your delivery."
The Dodgers used 16 starters in 2015, more than any other team. The group still ranked second in the majors with a 3.24 ERA and finished sixth in innings pitched.
A sizable portion of that production stemmed from Kershaw (2.13 ERA) and Greinke (1.66 ERA). They provided 455 1/3 of those 978 1/3 innings.
The rotation managed those numbers after Ryu injured his shoulder and Brandon McCarthy underwent elbow ligament-replacement surgery. With Kazmir and Maeda in the fold, reserves like Wood and Mike Bolsinger on the ready and prospects like Urias and De Leon on the rise, Honeycutt had reason to smile.
But will it be enough to make up for Greinke's absence?
"Well," Honeycutt said, chuckling as he spoke. "We'll see."