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Inbox: Will Urias have innings limit in 2019?

Beat reporter Ken Gurnick answers questions from Dodgers fans
January 25, 2019

How many innings do the Dodgers project for Julio Urias this year? -- @dmaxlaw via TwitterThe Dodgers don't give innings projections. When Walker Buehler threw five innings in 2016 after Tommy John surgery, he followed that with 98 innings in 2017. Urias threw 22 innings in 2018 after shoulder surgery,

How many innings do the Dodgers project for Julio Urias this year?
-- @dmaxlaw via Twitter

The Dodgers don't give innings projections. When Walker Buehler threw five innings in 2016 after Tommy John surgery, he followed that with 98 innings in 2017. Urias threw 22 innings in 2018 after shoulder surgery, so I would guess 100-125 innings this year. Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said he expects Urias to pitch as a starter and reliever this season as the club monitors his innings.
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Why will the Dodgers pay A.J. Pollock until age 35 and not Bryce Harper?
-- @MatthewR2415 via Twitter

There's hundreds of millions of dollars between what Harper wants and Pollock will reportedly get from the Dodgers. Pollock can play center field and bat leadoff when he's healthy, bats right-handed and if true to his career profile, he would provide better balance than Harper in a lineup already reliant on lefties Cody Bellinger, Corey Seager and Player Page for Max Muncy. Curiously, Pollock had reverse splits in 2018 and struggled against left-handed pitching, as did Yasiel Puig, who was traded to Cincinnati. For what it's worth, the team that signed the largest offseason free-agent contract the last eight offseasons did not win the World Series the next season.
Is there more bullpen help coming? If not, why has it not been the primary focus this offseason?
-- @joshahamilton via Twitter

The Dodgers' first major acquisition of the offseason was free-agent reliever Joe Kelly with a three-year contract, so it's not like the bullpen has been ignored. Los Angeles' returning roster is also not short of Major League arms behind closer Kenley Jansen: right-handers Pedro Baez, JT Chargois, Josh Fields, Dylan Floro, Yimi Garcia, Jaime Schultz and Thomas Stripling and lefties Scott Alexander, Tony Cingrani, Caleb Ferguson and Adam McCreery, as well as Urias. Of course, so much depends on Jansen, as he returns from heart surgery.
Does Alex Verdugo or Alvin Toles have a chance to play as an everyday player for the club? If not, should they continue to shop Verdugo for a J.T. Realmuto or Corey Kluber?
-- @edware32 via Twitter

Seager was called up in September 2015, started immediately and played a big role in that year's postseason. That's how management handles players considered to be imminent starters. Neither Verdugo nor Toles was a factor down the stretch or through the postseason last year. Dodgers management hasn't demonstrated that it considers either a likely everyday player to start the season. Verdugo has more trade value than Toles.
Kenny, the Dodgers still don't have a second baseman. What is their plan? What about moving Corey Seager to 2B and re-sign Manny Machado?
-- @lenny_padilla via Twitter

Coming off hip and elbow operations, the last thing Seager needs is to learn a new position, especially second base with his lanky frame. Chris Taylor, Enrique Hernandez and Muncy could all see playing time at second base, with Muncy, David Freese and Bellinger (when he's not in the outfield) at first.

Ken Gurnick covers the Dodgers for MLB.com.