For the last 15 years or so when someone thought of the Los Angeles Dodgers franchise, Clayton Kershaw was the name that was consistently brought up. The legendary pitcher has been incredible and easily will go into the Hall of Fame when eligible. However, over the last few seasons injuries and age have started to catch up with Kershaw. The Dodgers have been able to survive on others stepping up but one in particular has officially taken the place as the ace of the Dodgers. And that my friends is Julio Urías.
Kershaw is still with the team and even is still a productive member of the roster but Urías has solidified himself as the true number one pitcher of the staff. The 26-year-old will be a free agent at the end of this current 2023 season and the team needs to whatever it takes to re-sign him to a long term extension.
Urías first signed with the Dodgers back in 2012 and formally made him MLB debut in 2016. But it wasn’t until 2020 that he really burst out onto the scene. Urías was THE guy for the Dodgers during their run to the 2020 World Series title. He shut the door in both the NLCS and World Series in dramatic fashion.
Over the last two seasons, Urías has been one of the better pitchers around the entire game of baseball. In 2021 and 2022, he firmly took control as the leader of the pitching staff. Here are his stats from those two years:
2021: 20-3, 2.96 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, and 195 strikeouts
2022: 17-7, 2.16 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, and 166 strikeouts
For as long as anyone can remember Urías was given an inning limit due to injuries that he had sustained early in his career. But that strategy changed starting in 2021 and during his first full two seasons with the greenlight to pitch, he has been simply dominant. He finished third in the CY Young voting last season as well.
Julio Urías looks even more dominant than before. 20K and just 2 walks through 18IP and just 3 ER
Also, increased his career 40% groundball rate to 50% thus far. Elite early numbers pic.twitter.com/r1rgSCUCKK
— kev mahserejian (@RotoSurgeon) April 11, 2023
Not only is Urías a special player with his on-field production, his presence off the field looms large over the city of Los Angeles. Urías, a Mexican born pitcher has a connection with the large Mexican population of Los Angeles. He represents them every time he steps onto the field and it’s something that you can’t explain. It rivals the connection that Fernando Valenzuela had with the Los Angeles fans back in the 1980s.
Now the Dodgers would love to have Urías back but one road block for them is the fact that he is a client of super-agent Scott Boras. Boras is known maximizing the return for his clients by having them rarely sign extensions with teams prior to testing out the market. It’s a strong strategy for players and has worked out well in the past.
Luckily for Los Angeles, they have the financial means to satisfy Urías and Boras. They have already lost a ton of talent over the years and Urías can’t be the next to go. Losing Urías would be a major blow to the team and the city because of the bond that has been formed. He deserves to be a Dodger for a long time and the team must do everything in their power to make sure that happens.