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2023 Dodgers in review: Ryan Yarbrough

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Colorado Rockies Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan “Yarbs, Yarbitron” Yarbrough started 2023 off the radar of most Dodgers fans as he pitched with the constantly rebuilding Kansas City Royals. in a familiar swingman role.

His stat line from the season’s first six weeks was in line with the 2023 Royals especially if you looked at the win-loss record of 1-4, with a hold and a blown save. Yarbrough pitched 26⅓ innings, allowing 18 runs with 14 strikeouts and seven walks, resulting in an ERA of 6.15 and FIP of 5.15, which are both awful metrics.

Yarbrough’s 2023 almost came to a catastrophic end when on May 7, Ryan Noda struck Yarbrough with a 106-mph line drive off of his face. Yarbrough suffered multiple non-displaced fractures in his skull and was ultimately placed on the 60-day injured list.

On July 9, the Royals activated Yarbrough, who had four solid starts (three of which were quality starts, only missing a fourth by going 5⅔ innings against the Tigers on July 19) before being traded to the Dodgers. He was almost an afterthought at the trade deadline, especially considering the fact that Eduardo Rodriguez had just exercised his no-trade clause to keep pitching for Detriot.

The Dodgers acquired Yarbrough in exchange for minor leaguers Devin Mann and Derlin Figueroa.

While some may have scoffed at, or at the very least questioned, what the Dodgers did or didn’t do at the deadline, Yarbrough was the most valuable acquisition at the trade deadline. Yarbrough pitched effectively with his four-pitch arsenal (sinker, curveball, cutter, and changeup) using his sinker as his most dominant pitch for the first time since his rookie year of 2018.

Ryan Yarbrough. Progressive Field. August 24, 2023.
The bulk man. Progressive Field. August 24, 2023.
Michael Elizondo / True Blue LA

Yarbrough was slotted into a swingman role with the Dodgers for ten of those appearances. He was far more effective as he Mike Marshall’d his way to a 4-1 record with two three-inning (or more) saves in ten games. He had a 3.12 ERA and 3.57 FIP In 34⅔ innings in those outings, holding opponents to a slash line of .244/.277/.370.

Not bad for someone who put up awful stats in Kansas City.

It is a known fact that Eric loves three-inning saves. As aside, while watching Yarbrough pitch in person this season, I found that he was strangely hypnotic as the delivery is anything but fluid. As an aside, sometimes, I get earworms stuck in my head.

Yarbrough sounds so close to Scarborough and one thing led to another but there was never an opportune time to get this song out of my head.

Yarbrough Fair (Vestibule)

Are you going to Yarbrough Fair?

Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme.

Ingredients not meant for my Dodger Dog.

It was once a true meal of mine.

Tell Andrew to make me a championship team

(Make sure Adric is clean enough to sheen)

Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme.

(His Doctor Who bandana is perched on his brow.)

Preferably below the luxury tax

(Sleeping in the mitt, no foul balls have ever been caught.)

Then it’ll be a true love of mine.

(And here is Jorel with the call.)

Tell Roberts to send out Evan Phillips.

(Can’t believe I have to say that.)

Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme

(Will Julio Urias disappear?)

Between the LA skyline and the creulean sky

(It’s time to wash Adric again.)

Then it’ll be a true love of mine.

Tell the offense to stop pressing with runners on.

(Oh good grief, Twitter is arguing about the umpires again.)

Parsely, sage, rosemary, and thyme.

(The only thing worse is the contact play.)

In October, the Dodgers need eleven wins.

(Has it ever worked? Bet you can’t tell me when.)

Then it’ll be a true love of mine.

Are you going to Yarbrough Fair?

Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme

Ingredients not meant for my Dodger Dog.

It was once a true meal of mine.

Yarbrough was humming along for the Dodgers until his final appearance of the year in Colorado, where he had the worst start of his career, giving up nine runs and 11 hits in 4 innings. Yarbrough’s outing was so disastrous, that his ERA as a Dodger increased by nearly two full runs.

Ultimately, in a moderately unfortunate decision, Yarbrough was left off the NLDS roster. In hindsight, the Dodgers would probably re-do this decision if given a do-over.

The Dodgers tendered Yarbrough a contract, and he enters his final year of arbitration this offseason. And with the Dodgers’ dearth of reliable pitching entering the off-season, Yarbrough’s versatility will likely be an asset in the coming year.

2023 particulars

Age: 31

Stats: 4-2, 2 saves, 4.89 ERA, 4.52 FIP, 38⅔ IP, 38 K, 5 BB 1.227 WHIP with Dodgers

Salary: $3 million, of which $983,871 was paid by the Dodgers

Game of the year

While Yarbrough had statistically better days as a Royal, his best day as a Dodger was the Pedialyte game after the Dodgers clinched the NL West where Yarbrough pitched 4⅔ IP and notched seven strikeouts as the bulk inning man in Seattle.

Roster status

Yarbrough has five years, 117 days of major league service time and can now reject an assignment to the minor leagues. MLB Trade Rumors projects that Yarbrough will earn $3.8 million in arbitration for 2024, a 26.7-percent increase over 2023. Jeff Euston at Cot’s Baseball Contracts projects a $4 million salary for Yarbrough.