We’re transitioning from spring training to regular season in two short weeks. Teams are finalizing their rosters, which means contenders are trying to band-aid any small weaknesses.
Among those teams is the Boston Red Sox. Perhaps the World Series favorite after adding Chris Sale to their rotation, the Red Sox aren’t yet satisfied with their group of starts.
— MLB Trade Rumors (@mlbtraderumors) March 20, 2017
“Our efforts haven’t picked up just because of recent developments,” Boston manager John Farrell said of the search for pitching depth. “It’s always been there. It focuses back on those guys who have just been sent out of camp and getting them to the point of being more consistent. Henry Owens and Brian Johnson, those two guys in particular, because they’re healthy and they’re capable. They’re not dealing with physical ailments. We’ve got to make them consistent to be more readily available depth pitching. That’s why Kyle Kendrick’s presence here has become more important by the day.”
Enter Los Angeles. The Dodgers are loaded with pitchers behind Clayton Kershaw, Kenta Maeda and Rich Hill. Farrell said Boston would like a pitcher on a similar level as Kyle Kendrick. L.A. has a surplus of such to offer.
Brandon McCarthy and Alex Wood are expected to complete the rotation. Scott Kazmir has experience in the AL East, but barely looks playable at this point, salary aside. Hyun-Jin Ryu won’t have any value, but if he continues his ascension and stays healthy, it could free the Dodgers to move one of Wood or McCarthy.
Julio Urias won’t take the mound at Chavez Ravine until a couple of months into the season. But he’ll displace Wood or McCarthy when he does. Ross Stripling and Brock Stewart are both players who broke into the bigs last season and project near Kendrick’s level. Trevor Oaks is another player worthy of a MLB rotation spot moving forward.
The point: While there have yet to be dots connecting the franchises, a deal makes sense. Boston has a deep farm system and enough offensive players to part with one for pitching. The Dodgers have more depth than they can use, so moving an arm could be an option.
As the season progresses, Boston may become more desperate to add a starting pitching. The problem there would be asking a contender (L.A.) to move a presumably productive piece of its team. At that point a deal is unlikely unless the Dodgers are adding a MLB contributor.
If Stripling, Stewart or whoever else is being displaced, the Dodgers would be wise to talk to Boston, if for no other reason than further assessment of their players’ market value.
After all, there’s no harm in discussing.