It’s slightly odd to call a pitcher who was never really on the Dodgers’ roster a “loss”, but that’s how it felt Thursday when Hisashi Iwakuma started the day having agreed to a deal, then reportedly failed a physical exam and finally re-signed in Seattle.
And thus, the Dodgers have yet another right-handed arm to “replace” in their rotation. Losing Iwakuma in that fashion might have been a kick to the nether-regions but pails in comparison to how Greinke departed.
Either way, the Dodgers still have plenty of work to do, and it appears they remain busy in the free agent and trade markets.
This, via Ken Rosenthal:
In addition to Leake, #Dodgers also on Kazmir, sources say. Told yesterday – even before Iwakuma news – they are not ruling out anyone.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 17, 2015
As Rosenthal points out, Mike Leake and Scott Kazmir were already on the Dodgers’ radar before the Iwakuma ordeal, so one can imagine the urgency to sign either or both has only heightened after Thursday night.
Leake seems to make the most sense of the two. For starters, he’s right-handed, which matters as the Dodgers’ rotation already features Clayton Kershaw, Brett Anderson, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Alex Wood. The novelty of having an all-left-handed rotation would wear off pretty quickly in a division featuring Paul Goldschmidt and Buster Posey — both right-handed hitters.
That said, beggars can’t be choosers. Not to say any team with Kershaw as the ace gets to beg charity, but the Dodgers do need some starting pitching help given the losses this offseason. Kazmir would be just that. Now, if the Dodgers do sign him, look for some other move to occur to bring a right-handed starter to the team.
Leake will be 28 next season and is coming off an 11-10 year with a 3.70 ERA and 1.61 WHIP in his time with the Reds and Giants. Kazmir, on the other hand, will be 32 in 2016 and went 7-11 with a 3.10 ERA and 1.208 WHIP in 2015 in Oakland and then in Houston.
Both pitchers were throwing better before being traded midseason, so the hope would be that by spending an entire season with the Dodgers, they’d find consistency for the entire year.