Well, this was a bit of an “out there” suggestion.
In Buster Olney’s latest column, he examines the potential trade market for starters. The piece primarily focused on small market teams and sellers, but it did suggest the Dodgers could (hypothetically) look to cash in on Brandon McCarthy’s hot start.
Notes column: Trade market forecast is for flood of available starting pitchers this summer. https://t.co/snkQPa4VJI Cubs/Thames PED musing
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) April 30, 2017
“L.A. worked to dump his salary, along with Scott Kazmir‘s last winter,” Olney writes. “And while Kazmir is currently unmovable because of injury, McCarthy has pitched well so far. The Dodgers have enough surplus in their rotation this summer that they could use McCarthy’s early performance as a springboard to a deal: He is owed $11.5 million this year and in 2018.”
Olney makes a good point: The team reportedly shopped McCarthy last winter. It also reportedly included him in trade talks with Milwaukee last summer. That means the Dodgers have been actively exploring moving McCarthy for roughly a year.
McCarthy is off to a fantastic start, posting a 3.10 ERA in 29 innings. He’s been far and away the Dodgers’ second best starter. If the team wants to move him, he’s unexpectedly built enough value for a team to consider taking most of his contract.
On the other side of the coin, with the Dodgers’ rotation struggling as it is, suggesting banishing McCarthy sounds ludicrous. He and Clayton Kershaw have been the only consistent positives in the rotation thus far. Olney cites depth, but that depth has underwhelmed to this point. In fairness to Olney, he seemed to insinuate that if the Dodgers explore it, it’d be later in the summer when the rotation has rounded into form. But until that actually happens, it makes no sense for a contender to trade its second best arm in the middle of early season mediocrity.
Perhaps this is a discussion worth visiting if the rotation catches and maintains fire this summer. Perhaps it’s something the Dodgers visit next winter. But right now, McCarthy is staying where he is, and Dodgers fans should be thrilled with how he’s looked so far.