If we could choose one word to describe the Los Angeles Dodgers this season, said word would have to be “symptomatic.” Other words finding their way into the conversation at Dodgers fans’ dinner tables are “tendonitis,” “inflammation,” “rehab” and the dreaded three-word phrase, “Tommy John Surgery.”
The Dodgers players have felt the bite of it all. It’s easier to find more players on the current roster who haven’t spent time on the shelf this year due to injury.
Since the beginning of the regular season when combining the No. of days players spent on the DL, #Dodgers rank 1st with 1,142 days.
— Dodgers Nation (@DodgersNation) July 22, 2016
Nonetheless, Dodgers President Andrew Friedman and General Manager Farhan Zaidi will have to find the remedy, and quick.
With the August 1st non-waiver trade deadline closing in, the hot stove has already been boiling for a while. Teams being mentioned in the same rumor with the Dodgers include the Rays, Athletics, Brewers and Reds.
Kershaw’s return is now being pushed back to a date that only God knows at the moment. The Dodgers are now stricken with fear that the mileage they have put on the best lefty this side of Koufax has literally broken his back.
Kershaw was on pace for another record-setting year. At 11-2, only White Sox ace Chris Sale had more wins when Kershaw went down. Kershaw also led the league (again) with a microscopic ERA of 1.79.
However, without Zack Greinke to pick up the slack, the Dodgers have barely mustered a sub-.500 winning percentage on days he doesn’t pitch. To put it simply- Clayton Kershaw is the heart of the Dodgers, and that heart is starting to crack under the stress.
There is no telling when Kershaw will be back, but the Dodgers know how long they have to fill that void. August 1st is rapidly approaching and the Dodgers are likely to entertain all possibilities in order to right their ship.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweeted something enticing this week:
#Dodgers are "Big Game Hunting,'' says a rival exec. They're looking for impact moves, not incremental upgrades.
— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) July 20, 2016
A crowd-pleasing splash at the deadline could see either Oakland ace Sonny Gray or the aforementioned Chris Sale donning Dodger Blue during the last game of the year, but we’ve been wrong before. Just last year, the most coveted starting pitchers at the deadline were Johnny Cueto and David Price.
The Dodgers were said to be in the bidding for both starters when, alas, Cueto went to Kansas City (now with the San Francisco Giants) and Price to Toronto (now with the Boston Red Sox). As disappointing as last season’s deadline was, times are much more dire this time around.
The Dodgers are also said to be talking with the Rays in order to acquire more firepower for both the lineup and the rotation. The most recent rumors have included Rays all-star third baseman Evan Longoria and their young ace Chris Archer.
While Archer has struggled a lot this season, his strikeouts per nine has been consistent over recent years and his relatively affordable contract ensures that finances won’t be an issue in the acquisition.
Translation: #Dodgers might be motivated to pursue Chris Archer, even though he's struggled. Odorizzi, Smyly-type deals … not so much.
— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) July 20, 2016
What would any of these players cost the Dodgers though? We can only speculate. If the A’s are serious about trading Gray, it’s worth considering that GM Billy Beane has an affinity for youth and potential. He has a history of auctioning off superstars to other buyers for prospects and young talent in return.
For example, look at last year when he traded his superstar third baseman Josh Donaldson to Toronto. With this in mind, you can guess that he would at least kick the tires on Dodger prospects like Julio Urias, Jose De Leon and even Thompson or Pederson.
As for a trade with the Rays, the Rays seem a little more interested in players who can contribute at the major league level as well as players who have future potential.
— Rodger with a D (@Noz4news) July 22, 2016
One other contender that has emerged in trade talks for Archer are the Miami Marlins, but Joe Frisario of MLB.com claims that the Marlins are too reluctant to part with any of their current players.
These aren’t even the beginning of the rumors though. Other Dodger trade rumors have included possible deals for Oakland’s pitcher Rich Hill, Atlanta’s pitcher Julio Tehran and even some power hitters such as Ryan Braun and Jay Bruce.
Long story short, it has been a long while since the rumor mill has been this hot, this early. Fans should get ready for a blockbuster deal involving the Dodgers. The Dodgers, otherwise, risk squandering another possible championship season due to injury and an unwillingness to improve their roster by way of trading.
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