Piecing together a rotation that’s lost Brandon McCarthy and Hyun-Jin Ryu with Mike Bolsinger and Carlos Frias, the Los Angeles Dodgers have managed to remain atop the National League West division standings.
While Bolsinger and Frias have both answered the bell admirably, the prevailing school of thought holds the Dodgers are in need of adding a pitcher simply for October if not the remainder of the regular season. With a revamped front office put in place over the offseason, the Dodgers have assembled plenty of depth throughout the organization.
During the Dodgers recent road trip that took them to San Diego for three games, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and senior vice president of baseball operations Josh Byrnes were spotted in the visitors clubhouse and on the field throughout the weekend.
Co-host of Dodger Talk on AM 570 David Vassegh interviewed Byrnes and among the topics discussed was potentially adding a frontline starting pitcher. When asked if he believed the Dodgers had the depth necessary to pull off a trade, Byrnes said he believes the club does:
I think so. Starting with Stan Katsen, Andrew [Friedman], Farhan [Zaidi], and myself, protecting your prospects is pretty important to us. I think there’s always a long term view and even a short term view this year. Starting with obviously Joc Pederson who’s in the rookie of the year mix, Yimi Garcia, Pedro Baez, and Yasmani Grandal, who’s only 26, having young players on your roster, in a perfect world, helps you win win now and win in the future. This doesn’t mean we won’t make trades, of course. But I think we’ll spend a lot of time taking another look at our prospects, really ranking and assessing them, but also knowing of assuming that it’s a Dodger tradition that when we have good players we want to have them come and help us win games in Los Angeles.
With Kasten and then-general manager Ned Colletti at the helm in 2014, the Dodgers opted against trading away any of their elite prospects — Joc Pederson, Corey Seager and Julio Urias. The decision has already paid dividends as Pederson is an NL Rookie of the Year candidate, and Seager is knocking on the door to make his Major-League debut.
It was reported the Dodgers are eyeing an elite starter with Washington Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann their preferred target. Other big-name pitchers who may also become available are Johnny Cueto, Cole Hamels and David Price.
Cueto, Price and Zimmermann are scheduled to become free agents after the 2015 season, which may mean a lower asking price than what’s necessary to acquire Hamels. For as much as adding a pitcher this season would provide a needed boost, the Dodgers’ starting rotation faces questions heading into 2016.
Zack Greinke can opt out of his deal after this year, leaving a guaranteed $78 million on the table over three years, Brett Anderson is only signed to a one-year contract, and McCarthy and Ryu are coming off season-ending surgery. Outside of Urias, who is still young and needs time to further develop, the Dodgers don’t appear to have an impact arm in the organization on the verge of debuting in the Majors.
How much that factors into the front office’s thinking when assessing trade options this season remains to be seen. However, given the emphasis placed on retaining prospects, it’s difficult to envision the Dodgers shipping away much of the future for an immediate return.
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