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Dodgers Off-Season: Starting Pitching Free Agency Targets – Part 2

More free agent options.

Dodgers
SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 24: Rich Hill #44 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches during the the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park September 24, 2019 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

This is the second part of looking at the possible free agent starting pitching targets for the 2020 Dodgers. In the first article we looked at the current Dodgers starting pitching options; some top of the rotation guys and a couple of strange and unlikely options. If the Dodgers re-sign Hyun-Jin Ryu as the number 2 member of the rotation, I would hope they’d sign a right hander that could be a member of the playoff rotation. The Dodgers are too left-handed to do well against right-handed dominant offenses like the Astros or the Yankees.

Former Aces

Cole Hamels

Throws: Left, Age 36, 2.5 WAR, 91.4 Fastball MPH, 1.39 WHIP

Hamels was always one of those players that was rumored to be a trade possibility back in 2014 and 2015. It obviously never worked out as the Dodgers held onto their top prospects at the time Corey Seager, Julio Urías and Joc Pederson. He was born and raised in San Diego and it wouldn’t surprise me if the Padres made an offer towards him. If the Dodgers were to get him he would be someone who could give them 120-150 innings as a 4th or 5th starter while allowing some of the younger pitchers to conserve some innings.

Odds of signing: 10%

Rick Porcello

Throws: Right, Age 31, 1.8 WAR, 91.0 Fastball MPH, 1.39 WHIP

The 2016 American League Cy Young Award winner (he should not have won it but #PitcherWins) had a very rough 2019 with an ERA of 5.52. Porcello should come very cheap and eats up innings. I could see him possibly flourishing with the Dodgers as he gets away from those Little League dimensions in some of the American League East ballparks.

Odds of signing: 10%

3/5 Of The Twins Rotation

Jake Odorizzi

Thows: Right, Age 30, 4.3 WAR, 92.9 Fastball MPH, 1.21 WHIP

I am actually surprised that Odorizzi hasn’t been on the Dodgers yet. Andrew Friedman was with him in Tampa and there have been many rumors about the Dodgers wanting him over the years. One question will be if the Twins offer Odorizzi a qualifying offer (it means the signing team loosing a draft pick). He had a very good year in 2019 in a very homer friendly environment. I still do not consider him a top tier starter but he’d fit into almost any rotation.

Odds of signing: 25%

Kyle Gibson

Throws: Right, Age 32, 2.5 WAR, 93.4 Fastball MPH, 1.44 WHIP

Gibson would be, in a best case scenario, a number 5 starter for the Dodgers. He gave up more hits than innings pitched. He does have a standard 4 pitch mix of a fastball, curve, change and slider. I do wonder if the Dodgers would change up his pitch usage to get more production out of him.

Odds of signing: 10%

Michael Pineda

Throws: Right, Age 30, 2.7 WAR, 92.5 Fastball MPH, 1.16 WHIP

Pineda is currently service a PED suspension that goes on until May 22 of 2020. That is a big warning sign. It will be interesting for whoever signs him as he might have more strength in the post-season due to a later start on his season. Pineda has excellent control as he minimizes walks and he is intriguing. 2019 was his first season back after Tommy John surgery in 2017.

Odds of signing: 5%

Young Enough To Bounce Back

Chris Archer

Throws: Right, Age 31, 0.7 WAR, 94.1 Fastball MPH, 1.41 WHIP

The Pirates would need to not exercise Archer’s $9M option and I think they should. However, if they don’t he could be someone that could come back strong on a team like the Dodgers. I would not be against trading for him if the Pirates exercise his option. Despite an ERA of 5.19 he did strike out 143 batters in only 119.2 innings.

Odds of signing: 10%

Michael Wacha

Throws: Right, Age 28, -0.2 WAR, 93.0 Fastball MPH, 1.56 WHIP

Of course, Bob Nightengale’s infamous tweet ignored who the Dodgers drafted instead of Michael Wacha, someone named Corey Seager. Wacha’s career has not gone as expected at all. Only twice he’s pitched enough innings to qualify for the ERA title. He would be a very difficult project but he could be worth a small contract to see if he can regain enough to be a 5th starter.

Odds of signing: 5%

Julio Teheran

Throws: Right, Age 29, 1.6 WAR, 89.7 Fastball MPH, 1.32 WHIP

Teheran also has a team option with the Braves for $12M. It is possibile they retain him but just a few years ago they could have traded him for a ton of good prospects. His fastball has dropped quite a bit and he still isn’t bad. In 174.2 innings he only game up 148 hits. Teheran could definitely fill in at the 4th or 5th rotation spot for the Dodgers at a reasonable price. He’s probably not someone you’d want as a playoff starter but he could help save innings for the guys like Dustin May, Tony Gonsolin and Julio Urías.

Odds of signing: 10%

Dick Mountain

Rich Hill

Throws: Left, Age 40, 0.9 WAR, 90.3 Fastball MPH, 1.13 WHIP

Rich Hill pitching in a rehab assignment for the Quakes on 4/17/19. (Photo Credit: Tim Rogers)

Rich Hill gets his own section for good reason. When he is healthy he is still pretty good but I don’t think he can be counted on for more than 60 innings. Hill is a fan favorite and most of use would love to see him come back. If the Dodgers could sign him to a $2M contract with some incentives, I wonder if he would take it. I hope so.

Odds of signing: 50%

Final Thoughts

Many of the Dodgers fans out there want them to go big on a free agent pitcher, specifically Gerrit Cole. They are tired of the perceived “dumpster diving” and some of us think that has cost the Dodgers in the post season. I share a lot of those sentiments. One huge concern of mine is that the Dodgers could go into the season without Hyun-Jin Ryu and Rich Hill and end up relying on some pitchers who have never exceeded 150 innings pitched in any season of their careers. The idea of having only one sure thing for the post season (Walker Buehler) could mean they aren’t World Series contenders in 2020. I’m sure they’d still win the division but not be a playoff threat.

We will be covering trade options for starting pitchers over the next few weeks. This off-season provides the Dodgers a golden opportunity to make a big splash in free agency and it would go against the script Andrew Friedman has been reading from. Was the disappointment of the 2019 post season enough to change the narrative for the Dodgers front office?

Written by Tim Rogers

A fan of the Dodgers since 1973 since I got my first baseball cards while living in Long Beach. I came to San Diego for college and never left nor did I ever switch my Dodgers' allegiance. Some know me as the "sweater guy". #ProspectHugger

14 Comments

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  1. Honest question. Why would we want a four inning starter who is guaranteed to spend about half the year on the dl? Simply don’t see any upside to resigning Hill. Not like he’ll be any more durable at his age. We need someone who will stay active, and can go six innings at least.

  2. Ordozzi yes because he still throws hard. None of the rest make any sense especially another typical Dodger reclamation project like Hill. Lot’s of 3 or 4 Kershaw types there and we already have the real thing who can’t help in playoffs. Go strong after bullpen help starting with Wil Smith then make Maeda the set up/share closer with Smith. Get rid of mistakes like Kelly, Yimi and move Jansen and Baez way down the line therefore not allowing them to blow games. Focusing on the using the farm and young guys as starters would be better than filling a spot and wasting time plus cap space.

  3. The Dodgers always seem to propel teams to greater heights. Look at the Nats now not even afraid of the Astros like we were. Lame

  4. It’s kind of exciting to hear what the sport experts have to say about the Dodgers trade rumors or free agent signings and what THEY think the Dodgers need to better their chances of finally winning a World Series title,…too bad that these experts don’t run the Dodgers organization ,…and the guys that do,…will never make the deals that will better the chances of winning it all,…just like what they tell us every season!!!
    TALK, TALK, TALK,… what about trying something new,…ACTION, ACTION, ACTION!!!

  5. I really think it is time to start fresh. Get rid of the old core of guys if we can (Kershaw,Baez, Jansen, Joc)…Guys who just can not shine in the spotlight anymore or never could…. Please trade Pedro Baez for a bag of grass seed,he has been with the Dodgers far too long. Kenley is a setup guy at best anymore(Unless he can reinvent himself). Kershaw is still good in the regular season but I will personally pay for him take an early winter vacation before the playoffs start. Power pitching is the name of the game in the playoffs, guys are far too focused or pumped up in the playoffs to miss a hanging curveball or slider or Kershaws 89-90 fastball. We need another ace a strong setup or closer, contact hitters. Chicks dig the longball but contact hitters win championships. We have 1 good contact hitter..J.T. the rest swing out of there shoes and that is a huge problem in the playoffs when you face Aces who can pitch not just throw like the bottom feeders we feast on in the regular season… Rendon,Will Smith(Pitcher) and Strasburg/Cole for Christmas?

    • Don’t forget Verdugo, he is a contact hitter. Lux might be, and they should try to make Kike and Taylor into contact hitters, not anyone can be a homerun hitter and they need to stop trying.

      • The pitching needs to stop losing games in the PS by giving up home runs they do on a consistent basis. If ya don’t those to be home run hitters that is fine but then your pitching staff needs to keep the baseball in the yard as well. for example a grand slam HR was what sent this team to an early exit among other things and also because of Roberts and his totally irresponsible decisions with the pitching.

  6. Folks, honestly we are wasting our time here for a big reason…and that is no matter what takes place as FA’s go the Dodgers will still have Roberts as the manager and Any impact signings or trades will not happen in the first place, end of story.

    • Especially trades, FO and fans want this bullpen fixed but dont want to give up prospects. It unrealistic to think teams will just give up their proven players for Dodger scrubs.

  7. for one thing they should bring back rich hill that stuff about him being a 4 or 5 inning pitcher is not really true as roberts loves to go to the bullpen early for some reason hill is good when he is healthy

  8. Why is it that people are so enamored with “making a big splash” in the free agent market? It’s not that complicated to just buy an available player yet it never seems to work out for the whole length of the contract.It seems lazy!
    A trade seems much more compelling, analyzing who got what and what you traded away, 3 team deals, gm’s making deals in smoke filled back rooms( I know, smoking is out, it’s just an image).
    The Kasten/Friedman model is to sign a free agent when it’s the only option to fill a need or a compelling opportunity comes along, like Kelly being available…. ( oh yeah, back to free agents not working out).
    Every top player was once a young player on the cusp of stardom and Friedman seems to like trying to find the diamond in the rough.

  9. A lot of those guys are going to be overpriced for innings-eaters. I keep saying Rich is a good idea if his contract is low (and $2-$3MM was what I was thinking). Otherwise, there are in-house ways to eat innings just as effectively without having to shell out FA money. Maeda and Stripling – obvious choices for 3 and 4. The 5th days are the CERBERUS game: split between a three-headed monster Urias/May/Gonsolin. As the season progresses, toggle their innings accordingly based on performance. Reassess midway, make the trade as necessary.

    My feeling is: if it’s not Cole, it’s a drop in the bucket. I WANT to believe in Wheeler, but I don’t trust the Dodgers to help him to the next level. Everyone else is just taking Rendon’s money.

  10. I would sign Wheeler and Odorizzi. I don’t think that the dodgers would spend over $200 mil on one guy but I think they might spend $200 mil if they are getting two good number 2 starters. I would also take a shot on Archer if he becomes a free agent. As we have seen in this post season, starting pitching depth makes or breaks teams. I still remember when we had kershaw and greinke and we couldn’t get past the first round. Our hitting is good, I don’t think we need to change anything about that (considering that they put us in a good spot to advance to the next round) and I would use our young pitchers to round out the bullpen.

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