As the dog days of summer begin, the Dodgers find themselves in a precarious position leading up to the trade deadline. Certainly — like many teams — they can use some help in a number of spots on the roster.
The bullpen has a noticeable weak link at the back end with closer Craig Kimbrel’s struggles. On offense, the bats have been inconsistent in recent weeks, particularly with runners in scoring position. And the starting rotation, while a strength at the moment, is still just one injury away from becoming a major concern.
As of Monday’s off day, we’re fewer than 45 days away from the August 2nd non-waiver trade deadline. With that in mind, MLB insider Jim Bowden over at The Athletic parsed through some of this summer’s most likely-to-be-traded stars around the league.
Importantly, Bowden lists the Dodgers as buyers in the NL West.
The former MLB exec listed 20 starting pitcher options from teams that are mostly on the outside looking in.
- RHP Frankie Montas, A’s
- RHP Luis Castillo, Reds
- RHP Tyler Mahle, Reds
- LHP Mike Minor, Reds
- LHP Drew Smyly, Cubs
- RHP Kyle Hendricks, Cubs
- LHP Wade Miley, Cubs
- LHP Madison Bumgarner, D-Backs
- RHP Zach Davies, D-Backs
- RHP Merril Kelly, D-Backs
- RHP Edward Cabrera, Marlins
- RHP Pablo Lopez, Marlins
- RHP Johnny Cueto, White Sox
- LHP Kyle Freeland, Rockies
- RHP Chad Kuhl, Rockies
- RHP Zack Greinke, Royals
- RHP Jordan Lyles, Orioles
- LHP Martin Perez, Rangers
- RHP Michael Pineda, Tigers
- LHP Jose Quintana, Pirates
Focusing on a few names, there are some caveats for the Dodgers in any move for starting pitching help. Firstly, Walker Buehler is expected to be back sometime in September. Of course, there’s no way of knowing right now what that Walker Buehler will look like.
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The names in bold above represent some of the better, upper-end options for the boys in blue. And, of course, there the team will face a steeper asking price.
Montas has been linked to the Dodgers often over the last calendar year or so. The one-time Dodger farmhand is the undisputed top name on the trade market this summer. However, he’ll certainly come with a high price tag. Bowden attests to as much with this line:
Montas is the most sought-after starting pitcher on the market. The A’s asking price is through the roof, as it should be.
Oakland loves to trade away quality assets, working in the Dodgers’ favor. Working against the Dodgers, however, is the fact that other contenders will be in the Montas sweepstakes as well.
The three Reds listed above are in bold only because Los Angeles and Cincinnati have been natural trade partners in recent years. The Dodgers have long had interest in Luis Castillo but with the right-hander having another year of team control, this is another case where any trade partner will be paying a premium. Tyler Mahle is the type of pitcher that would likely thrive under the tutelage of LA’s pitching factory. Mike Minor has been around the league for a long time, albeit with mixed results. He’s not having a great year so far but could have some upside with his own visit to the pitching factory.
Pablo Lopez of the Marlins is in the midst of the best season of his career. But with his years of team control and relative affordability, Miami would be foolish to let him go cheaply.
Something to consider is, do you trade for an arm that will remain in the rotation in the postseason, or are you looking for more of a depth piece for the regular season? The way these Dodgers are built — particularly if Buehler returns on time — the top of the rotation is seemingly set for October.
- Julio Urias
- Walker Buehler
- Clayton Kershaw
And there is zero doubt that as of June 20th, both Tony Gonsolin and Tyler Anderson have earned their spots for the postseason. With Mitch White, Ryan Pepiot and others waiting in the wings at the minor league levels, it’s likely a better use of time to address the backend of the bullpen before the rotation. But even there, Blake Treinen should be back down the road. Dustin May is getting closer to a return every day (and could even be an intriguing option to close games). And heralded flamethrowing prospect Bobby Miller (3-1, 4.60 ERA, 47 IP) is just a Double-A phone call away.