UPDATE (July 29, 8:55 a.m. PT): One shoe may have fallen into place as the Los Angeles Dodgers reportedly are set to acquire Mat Latos and Michael Morse from the Miami Marlins in exchange for three Minor League pitchers.
As the hours until Friday’s non-wavier trade deadline continue to tick away, pressure mounts on the Los Angeles Dodgers to find an answer to their starting pitching need. Scott Kazmir was first to come off the board when the Oakland Athletics traded the left-hander to the Houston Astros.
The Kansas City Royals soon after acquired Johnny Cueto from the Cincinnati Reds, shifting the market back in favor of the sellers, particularly those with aces. One such team is the Philadelphia Phillies, who reportedly instructed clubs interested in Cole Hamels to submit their best offers by Wednesday.
If the Phillies had it their way, the Dodgers’ proposal would include one of or both, top prospects Corey Seager and Julio Urias. However, Los Angeles has remained adamant in their stance of not dealing the shortstop or young pitching phenom.
While the Dodgers have very much been linked to Hamels trade talks, Jayson Stark of ESPN notes they may attempt to trade for two pitchers:
In a glutted starting-pitching market, the Dodgers haven’t ruled out the possibility of trading for two starters instead of one. But they have only so many prospects they’re prepared to deal. So if they have to use too many chips to trade for a Cole Hamels or David Price, two trades for starters are unlikely. But if the Dodgers wind up shopping in the bargain bin and prices come down before the deadline, it’s still “possible” they could deal for two, according to one source who spoke with them.
Detroit Tigers ace David Price is believed to be the Dodgers’ top target, though indications have largely been Detroit isn’t yet committed to throwing in the towel and they’ve been among the teams looking to improve in recent days. The Chicago White Sox may also decide to keep Jeff Samardzija now that they’ve won six games in a row.
Price took the mound at the familiar Tropicana Field Tuesday night and allowed five runs on five hits in seven innings. The loss dropped the Tigers to four games under .500 and 13.5 back of the Royals for first place in the American League Central; Detroit is seven and a half games out of a Wild Card spot.
The Texas Rangers are perceived by some as the favorite in the Hamels sweepstakes with the Dodgers still in the fray and Houston Astros attempting to enter the picture. Complicating matters for Astros is they’re not on Hamels’ list of approved teams he can be traded to, and it’s currently unclear if he’d be willing to accept being dealt there.
As such, the two-pitcher module lends more favorably to the Dodgers perhaps trading for the likes of Yovani Gallardo and Mike Leake. Both right-handers would provide a boost to the rotation in Los Angeles presumably at a lesser cost than Hamels and/or Price.
What could complicate that however, is if the Rangers land Hamels and opt to retain Gallardo as opposed to trading him. No matter how it ultimately unfolds, Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi suggested the team may need to wait until Friday to complete a transaction.