With Rich Hill not even able to pick up a baseball for 3-4 weeks, the Dodgers’ starting pitching will be without him for a least two months. That is assuming there aren’t any setbacks. If, for some awful reason that Hill is not ready for the post-season then Kenta Maeda probably slots in as the fourth starter in the rotation. Do the Dodgers really want Maeda starting game four of each playoff series? Many of us assumed Maeda would be a good bullpen weapon. Even if the Dodgers use an internal option like Clint Pasillas wrote about, that leaves a big gap in the playoff rotation. By the Trade Deadline on July 31st, the Dodgers should have a better idea about whether Rich Hill might be ready or not for playoff action.
A few days ago MLB Trade Rumors had a great list of trade candidates. We’ll take a look at some of their starting pitching candidates (credit, where credit is due) and see how they could work for the Dodgers. Age, salary, actual availability and possible trade cost will be a big part of the conversation. The biggest factor though is, are they a candidate to be the fourth starting pitcher in the playoff rotation?
These would be better than having Maeda as the fourth starter in the playoffs and maybe even better than Hill. The cost for pitchers like these would be a top 5 prospect such as Keibert Ruiz, Gavin Lux, Dustin May, Tony Gonsolin or Will Smith plus more. It is pretty much a given that the Dodgers have an internal untouchable list but we don’t know who is on it.
Matthew Boyd – 28 y/o
Statistics: 3.35 ERA, 88.2 IP, 79 H, 11 HR, 17 BB, 112 K, 3.00 FIP
Contract Status: $2.6M and free agent at end of 2023
Boyd is having a breakout season on a bad team. How would he react to being on a winner in LA? That is a question I do not take lightly as some players seem to come to LA, do poorly, then move on and get good again. However, I can’t ignore the FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) and the strikeouts per innings pitched.
Matthew Boyd's final line today: 6IP, 1H, 2BB, 6K
Here are all six of Boyd's strikeouts. pic.twitter.com/gYIaDh8TM8
— Ron W (@FIPmyWHIP) April 11, 2017
Mike Minor – 31 y/o
Statistics: 2.52 ERA, 103.2 IP, 84 H, 11 HR, 35 BB, 103 K, 3.69 FIP
Contract Status: $9.33M per through 2020
Availability: Doubtful – Rangers are in the Wild Card running
Minor was such a great risk for the Rangers as he’d been an often injured pitcher (mostly in relief) when they signed him to be a starter. Texas is playing so well though that he may not be available. The FIP compared to his ERA is a warning sign for me but his other numbers are very good. He’s the ace of the Rangers’ pitching staff. Do they cash him in now?
Trevor Bauer – 28 y/o
Statistics: 3.41 ERA, 108.1IP, 76 H, 13 HR, 45 BB, 117 K, 4.12 FIP
Contract Status: $13M and a free agent after 2020
Availability: Late July if Indians fall back
Bauer is quite controversial to many fans and our AJ Gonzalez wrote an article advocating for the Dodgers staying away from him. To be honest I have no idea how the Dodgers’ front office feels about him but he can be elite. The FIP is bothersome but the hits per innings and the Ks look good. His walks are also up this season. Some have suggested giving up a lot of prospects for Bauer and Brad Hand. Yes, it would take a lot to get those two.
Caleb Smith – 27 y/o
Statistics: 3.41 ERA, 66 IP, 47 H, 13 HR, 20 BB, 82 K, 4.20 FIP
Contract Status: $557K and free agent after 2023
Availability: Never know with the Marlins
The Marlins would be able to get multiple strong prospects for Caleb Smith but we have no idea what they are doing. The hits and strikeout numbers look great but the FIP is underwhelming. Smith would probably come at the highest cost since he is locked in for quite a few years.
Marcus Stroman – 28 y/o
Statistics: 3.23 ERA, 94.2 IP, 91 H, 9 HR, 29 BB, 71 K, 3.82 FIP
Contract Status: $7.4M and free agent at end of 2020
I’ve been a fan of Stroman for quite a while and his World Baseball Classic performance was gold! The issue that really bothers me about him is what he did to his puppy. His numbers are not dazzling this season but I am convinced he’d benefit from the Dodgers defensive positioning and pitch selection. This probably applies to most on this list but I believe Stroman would be excellent for the Dodgers.
Marcus Stroman, 94mph Sinker (tight view/movement). ? pic.twitter.com/DusKXtafkX
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 23, 2017
These are players that I wonder if they would be an upgrade over Maeda as the fourth starter. They should not cost any top 5 prospects but probably a 6-10.
Madison Bumgarner – 29 y/o
Statistics: 4.28 ERA, 96.2 IP, 99 H, 16 HR, 21 BB, 93 K, 4.20 FIP
Contract Status: $12M and free agent at end of 2019
There is strong sentiment about whether it is right to even pursue Bumgarner as Daniel Preciado wrote about. I lean against getting him and his statistics do not stand out. However, when he pitched against the Dodgers in the Max Muncy game, he was excellent. He still has something good and it might come out in the playoffs. There is no denying his competitiveness and his past success. The obvious question is whether he could work his playoff magic for one for post-season.
Tanner Roark – 32 y/o
Statistics: 3.47 ERA, 80.1 IP, 79 H, 6 HR, 27 BB, 81 K, 3.39 FIP
Contract Status: $10M and free agent after 2019
Availability: Not Yet as the Reds are still in contention
Roark is solid and is doing quite well in a hitter’s park. He’s someone that keeps his team in the game and has benefited from the new ways the Reds are working with their pitching. He’s as good as most other team’s fourth starters but should cost less than Bumgarner.
Jordan Lyles – 28 y/o
Statistics: 3.64 ERA, 64.1 IP, 55 H, 7 HR, 24 BB, 66 K, 3.65 FIP
Contract Status: $2.05M and free agent after 2019
Availability: Not Yet
Lyles is probably my least favorite in this category. He doesn’t have much of a track record so I’d see him regressing. The cost would be pretty low so you never know what the Dodgers’ front office might do.
Zack Wheeler – 29 y/o
Statistics: 4.94 ERA, 94.2 IP, 98 H, 14 HR, 28 BB, 103 K, 3.83 FIP
Contract Status: $5.98M and a free agent after 2019
Availability: Late July because the Mets don’t live in reality
In so many ways the Mets are a dumpster fire from the coaches on up to the owner. The stud pitchers they have are all underperforming and Wheeler is one of them. There is way too much talent for him to have numbers like he has in 2019. I think he could be outstanding for the Dodgers.
Zack Wheeler's 11Ks from last night (in 16 seconds). pic.twitter.com/SBfcQ75uRR
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 24, 2019
Only If Desperate
These are guys that either have too much money owed to them and just aren’t good anymore….. or both. Since these were on the MLB Trade Rumors list I’ll cover them.
Andrew Cashner – 32 y/o
Statistics: 4.48 ERA, 76.1 IP, 75 H, 11 HR, 27 BB, 53 K, 4.75 FIP
Contract Status: $16M and free agent after 2019
I can’t find the article but I’d heard that Cashner doesn’t want to be traded and wants to stay with the Orioles. I believe the Dodgers should honor those wishes.
Mike Leake – 31 y/o
Statistics: 4.14 ERA, 95.2 IP, 101 H, 22 HR, 16 BB, 69 K, 5.31 FIP
Contract Status: $16M per through 2020
Leake is too expensive and is just a guy to throw some innings. The Dodgers can get something similar in their own farm system.
Danny Duffy – 31 y/o
Statistics: 4.64 ERA, 54.1 IP, 55 H, 6 HR, 21 BB, 46 K, 4.23 FIP
Contract Status: $13M through 2021
Injuries have hurt Duffy but there is also a drop in effectiveness. This is someone I wanted the Dodgers to get two years ago. I think the contract would keep the Dodgers from looking at him. Duffy also wants to stay with the Royals.
Jeff Samardzija – 34 y/o
Statistics: 3.96 ERA, 72.2 IP, 70 H, 12 HR, 23 BB, 61 K, 4.71 FIP
Contract Status: $18M per through 2020
Can you believe Samardzija is 34 years old? The Giants would have to pay a majority of his contract but I do believe he’d benefit from the Dodgers’ run prevention strategies. He is highly unlikely but would it be worth taking some of his contract on to get Will Smith?
My sincere hope is that Rich Hill is healthy to be a key post-season starter. It also important to look at the injury history of some of the starting pitching and wonder if the Dodgers will regret not getting some insurance. Losing the Waiver Trade Deadline on August 31 really does hurt a team with a question mark like the Rich Hill injury. The main concern is still the bullpen (which Maeda helps) but I’m a bit nervous about the with Hill being a huge question mark.