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Dodgers: Starting Pitching Trade Options With Hill’s Injury

Nobody knows how long Rich Hill will be out.

TORONTO, ON - JUNE 18: Marcus Stroman #6 of the Toronto Blue Jays delivers a pitch in the first inning during a MLB game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Rogers Centre on June 18, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

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?

Clear Upgrades

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

Availability: Questionable

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.

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

Availability: Now

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.

Borderline Upgrade

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

Availability: Now

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.

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

Availability: Now

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

Availability: Now

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

Availability: Now

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

Availability: Now

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?

Final Thoughts

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.

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

12 Comments

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  1. You forgot to list a guy named Julio Urias who the Dodgers all along have been planning to use as a starter towards the end of the season. His numbers are as good as anyone you listed, he has playoff experience and won’t require prospects to get.

    • And then there is this Stripling guy. I’d rather use either Uriah’s or Stripling than trade away top young talent for a second tier pitcher who will only pitch 6 innings at best in two or three games.

  2. Daniel
    Read it again! They need that left hander in the bullpen! He can pitch 3 innings if needed!

  3. Tim, you usually write very intelligent insightful articles. Not this time. The club has Stripling, Urias, and Ferguson on the 40 man roster and Gonsolin, May and Santana just to name 3 on the Farm waiting for a chance. Why would they want to trade for a starting pitcher?
    Now if you want to talk Bullpen help that should be the target….Will Smith, Hand, Watsonetc should all be at play here. This team needs a bridge guy although the bullpen has been better lately. But they have not been in high-stress situations as the Offense has exploded.

    • Tim, the points made by tmaxster are valid ones and should be considered!!!!! We have some youngsters who could be brought up and auditioned for Hill’s spot. Do we really need to hit the panic button? Our focus must be on the BP and finding a quality pitcher who can build the bridge to inning number nine, and in other instances, close out the game. Go Blue!!!

  4. You have got to be kidding me! As mentioned before, why do we want to go out and get a rental an overage of quality starters in the bullpen and in the minors – makes absolutely no sense to me.

    Again, as mentioned lets set our sights on improving the bullpen, that’s where we need the help; and don’t even think about selling off the farm to get another rental. We will need Smith, Ruiz, Alvarez, Beaty, Rios, and others – there the future!

    We need help for Baez and Jensen to win it all…….

  5. Why do we have so much depth until we need it, then we don’t. Dispite the hype, our farm is bare, full of career minor leaguers and soon to be career minor leaguers. All these prospects and only maybe 2/3 potential major leaguers. Maybe a catcher , pitcher and middle infielder. Nothing else.

  6. lol no I don’t think so. There would be no where to put them when hill comes back that’s why it’s best to use what we have like Stripling and Urias because they’re going to the bullpen anyway plus none of the guys in this article are better than what we have it would be dumb to trade prospects for them

  7. all those guys are mediocre to bad choices. the dodger team 3.16 is the best era in the majors. we certainly can get someone elite who wants to play for a ring. besides, i don’t trust all the era’s of relief pitchers. they usually don’t get charged for the runs that score. hopefully rich hill will prove to everybody that he can pitch again this year. he’s been incredible this year. sit still till the right offer presents itself. someone like will smith for example. i’d even give dustin may a shot.

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