Due to injuries the Los Angeles Dodgers are in the market for starting pitching, hoping to add at least one proven starter before the July 31 trade deadline. Team president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman recently affirmed the focus is on adding pitching depth.
With the deep pockets, the organization has naturally been linked to top-of-the-line starters such as, Johnny Cueto, Cole Hamels, and David Price. The Dodgers were also recently linked to New York Mets left-hander John Neise.
While it is possible they land one of those big names, the Dodgers certainly need to also have a back-up plan in case they don’t. According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, that may be in the form of Clay Buchholz of the Boston Red Sox or Jeff Samardzija of the Chicago White Sox:
Jeff Samardzija, RHP, White Sox — Teams are tempted but don’t know what to make of him because of his 4.53 ERA and struggles this season. His affordability as a rental and the fact that he’s not a No. 1-caliber starter in the eyes of most scouts but a good second or third guy in a rotation make him worth looking at. But the White Sox likely wouldn’t receive a great return. That’s why the same teams looking at Clay Buchholz are looking at Samardzija — the Royals, Tigers, Twins, Blue Jays, Yankees, Cardinals, Orioles, Angels, and Dodgers.
Samardzija, who signed a one-year, $9.8 million deal with the White Sox in the offseason has underperformed this season. The former All-star is 5-4 with a 4.56 ERA while striking out 88 in 108.2 innings.
It was reported last season the Dodgers held preliminary trade talks with Chicago Cubs prior to Samardzija being dealt to the Oakland Athletics. As they did with regularity, the Dodgers balked at including Joc Pederson or Corey Seager in the deal.
Buchholz, who is also going to be a free agent after this season, has pitched well lately after a rough start to the season. He is 6-6 with a 3.48 ERA and given up just two runs in 22 innings over his last three starts.
Given that both pitchers could very well be rentals for Los Angeles, the cost presumably would be much lower to that of acquiring Hamels. On top of needing to bolster their rotation this season, the Dodgers rotation next year could very well look different than it has in recent years should Zack Greinke opt out and sign elsewhere.