(Photo Credit: mlb.com)
With exactly two weeks remaining until the non-waiver trade deadline, numerous rumors are beginning to brew around the Dodgers camp, as the front office has been communicating with the Tampa Bay Rays about several of their best starting pitchers.
Beat writer Ken Gurnick of mlb.com first reported the club’s interest in Chris Archer on Saturday. Rumors have had the tendency to circulate annually regarding the 27-year-old righty and the Dodgers ever since current president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman migrated to Los Angeles in 2014.
Back in early 2011, the Rays and Friedman traded Matt Garza, Zac Rosscup and Fernando Perez to the Chicago Cubs. In return, Tampa Bay received Sam Fuld and four prospects — shortstop Hak-Ju Lee, catcher Robinson Chirinos, Brandon Guyer, and Archer.
Archer continues to speak very highly of Friedman. When asked in early May about the chief catalysts of the Rays playoffs runs, the Rays ace had nothing but good things to say about the former Tampa boss.
“I think Joe [Maddon] got a lot of credit, but a lot of things that were set up for Joe to be successful came through Andrew, came through the whole Sternberg group,” Archer said. “And Andrew had the loudest voice out of everybody.”
Although he has compiled a 4-13 record and a 4.68 ERA this season, Archer is certainly in a position to benefit from a change of scenery in a pitcher-friendly park, having recorded a career 3.56 ERA, a 3.53 FIP and a 9.2 K/9 in five big league seasons.
The 26-year-old Odorizzi tossed six innings of two-run ball and struck out seven en route to a 5-2 victory. He lowered his season ERA to 4.39 and improved his K/9 to 8.54, while lowering his walk rate to 2.85. In five major league seasons, Odorizzi owns a 23-29 record with a 3.93 ERA, a 3.87 FIP and a 8.2 K/9.
Rumors fizzled just before last year’s trade deadline when the Dodgers were said to have an interest in dealing for Odorizzi and lefty reliever Jake McGee.
Scouts from the Dodgers were also present for Matt Moore‘s start on Saturday in the middle game of the Orioles’ series.
The 27-year-old lefty threw 7-1/3 innings in a 2-1 loss and dropped his ERA to 4.33. Moore has also put up 7.58 K/9 against 2.63 BB/9 this season. In six big league seasons, he has gone 94-92 with a 3.93 ERA, a 4.18 FIP and a 7.6 K/9.
All three pitchers were members of the Rays’ organization when Friedman was leading the franchise.
With a 35-56 record in mid-July, the Rays are almost certain to be sellers before the deadline, now trailing the Orioles in the American League East by an even 15 games.
Outside of ace Clayton Kershaw, who is presumably scheduled to return from a back injury sometime next week, it’s really tough to guess who the Dodgers would include in a conceivable playoff rotation, if the club did indeed clinch a spot in the postseason.
With Brandon McCarthy and Hyun-jin Ryu now entrenched in the rotation, both Alex Wood and Brett Anderson are on schedule with their own rehabilitation stints, and if everyone is able to stay healthy over the next month or so, not even the bullpen will have enough spots to accommodate the Dodgers’ overflow of starting pitchers.
Not including any prospective deals before the deadline, when all the starters are healthy, including the returns of Wood and Anderson, the Dodgers would have about eight different starters to choose from when considering a starting rotation in the early days of August.