Should Dodgers Seek Starting Pitching Help Before 2017 Trade Deadline?

(Mandatory Credit: Louis DeLuca – SportsDay/Dallas News)

Right at the tail end of an offensive hiatus last week, we discussed the possibility of the Dodgers having the desire to pursue offensive help before the 2017 trade deadline. Yet as the lumber once again awoke from the dead — powered primarily by the fuel of youngsters Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger — many fans are now turning their attention to the starting rotation, which may ultimately lack the required depth to make a run deep into the postseason this autumn.

The recent news of shoulder problems for 20-year-old lefty Julio Urias doesn’t help much as far as depth goes, and the current trends of Rich Hill, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Kenta Maeda aren’t very promising at all. However, both Alex Wood and Brandon McCarthy have been surprisingly effective this season when not on the disabled list, and based on current progressions, could combine with staff ace Clayton Kershaw to form a very formidable top three. But is a crew headlined by Kersh, Wood and McCarthy strong enough to succeed in the playoffs, assuming that the Dodgers are headed towards a postseason berth?

Looking around the National League, the Nationals certainly have the most elite rotation with Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Tanner Roark, and should cruise into the playoffs barring a serious injury epidemic. If the Cubs are able to regain any type of focus, the grouping of Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta and John Lackey are always dangerous, but could be considered among the best rotations in the league if Kyle Hendricks recovers from tendinitis in his right hand. Inside the NL West, the Rockies and the Diamondbacks are surprising all of baseball with their pitching, and if their respective starters continue to throw strongly, will make some serious noise during the stretch run of the regular season.

If the Dodgers do indeed decide to go shopping for a starting pitching upgrade, there may be a few possibilities which could prove to be beneficial. There’s always the lower to mid-level wave with arms like Alex Cobb, Jason Vargas and Jose Quintana, but common sense says that any of the above three wouldn’t be much of an upgrade over Maeda, Ryu or Hill. For Los Angeles to make a major splash, they’ll definitely have to set their sites on the top wave of the market, and look at several of the potentially available proven stars like Yu Darvish, Gerrit Cole, Chris Archer or Sonny Gray.

Naturally, the price tag for any one of these elite starters would be tremendously outrageous, possibly costing a generous package of the Dodgers’ top rated prospects on the farm. Gray is heading for arbitration next year, and Oakland could be a bit hesitant to pay dearly to keep him around for the long term. Cole would demand a huge return, still having two years of arbitration on his contract before free agency. Being in the final year of his own contract, Darvish would be a mere rental, but would certainly cost a fortune, as he has the skills to come in and immediately reshape any MLB rotation. Archer will still be under team control for quite some time, and could command the highest price tag of the entire group.

In the end, the management crew of the Dodgers will soon be faced with several critical decisions, mainly contemplating the need to sacrifice several prospective stars of the club’s future for a player or two who will conceivably improve the squad right now. Nevertheless, the biggest question lingering at the present juncture is whether or not to pursue any upgrades at all, perhaps deciding to roll the dice without making any major personnel changes.



18 thoughts on “Should Dodgers Seek Starting Pitching Help Before 2017 Trade Deadline?

  1. Definitely agree that there is no reason to go after mid-level arms. We have plenty of those already. I could somehow see Friedman swallowing hard and paying whatever he had to for his old friend Archer. Could also go after Darvish and try to re-sign him. All depends on the cost, player wise. I’m guessing we will see one of the four (Archer, Darvish, Cole, Gray) in blue by end July. With the exception of Cole, all the others are AL players so I figure we waive good-bye to Calhoun as part of the trade. They are probably feeling more and more comfortable with the idea of Taylor as the long-term second baseman.

    1. It’s tough seeing Pittsburgh ship out Cole, but considering a few of the talented youngsters they have on the fringe, they just might pull the trigger if they’re swept off their feet. I agree— Calhoun may be at the forefront of a package along with somebody like Verdugo.

      1. I’ve always assumed that Verdugo would ultimately be part of a trade package and that really didn’t bother me, but lately I’ve begun to have these feelings that he’s going to be really good for someone………………….and it probably won’t be us.

      2. Wild guess, but I would say maybe a 3 or 4. A lot of teams would like to have him. I wonder if the front office is still adamant about not moving Buehler or Alvarez. I’m a huge Buehler fan. Haven’t completely made up my mind about Alvarez yet, but that kind of arm at that age would be hard to send somewhere else. I’m guessing they couldn’t get Archer without one of those two guys. Might be able to work out something on Darvish, Cole or Gray because of the contract length and/or injury situations and still manage to hang on to Buehler and Alvarez. I can’t think of another prospect in the entire organization that they would refuse to move in the right deal.

      3. I agree–I’m really big on Buehler also. However, I have a feeling that Alvarez could be moved in the perfect deal, but it would need to be absolutely nothing short of ideal in the eyes of the front office. Just my gut thinking.

    1. I’m not sure you can even do that kind of stuff in MLB but even if you could, I doubt any agent would let Darvish agree to it without exposing him open bidding from all the teams after this season. Would lead to a much better/bigger contract in my opinion.

  2. Most of the Dodgers’ top prospects are in the low minors, which makes a trade involving prospects more difficult and dangerous. Only Verdugo and Calhoun, the only high-potential hitters who might be called up, are in AAA and Buehler just got promoted to Tulsa. Given the disappointing performance of Pederson and Puig, the team needs to keep Verdugo & Calhoun in reserve. It would be foolish for the Dodgers to give up on Buehler. He might even be their best alternative late in the season. Yes, the performance of the bottom of the starting rotation is a concern, but they have substantial depth, which they should rely on. Someone already in the system is likely to do as well or better than getting another hired gun. The Dodgers’ record at signing/trading starting pitchers has been iffy lately. I wouldn’t risk it.

    1. As long as we’re speaking about AAA prospects why don’t we ever hear anything about Kyle Farmer. He’s split the year between Tulsa and OKC (ratio of about 60/40 in at bats) and has a combined .343/.403/.529/.935 in about 200 at bats. He doesn’t hit for a lot of power but he plays both third and catcher. He might appeal to someone as part of a trade package since I don’t think he has much of a future in L.A. at the moment. That being said, I can’t argue with holding on to what we have, especially since all of the better pitchers that might be available have minor to major question marks.

      1. Good point about Kyle. Looks like his hitting has really improved. It would be great to see him in the majors, but as you pointed out, it seems that it will be most likely with another team.

    2. There’s always the chance of being wrong, but I see Calhoun as the expendable type only because of the presence of Forsythe, Enrique Hernandez and Chris Taylor in the bigs, And I say that while Willie is one of my favorite prospects. Although they’re two completely different types of players, I think DJ Peters will pass Verdugo on the organizational ladder in the next 18 months. And if I’m part of the front office crew, I say Buehler is untouchable unless completely blown away with an offer from another club. Right now, believe it or not, I think Joe Broussard is probably the most underrated prospect on the farm. Anywhere else, he’d be making a big impact in another team’s bullpen—he’s got quality stuff.

      1. Boy, you have quite a high opinion of DJ (or is it a not-too-high opinion of Verdugo?). I saw him play for RC earlier this season and it looks like he still has some holes in his swing. Hope they can cure that because he certainly has a lot of power. Funny you should mention Broussard. Just yesterday I mentioned to my son that we need to keep an eye on him. Haven’t seen him in person, but his numbers are great. I actually thought they might call him up this week but it looks like they needed a long man with all the other maneuvering they did so decided on Stewart. Another one to keep an eye on is Shea Spitzbarth, now at Tulsa. Looks like you’re very popular with the Jeff crowd Dennis. There’s Jeff and I’m Jeff D.

      2. High on Peters, lower on Verdugo. I have a really good friend who saw Broussard pitch a bunch at LSU. Nothing but good things to say not only about his pitching, but also his skills at captaining the squad for two consecutive years. However, I think his chances of being added to the 40-man anytime soon are relatively slim. I had a chance to sit down and talk with Shea a few months back…

Leave a Reply