3 Pitchers Dodgers Could Target Before 2021 MLB Trade Deadline


As far as major storylines go this season, it’s been one significant development after another for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

No question, a plethora of injuries dominated the first half of the year. Consequently, over the last full week, the circumstances surrounding the future of starting pitcher Trevor Bauer were the primary topics of most baseball outlets. Now, as we move through July, all the attention seems to be pointing to the days and weeks leading up to the 2021 MLB Trade Deadline.

As tough as it is to predict the success of the Dodgers on any given night, it’s probably equally as difficult to guess what front-office boss Andrew Friedman might do before the deadline. We’ve seen the team cruise to three sizable winning streaks so far this year, but we’ve also witnessed the squad amidst several dire losing skids. Similarly, for as many of us who think the team might upgrade player personnel in one area, Friedman just might surprise us and pursue a venture nobody saw coming.

Despite the inconsistencies of the offense, I’m one of those folks who believes that pitching is atop the priority list. Corey Seager — although we still don’t know exactly when — will return to the lineup at some point, in essence providing a personnel upgrade in itself. On the pitching front, the team could pursue a top notch (or several) arm, but it is certainly not limited to either starters or relievers. There’s enough flexibility on the team right now to move pitchers around into whatever roles suits the team best.

Regardless, I put a quick list of three pitchers together the Dodgers might pursue over the coming weeks. There’s been quite a few names linked to the team recently, so I decided to base my list on the pitchers who I think would benefit the team the most. We might be in store for a big splash this summer, as any marginal additions probably won’t be much better than what the team already has in house. Of course, the deciding factor of orchestrating a deal depends on whether two sides can reach an agreement by best serving each other’s needs.

Max Scherzer

In case you missed my Saturday column, I discussed a few possibilities the Dodgers might explore to replace Bauer in the rotation, whether his absence turns out to be temporary or more permanent. One of the first options I mentioned revolved around a potential acquisition of veteran righty Max Scherzer.

The 36-year-old future Hall of Famer is in the final leg of a 7-year/$210 million contract with the Nationals; but despite his age, his stuff is still among the best in the game. Known for his bulldog attitude, Scherzer definitely has the accolades to back up his reputation, even rivaling those of current Los Angeles ace Clayton Kershaw.

Over the coming weeks, Washington will be faced with the decision of becoming buyers, sellers, or staying put regarding player personnel. Sitting in third place in the National League East with a 41-43 record, it’s beginning to look like the Nats might sell, although Scherzer consenting to a deal might involve the receiving team offering him a contract extension beforehand.

Jon Gray

The chances of the Rockies dealing within the division might be slim, but they just could be at a low enough point right now to barter with the Dodgers if the return is right. Plus, these are the players who I think might benefit Los Angeles most, so 29-year-old Jon Gray feels logical to me.

The righty Gray has been sitting at around 95 MPH with his four-seam this year, which is down a tick or two from the near 96 MPH speed he flaunted back in 2019. Having a highly ranked spin rate throughout his breaking arsenal, he’s depending more on his slider these days as his out pitch. He has a 3.94 ERA this season; but surprisingly, his ERA is much better at Coors Field (3.22) than it is on the road (5.16). Still, a change of scenery can always be favorable, especially for a player on a team that has no chances of finishing even remotely near the top of the division.

Like Scherzer, Gray will become a free agent at the end of the season, should he not somehow be extended by a club beforehand.

Richard Rodriguez

Honestly, I think the chances of Pittsburgh dealing righty reliever Richard Rodriguez are quite slim, but they have done more unpredictable things in the past, and remember, this is my list of who I think might benefit the Dodgers the most — not which deals would be the likeliest to happen.

The 31-year-old Dominican native’s ERA is sitting at 2.43 over a whopping 32 games this year, but if you know me, you’re aware how I feel about ERA being an accurate measuring stick for a relief pitcher. His impressive 0.780 WHIP and respectable 2.30 FIP suggest he’s more effective than his ERA indicates. Rodriguez mostly throws a four-seam and curve, with his heater usually sitting right around 93-94 MPH.

If money is a factor, Rodriguez’s $1.7 million salary this year would fit nicely into almost any team’s budget. What’s more, he’s controllable the whole way through 2023. Pittsburgh just might bite, though, if the return is highly profitable.

32 thoughts on “3 Pitchers Dodgers Could Target Before 2021 MLB Trade Deadline

  1. I in all honesty do not think they will be able to get any of those guys. Lineup tonight is strange. Betts leading off with Pujols hitting second, Muncy 3rd and JT in the cleanup spot. Taylor 5th, Belli 6th, then Pollock Barnes and the pitchers spot. Both Lux and Smith sitting after making crucial errors last night, and Reed is the starter. Marlins switched to a lefty, Ross Detweiler. Dodgers have cancelled the Trevor Bauer bobblehead promotion and all Bauer merchandise has been removed from the team store. Mitch White to be activated tonight.

    1. Since Pujols has decent speed, maybe the two hole is better suited for him since he’ll be able to get around the bases a lot quicker than those hitting behind him. What other logic is there?

      1. That’s funny.

        I don’t see any baseball reason for this. Maybe it’s just an effort to see that Pujols sees more fastballs.

      2. Explanation follows: Lefty starting, Roberts believes it will give Albert at least 2 shots at him since he kills lefty’s. Pollock and Betts club HR’s in the 3rd, Pujols and Max get singles.

      3. Heard that. So he’s saying he wouldn’t have had 2 looks at this guy if he was hitting 4th? Seriously?

      4. I assume Uceta will be sent to OKC tomorrow and replaced by Nunez.
        Uceta just isn’t ready, although he may become useful at some point in the future.

      5. When they run out Jake Reed and Mitchell White to handle the first five innings of a game, I’m not really expecting good things to happen. I wonder how they’re gonna send out there on Friday when Kersh’s turn comes up.

  2. deGrom opts out of All Star game. Tsutsugo outrighted to OKC. No longer on the 40 man roster. White has not been activated yet,

    1. I’m surprised more players don’t opt out of that. Take the time off. Go home and sleep for three days.

      1. They are in trouble now, Kershaw to IL with forearm inflammation,

    1. Forearm inflammation? Is this the excuse being used to give him the time off all these starters are going to need? I expected this of course, I’ve been saying it for weeks now, but I didn’t expect to read forearm inflammation as the excuse.

  3. I could easily see both Gray and Rodriguez being traded.

    Rockies have absolutely no use for Gray at this point so why not get something for him.

    Rodriguez has two years left after this year. The Pirates will not be competitive within the next two years, so I very much expect them to trade him. They should be able to get some decent prospect capital for him which will help them get better down the road.

    Not saying either of those guys wind up here, but I expect both to be traded this month.
    Scherzer may be a late decision based on how the Nats are doing the last week of the month.

    1. On Scherzer, yep, I agree. A lot can happen before the end of the month. For example: some starters on contending teams could end up on the IL.

      1. Probably not Jefe. But, shat happens. Like unearned runs. Ooohh I hates unearned runs.

        We are not a good defensive club. Captain Obvious here again.

  4. Lux and Bellinger have to be the two most frustrating players to watch. I would rather see McKinstry out there everyday than Lux. Turner now hitting over .300. If Uceta never pitches again for LA I will be a happy camper. Putting the game in the hands of a kid with an ERA close to 6 in the 9th inning is about as stupid as it gets. They not only lost the series to the Marlins, they lost the season series. 2-4 against these hacks?? Pitiful,

  5. Captain Obvious strikes again. After the game Roberts declared to reporters that ” We have got to do the little things better” Oh really? Like score runs when you have multiple runners on base and less than 2 outs? Their offensive and defensive performance during the last 3 games shows that they had better start doing some of the big things right. I think a trade for a starter is closer than most people believe. And I could easily see it being Jon Gray.

  6. According to the Dodger website, after the game they activated Yoshi Tsutsugo. What???? They just outrighted the loser to OKC. They do not need another sub Mendoza line hitter on this team.

    1. Website corrected itself and reported the outright to OKC. If this clown never sees another game in blue it is fine with me.

      1. Dissociative Identity Disorder. We have issues with self coherence. Are we the team that won 9 straight or are we the team that can lose 3 in a row to a last place club? Obviously we are both. Bipolar.

        And what’s going on with Kershaw? If he does indeed have inflammation what exactly did the MRI show?

        And then there’s Bauer.

        My crystal balls have been telling me for a while now we would need pitching. My eyes are telling me the bullpen is being overused and this team needs about a hundred hours of defensive drills.

        The good news? We’re 7-3 with the next 4 games against last place clubs, 4 days off, then 3 more against Colorado in a tuneup for 4 against SF. What moves will be made between now and SF? We no doubt have another Nate Uceta with an ERA at or over 4 ready to get blowed up in the Majors. Is that the play? How many bullpen games is Roberts gonna try before a real move is made? Are we gonna reach for Pepiot this early? He’s got 41.2 innings of 0.97 WHIP at AA. A start against Arizona at home would be as gentle a beginning as could be offered. And if we aren’t going to,move on pitching this offense better wake the hell up cuz there are nights we are going to need 7.

        Bipolar baseball. Calls for a bicarbonate.

      2. Yeah, I’m starting to think the chances of seeing Pepiot sometime this weekend are decent. I believe it’s too soon for Gray in light of his shoulder.

  7. Trying to think who we will trade for a few pitchers. Nobody on the farm, no prospects that anybody would trade much for. Andrew is getting g desperate as he is admitting, as he continues to sign everybody’s cast offs. Nunez and Reed. REALLY! He is always reluctant to trade prospects and now he has none. It will only be free agents he will beable to acquire unless he can work some magic. We’ve been fortunate with injuries this year but all of a sudden Bauer and now kersh. This is getting desperate. 3 of our starting rotational no bullpen depth. Must be a lot of dfos knocking at the door. On the positive side we won today and bellinger got a hit!

    1. I’ve got to disagree on a couple of points in your comment Gordon.

      Nunez – not someone’s castoff. Signed out of Cuba in 2018 and has done quite well in the minors for us, averaging 14 K’s per 9 innings over 3 years. This by no means guarantees he’ll be successful, but his situation is different from some of the other guys we’ve seen who have been less than stellar. I’m assuming we’ll get our first look at him tomorrow. Hopefully he’ll go down a different path than the guys who have been on the OKC-LA train all year.

      Nobody on the farm – we have plenty on the farm, the only problem is that hardly any of it is MLB ready. Most of our better prospects are on the lower levels right now. That is of no help to us if we try to trade with a team who wants major league ready talent (for example, the Nats if they were to decide to trade Scherzer). On the other hand, teams like the Pirates, Orioles, D’backs, Rockies, etc. who are years away from being competitive would definitely settle for young, good prospects who are 2-3 years away.

      We do have a few MLB ready pieces such as Ruiz, so we’ll see if AF decides he’s willing to let that kind of prospect go in the right deal. At this point, I’m much more concerned about the starters than I am the bullpen but things change in a hurry these days and we still have 3 weeks left before the deadline.

      1. Oops. Sorry. I meant Feliz and reed. However if nobody on the farm is major league ready the farm is empty. The rest are just maybes and wishful thinking unless they are tearing up the farm like Lux did. God I hope he doesn’t trade Ruiz but it may be necessar

      2. Just remember, castoffs aren’t always the worst thing to add to a roster:
        Chris Taylor
        Max Muncy
        Justin Turner
        Jimmy Nelson
        Phil Bickford

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