Dodgers Target Braves Miller, FA Lackey

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To say that the Dodgers need starting pitching would be news to no one. By now it’s probably a bore to even hear it. To that effect, all I will say is the Dodgers need a number 2 starter (For more click here) What may be news however is that the Dodgers are seemingly less and less likely to operate at the top of the open market. Sorry guys, that means no Zack Greinke, no David Price, perhaps even Jordan Zimmermann and Johnny Cueto. If the Dodgers decide to delve into free agency expect them to pursue more mid-tier options such as Scott Kazmir or Yovani Gallardo. What’s becoming increasingly more likely however, is that the Dodgers look to the trade market to add to the rotation. Enter the latest rumour:

This is obviously very early stages but there could at least be a theoretical match here. The Dodgers and Braves have already teamed up on a deal (Alex Wood/Hector Olivera) since their respective new front offices have come to power and the Dodgers have plenty of pieces that could intrigue the Braves. Braves management have seemingly followed a pattern of pursuing young high end starting pitching in trades, something the Dodgers have plenty of. Several statements out of the Braves camp have also looked at boosting the offense in the near term. To that end, the Dodgers have Alex Guerrero, Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford who could all be easily moved on. 

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As for Miller, the former first-rounder and number 6 prospect in the game put up arguably his most productive season in the major leagues, compiling a 3.02 ERA and 171 strikeouts in 205.1 IP. His peripherals were solid, posting 7.56 K/9 and 3.20 BB/9. The latter number is perhaps a little concerning however remains in line with his career numbers although it was helped by a GB% slightly above league average. In short, Miller is a low risk, high reward type pitcher with plenty of upside still to be realized. The Dodgers could perhaps get hold of him in a deal that sends Grant Holmes (or Chris Anderson), Alex Guerrero/Ethier, Zach Lee and Jharrel Cotton for Miller and either Nick Swisher or Michael Bourn.

Turning our attention to the free agent market, the Dodgers are rumored to have interest in right-hander John Lackey. A 13 year veteran, Lackey is a 2 time World Series champion (2002 Angels, 2013 Red Sox) and was an All-Star in 2007. In 2015, lackey compiled a 13-10 record with a 2.77 ERA (143 ERA+) with 175 strikeouts in 218 IP. Those numbers were good for 5.7 WAR. Jim Duquette predicts to land a deal in the vicinity of 2yrs/$28M. Despite being 37 years of age, Lackey is a legitimate no. 2 starter in almost any rotation and at $14M represents better value than almost any arm at the top end of the market.

All of this is still in the speculation phase but it does highlight the Dodger’s thought process coming into the off-season. As Alex addressed earlier the Dodgers have also checked in on Cleveland’s starters, highlighting that the Dodgers are leaving no stone unturned in their search for starting pitching. If fans can be sure of anything it’s that the Dodgers are going to prioritize young, talented, controllable and cost effective starters before they turn to expensive free agents – an approach, that I would opine, is not unwise.

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