As the trade deadline steadily approaches, should the Dodgers go after a starting pitcher to help make their October push?
Heading into this season, a big question that loomed for the Dodgers was replacing former SP Zack Greinke. The offseason signings of Kenta Madea and Scott Kazmir were viewed as his replacement, but so far the Dodgers rotation has been slightly underwhelming. As we approach the halfway mark of the season, the Dodgers have already used eight different starting pitchers. Due to injuries and a combined ERA of 3.63 among starters, the question has started to circulate; should the Dodgers trade for another starting pitcher?
Of the starting pitchers rumored to be moved before the deadline, Atlanta Braves ace Julio Teheran seems to be the most prized amongst contenders. Teheran has been excellent for the struggling Braves this year, posting a 2.46 ERA to go along with a 0.89 WHIP and 8.4 K/9. To put those numbers in perspective, Teheran’s WHIP is second in the league behind the Dodgers own Clayton Kershaw. In his past 21 starts, Teheran is holding opponents to a .192 average while allowing 2 earned runs or fewer in 16 of those starts. This could be exactly what the Dodgers need for their playoff push and possibly the future, but how much would Teheran cost?
The Braves have been rebuilding since last season, trading many of their former regulars for high-profile prospects. Teheran has remained with the club through all of the recent moves, mainly because of his team-friendly contract. Teheran is under contract through 2020, with an average base salary of 5.5 million. This is the definition of a bargain in today’s league, with guys like Mike Pelfrey getting 9 million a year. Because of this, the asking price for Teheran seems to be rather high, and rightfully so.
With the stockpile of arms in the Braves system, they most likely will be targeting bats in return. For the Braves, outfielders Alex Verdugo or Cody Bellinger seem to be the options that make the most sense for them. If they wanted to go more for the major league ready guy, I do not think that Yasiel Puig would be out of the question either. I know the idea of losing a top prospect or Puig might not seem ideal, but it would definitely worth it this year and for years to come.
Having a successful trio of arms for October is extremely important, as you usually cannot win with just one ace. A playoff rotation of Kershaw, Maeda, and Teheran would be a tough wall to crack in a playoff series, making it seem worth it to make a move now for the playoffs.
The added benefit of Teheran’s contract is really what makes this move a no-brainer for the Dodgers. With Teheran being the best arm on the market this season, the Dodgers should make sure to take advantage of this before another contender does.