Dodgers: Kershaw and McCarthy Injuries May be Signs to Get a Pitcher

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 23: Clayton Kershaw
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 23: Clayton Kershaw /

Just when it appeared the Dodgers were comfortably going to sit out this year’s non-waiver trade deadline, they may need to be very active now. Clayton Kershaw willextended time after tweaking something in his lower right back. To make matters worse, Brandon McCarthy will also see time on the DL as he battles blister issues.

Last season, Clayton Kershaw missed ten weeks for the Dodgers due to a herniated disc in his lower back. Almost 13 months to the date, he’s re-injured his lower back. Although it is not confirmed, it’s the same injury, and he will go on the DL for 4-6 weeks, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

Meanwhile, Brandon McCarthy re-aggravated his index finger blister during Thursday’s rough outing against the Braves. Yes, Brandon McCarthy not Rich Hill. McCarthy threw a 42-pitch bullpen session on Sunday, but evidently, it did not convince anyone he was ready. Both he and Kershaw will be out indefinitely.

There have been rumors linking the Dodgers to Yu Darvish. In 2017 he has a 3.44 ERA with 143 K’s and a 1.11 WHIP in 133.1 innings pitched. Darvish would provide the Dodgers with a right-handed top-of-the-rotation arm that many have wanted for the last year-and-a-half.

Of course, if bringing Darvish over was easy, it would have been done. Some problems with Darvish himself is his high walk rate and injuries. He’s averaged 3.4 walks per game over his five-year career and only made 30 starts once.

That’s just on the field. From a front office perspective, making a deal with Darvish looks difficult as of now. With the all-in Cubs and other teams in the mix for Darvish, the price for Darvish may be driven up. The Dodgers are not willing to part with their top prospects, Alex Verdugo and Walker Buehler. However, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News via Twitter, Rangers scouts were spotted at Verdugo’s game on Friday.

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Before Kershaw and McCarthy’s injuries, there was no way either of the two prospects would be traded away for a rental. However, depending on the results from the rest of Kershaw’s tests and how the rest of the rotation fairs, the Dodgers may do some listening.

Justin Verlander’s name has also been in the mix along with Justin Wilson’s. Trade talks have cooled in recent days, but a deal bringing both may make sense now. Unlike Darvish, bringing Verlander means eating his contract until it expires at the end of the 2020 season. Verlander hasn’t been as impressive as last year, with stats that look similar to Kenta Maeda’s but just with more innings pitched. Interestingly, the former Cy Young Winner and MVP would be the add-on in this deal.

The Tigers are about to rebuild and know the only player that has the Dodgers’ interest is Justin Wilson. Using this, they will try to unload Verlander on the Dodgers as Boston did with Carl Crawford in the Adrian Gonzalez deal. They will also probably demand the best or many prospects from the Dodgers. Fortunately, Verlander’s been known to turn it on as the postseason nears and the Dodgers would fulfill their left-handed reliever needs at the same time.

Another name that’s been thrown around is Sonny Gray, but nothing much has come out of those rumors. So far, most of the interest is coming from the Astros and Yankees.

The A’s, like the Rangers, are demanding top prospects for their pitcher. The only difference is that Gray is controllable through 2019, while Darvish is a free agent. That’s why it probably makes more sense to pursue him, even if it means giving up a top five prospect. In his last five starts, Gray has lowered his ERA from 4.84 to 3.66.

Next: Dodgers: Kershaw vs. Scherzer

Unlike last year, there are strong options for the Dodgers in the starting pitching market. However, after giving up Jose DeLeon for Forsythe in the offseason, the Dodgers may be reluctant to trade away another top prospect for a rental or salary consumption. Let’s also not forget the Dodgers’ staff handled Kershaw’s absence last year well. So the option to keep what they have and hope for the best is also on the table. It all depends on how the team performs and what news develops in the next week before the non-waiver trade deadline passes.