1. Sonny Gray
Brandon McCarthy’s certainly earned a spot in the playoff rotation, but with his lingering blister issue, his consistency is questionable. Other than Kershaw and Hill, the Dodgers had no other starter who can give them more than four solid innings. This year they have Alex Wood to go along with the other two, but adding a dependable right-handed arm to mix in with three left-handers would settle nerves and make a statement that the Dodgers are all-in.
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It could also potentially break the Dodgers’ curse of failing to advance in a seven-game series, where four wins are needed. The issue with only having three dependable arms is it can allow the opposition back into the series. Adding that extra arm can shut down the series, and perhaps save Kershaw for Game 1 of the next series.
Now back to Sonny Gray. The reason why he ranks ahead of Darvish, despite Darvish having better stuff, is he’s under control through 2019. In addition, contrary to Darvish, Gray’s done better as the season’s progressed. In their last five starts, Gray’s lowered his ERA from 4.45 to 3.43, while Darvish raised his from 3.11 to 4.01. Unfortunately, the Dodgers have tough competition from the Yankees and the Astros, which may drive up the value. But, if the Dodgers were to go all-in, it would be this year and on this player.
The Dodgers are building a magical season. 71 wins in just 102 games, 28 comeback wins, and leading baseball in almost every significant category. They’re in a rare position where they hold the best record in baseball, and one of the best farm systems as well. It makes sense why the front office doesn’t want to trade away their top prospects. However, Los Angeles has been in dire need of a championship.
Last year, it made sense not going all-in at the trade deadline for a starting pitcher because there virtually was no market. However, now that the market has deepened it’s time to go all-in. If not this year, then when?