We are less than four days until the MLB July 31st Trade Deadline, and the Dodgers have highly been involved in multiple trade conversations. Many of these trade conversations have revolved around a top end starting pitcher or a left-handed reliever.
MLB Network’s Jon Morosi is reporting that the Dodgers have become “increasingly confident” they will acquire one of Yu Darvish, Sonny Gray or Justin Verlander by Monday’s deadline.
The news is not surprising considering the Dodgers have been linked to all three of these starting pitchers. Considering that the Dodgers have the ammunition in their minor league’s farm system to pull off a trade for just about anyone in the league, the news that they’re confident tells us how determined the front office is.
There has been a lot of discussions amongst Dodger fans as to which arm is the best fit for the Dodgers this season. The front office could go with the most expensive (dollar wise) option in Justin Verlander who is due $56 million over the next two seasons and is 34 years old. Or the Dodgers could choose to go with a rental in Yu Darvish who could be cheaper regarding the cost of prospects since he is a free agent this offseason. Or lastly, the Dodgers could choose to go for Sonny Gray, a younger, talented arm that is still under team control until 2020 and provides good upside for a former first round pick.
The report that the Dodgers are confident is good for Dodger fans. Over the last three seasons, the Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi have been reluctant to part ways with Dodger prospects in hopes of chasing a big fish. But now it seems that they see what the fans see, and that’s that the Dodgers are on the cusp of going to the World Series for the first time in nearly three decades.
Perhaps another factor that has moved the front office into being more aggressive to make a big splash was the injury to Clayton Kershaw. With the division virtually locked up with a 12 1/2 game lead over the D-Backs, the front office could be looking for someone to carry the load during the regular season to help maintain home field advantage throughout the postseason.
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Although nothing is certain, Kershaw is expected to return to the mound in four to six weeks, which gives him just a few starts before the postseason. Adding one of these three front line of the rotation arms bring more depth to the Dodgers rotation and also creates a nice righty-lefty 1-2 punch at the top.
Any one of these arms will be a great addition to the Dodgers pitching staff. Verlander brings a good deal of postseason experience, Darvish brings some electric stuff, and while Gray brings a lot of upside for the present and the future.
It’s all going to come down to cost when the Dodgers choose which arm they decide to trade for. The decision that Friedman and Zaidi make will show what the Dodgers’ plans are, whether it be to eat a big contract and hold on to some valuable assets, or trade assets to invest in the present.
My opinion I think the Dodgers should trade for either Verlander of Gray. Verlander has the postseason experience and has already pitched in the World Series (I’ll be it not successful, but experience counts). His numbers don’t suggest he’s anything like he was in the past but he seems to me like the best pitcher who can benefit from a change in scenery and could thrive as a number two.
I also like Sonny Gray because he’s still young at 27 and has two more years of control. He can be a part of this Dodger club for the years to come. I have trust in Rick Honeycutt to solve his mechanical issues and return him to his dominant form he was in his first two seasons. The issue with Gray is that because he’s young and under contract for two more years, the A’s are likely to ask for more top tier prospects. My reasoning for valuing Verlander over Gray is that the Dodgers could eat up the $56 million and hold onto some of their top level prospects. After all, what was that big TV deal for anyway?
All in all, I’m encouraged that the front office is looking to release the chains and make an impactful move. They sense that this team is special and championship windows like these don’t come very often. I’m curious to see which pitcher the Dodgers go for if indeed this report is true.
If I had to bet my money on it, I’d guess Sonny Gray is the choice. Gray reminds me a lot of the deal Friedman made when the Dodgers acquired Alex Wood. Since the Dodgers are trying to cut payroll and they would be unlikely to retain Darvish after this season, Gray makes sense for the front office. I’m not opposed to that move, I’d just rather see our money get taken away instead of mutiple prospects.