The Dodgers have made it a habit of acquiring a big name starter at the trade deadline the last couple seasons. Few players around the league figure to be as coveted as Chris Archer when this trade deadline comes around. There could be a fit, but it will prove extremely costly.
As new life has been giving to the never-ending Ryan Braun trade rumors, the Dodgers find themselves off to a slow start. Aside from Kike Hernandez and Yasmani Grandal, the bats have been cold. A Kemp/prospect for Braun trade could still go down. A trade which I’d heartily support. Mostly because Braun is better than Kemp at baseball. Probably in just about every facet of the game, and his career 1.000 OPS vs lefties, the Cubs, and in Dodger stadium don’t hurt either. Especially with the right-handed Justin Turner out for at least another month.
However, this season a starting pitcher acquisition could be much more necessary. While the depth is still strong, there are certainly some areas of concern. Kenley Jansen seems to be in a funk. Along with Jansen, Clayton Kershaw’s velocity is also down a tick. While Rich Hill and Alex Wood have started the season strong, they remain a constant threat to succumb to various injuries. Coveted youngsters Walker Buehler and Julio Urias figure to have bright careers, but also have potential injury concerns and may prove too young to contribute as much as we’d all like this season.
A hard-throwing, innings eating, right-handed strikeout machine would fit nicely in LA’s rotation alongside their talented, finesse inclined lefties. If you look around the league, there doesn’t figure to be a ton of guys available at this deadline that fit that criteria. Perhaps Marcus Stroman could be available, though his talent will be extremely outweighed by the cost of the deal that Toronto will be looking for. Maybe LA goes a different route and tries to snag another veteran finesse lefty, perhaps finding a way to finally bring Cole Hamels to the Dodgers. The Dodgers have been extremely quiet transaction wise since they acquired Yu Darvish. Perhaps they’ve been saving up money and hoarding prospects to bring home a shiny new toy, specifically Chris Archer of the Rays.
Archer is just about everything LA should be looking for. Over the last four years, Archer has thrown over 800 innings and accumulated over 900 strikeouts. His stuff his absolutely filthy, and should play well in the postseason. He also makes a paltry 15 million dollars over the next two years, which would fit the Dodger’s needs of staying below the salary threshold this year. The innings he eats should also help take some of the load off of Kershaw and specifically Kenley Jansen.
His ERA has actually hovered around 4.00 the last couple years, and I’m guessing that’s the main reason a rebuilding Tampa team has yet to trade him. I’d expect the Rays to see if Archer can come out the gates and produce a good first half, further raising his value before the deadline. Whatever happens, barring injury, it will require quite a ransom to get him out of Tampa and rightfully so. Chris Archer is the face of that franchise.
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Beyond their basic need of another right-handed starter, a trade between Tampa and LA could make sense. Of course, there is the Andrew Friedman connection, as he was Tampa’s GM for several years. Tampa probably has to trade Archer at some point, and they would love to trade him out of the division. That probably rules out other resource flush teams like Boston and the Yankees. The Cubs and Nationals stating rotations also seem fairly stacked.
LA continuously has one of the premier farms in baseball, and this year proves no different. Top prospect Alex Verdugo would almost certainly have to be included to headline a deal. LA has talented youngsters like Will Smith and Brock Stewart, who are soon to be sure-fire major leaguers but are blocked by a wave of talented Dodger depth.
If the soon to be free agent Yasmani Grandal can continue his strong first half, perhaps he could be flipped for more prospects to add to this deal. Austin Barnes certainly seems to be the catcher of the future, at least until Keibert Ruiz is ready. More would probably have to be included, but those names could be enough to start talks when the deadline rolls around. If the Dodgers can find a way to navigate a deal for Chris Archer that doesn’t include Ruiz or Buehler, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Chris Archer wearing Dodger Blue at some point this year.