Dodgers: 3 changes that can help LA leapfrog Giants in second half

Adam Weinrib
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 29: Walker Buehler #21 of the Los Angeles Dodgers runs to first as Darin Ruf #33 of the San Francisco Giants defends during the fourth inning at Dodger Stadium on June 29, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 29: Walker Buehler #21 of the Los Angeles Dodgers runs to first as Darin Ruf #33 of the San Francisco Giants defends during the fourth inning at Dodger Stadium on June 29, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images) /
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Kyle Gibson #44 of the Texas Rangers (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

1. Trade for a Starter and Reliever. Profit.

The Dodgers are going to need a boost to their rotation most never expected, and a boost to their bullpen almost everyone expected, to get past the Giants.

While Gray and Jackson could provide a spark internally, if Los Angeles hasn’t learned their lesson about never having enough arms by now, they might never do so. David Price hopes to be a significant part of the team’s rotation by the end of the season, but he’s still not stretched out in any meaningful way. Tony Gonsolin missed the lion’s share of the first half, and is still attempting to reemerge from the darkness in his 2020 form. Dustin May’s not walking through that door, and the other two missing pitchers (Clayton Kershaw and someone who’s not worth naming in the context of on-field action) remain question marks.

We’re going to attempt to kill two birds with one trade by arguing for the same deal we’ve been trying to manufacture for months: Kyle Gibson and Ian Kennedy to Los Angeles, use whatever mid-top-10 prospect pieces you have to in order to get there. Seek out a few players who’ll need 40-man protection from the Rule 5 Draft this offseason and attach them, regardless of pedigree. Everyone short of Gray and Keibert Ruiz should likely be on the table if the right upgrade comes along.

Gibson might be riding a career-best hot streak right now (4.1 WAR in the first half! 1.069 WHIP, which is nice!) but his steadiness could benefit the Dodgers significantly in the back half of their rotation. At the very worst, he’ll be an innings-eater with a mid-3.00s ERA for a team that, once again, is somehow starting relievers after entering 2021 with the most depth possible. Since he’s Kyle Gibson, he’ll cost a good amount, but here’s betting he won’t cost Max Scherzer capital.

As for Kennedy? For a while, he was leading the league in saves, but now he’s a paltry sixth with a 1.055 WHIP and 2.67 ERA. Blah, ho hum. Might look nice in Dodger Blue setting up for Kenley Jansen with a fearsome beard of his own.

Plus, every bullpen arm you trade for is one that doesn’t end up in orange and black. Not a bad way to get ahead.

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