Remember back in spring training when the Los Angeles Dodgers had more starting pitchers than they knew what to do with?
While the Dodgers’ deadly lineup and stacked bullpen were supposed to be their calling card, the depth of their rotation really had them poised to repeat as champs.
However, flash forward to mid-July, less than two weeks away from the trade deadline, and the Dodgers’ rotation is in utter shambles. Not only that, but it looks like some of the deadline’s top names, including Max Scherzer and Jose Berrios, are unlikely to be dealt.
In any event, the Dodgers should look to add a starter regardless of whether it comes in the form of a blockbuster deal. Luckily for them, veteran Cole Hamels, a San Diego native, is looking to make a comeback and he would be a perfect fit for Los Angeles.
According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Dodgers were one of numerous teams that attended Hamels’ latest workout and the lefty impressed, clocking out at a maximum of 90 MPH after pitching just 3.1 innings for the Braves last season.
The Dodgers better be in on the Cole Hamels sweepstakes.
What more incentive could the Dodgers possibly have? Dustin May is done for the year after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Clayton Kershaw (elbow inflammation), looks like he’s going to spend more time on the injured list than the club initially thought.
Further, free agent prize Trevor Bauer is unlikely to pitch again this year while he’s entangled in sexual assault allegations. David Price, on the other hand, though he’s rejoined the rotation, hasn’t thrown more than 51 pitches in an outing this year.
The Dodgers have also been monitoring Tony Gonsolin’s innings. Though 25-year-old right-hander has maxed out at 83 pitches, which came in his last start vs the D-Backs, he hasn’t lasted longer than 5.1 innings in six starts this campaign.
While Hamels isn’t the dominant southpaw he was during his prime, he has plenty of postseason experience and could likely be signed for pennies on the dollar. For context, he has both a World Series MVP and NLCS MVP on his resume, which further explains why 20 teams (!) attended his showcase, per MLB Network insider Jon Heyman.
For any Dodgers fans concerned about the 37-year-old’s health — shoulder inflammation and fatigue limited him to one start with Atlanta in 2020 — all reports indicate he’s fully healthy and ready to log a starter’s innings for the first time since 2019.
What more needs to be said? The Dodgers figure to be active ahead of the July 31 deadline, but winning the Hamels sweepstakes should be considered a must by the front office.
We’re not saying the four-time All-Star would fix all of the rotation’s issues. However, the club can do a lot worse than signing a proven big-stage pitcher who’s equally effective against right-handers as he is vs left-handed hitters.
Make it happen.