Dodgers can cross potential Royals trade target off their list

Jerry Trotta
SURPRISE, ARIZONA - MARCH 25: Starting pitcher Danny Duffy #30 of the Kansas City Royals throws against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the third inning of the MLB spring training baseball game at Surprise Stadium on March 25, 2021 in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
SURPRISE, ARIZONA - MARCH 25: Starting pitcher Danny Duffy #30 of the Kansas City Royals throws against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the third inning of the MLB spring training baseball game at Surprise Stadium on March 25, 2021 in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images) /
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With the highest payroll in baseball, the Los Angeles Dodgers cannot afford to have their postseason fate determined by a win-or-go-home Wild Card Game.

If the season ended today, that’s precisely where the Dodgers would find themselves, as they surprisingly trail the Giants by two games for the NL West lead.

While some of the Dodgers’ biggest bats, including Cody Bellinger and Mookie Betts, haven’t performed up to snuff thus far, it goes without saying Los Angeles’ greatest needs lie in the starting rotation and bullpen, both of which are short-handed.

The Dodgers will be heavily involved in the pitching market ahead of the July 31 trade deadline, and there figures to be no shortage of options for them to choose from.

Ironically enough, however, that list was shortened on Tuesday, as the Royals placed coveted southpaw Danny Duffy on the injured list with a hip flexor strain.

If we ran the team, we would be looking for active and healthy participants at the moment.

The Dodgers won’t be pursuing Danny Duffy ahead of the trade deadline.

Duffy was only placed on the 10-day IL, but it was retroactive to July 17. This does, however, mark the second time this season the 32-year-old has been sidelined with a flexor strain. He spent May 12 through June 23 on the injured list with the injury and returned to log a 3.72 ERA in 19.1 innings over five starts since then.

For the season, Duffy owns a 2.51 ERA with a 25.8% strikeout rate, a 1.213 WHIP and just 3.2 walks per nine innings. That performance, coupled with the Royals falling apart after their white-hot start to the campaign, has seen Duffy gain steam as a trade candidate. However, this injury will pretty much extinguish all possibility of a deal coming to fruition prior to July 30.

Though they already have Clayton Kershaw (in August) and Julio Urias, the Dodgers absolutely would’ve welcomed another left-hander to the rotation. At this point, they’ll take anybody and fans won’t feel encouraged that one of the club’s potential targets — one that likely could’ve been acquired at a discount, too — is likely no longer available with the deadline fast approaching.

Having said that, there’s no reason to hit the panic button. In terms of high-end targets, Max Scherzer is clearly in a class of his own, though it’d be shocking if the Nationals sold him. Stepping down a tier, you have Jose Berrios, Kyle Hendricks, Kyle Gibson, and German Marquez. There’s another handful of candidates we haven’t even mentioned, so the Dodgers should be fine.

President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman knows better than anybody that LA is desperate for pitching reinforcements. If you don’t trust him to navigate around Duffy’s injury news and make some deadline noise, you haven’t been paying attention.

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