Los Angeles Dodgers: 1 trade to make and 1 to avoid
By Adam Weinrib
The Los Angeles Dodgers need help filling out their rotation after adding several superstars at the tail end of spring training. What once seemed like the best modern baseball rotation has now been significantly hamstrung.
Great! Great. Cool. Work to do.
So, who should the Dodgers pass on? And who should they pursue?
Unfortunately, there aren’t many perfect options on the table, so we chose to keep things realistic.
If the opportunity arises, of course the Dodgers should bend over backwards to obtain Max Scherzer from the Washington Nationals. That’s the biggest game-changer on the market — if he’s on the market — and Los Angeles might just have to cut the Astros in line and offer Keibert Ruiz to get the job done.
As of now, that’s pure fantasy, though, and isn’t even worth realistically addressing here. Same goes for German Marquez, the Rockies ace who we have to suspect won’t be dangled within the division to the team that’s been pantsing the NL West for a solid decade. Didn’t happen with Nolan Arenado, won’t happen now.
After adjusting to those parameters, we think the most appealing option on the market for the Dodgers is …
1 Dodgers trade to make: Sonny Gray
Sonny Gray! The perfect mix of steadiness, star power and upside for Game 3 of a National League playoff series.
Since coming over from the Yankees following the 2018 season, Gray has gotten both his life and the life on his fastball back thanks to a reunion with his old Vanderbilt pitching coach Derek Johnson. Though he’s hit the IL a few separate times this year with nicks and bruises, he’s still struck out 86 men in 66.2 innings, far away from any innings restrictions during the stretch run. His 130 ERA+ will certainly fit in nicely behind Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw, especially considering he presents the type of swing-and-miss stuff that other available starters don’t.
Most importantly, he’s not a reach. If the Reds didn’t already see themselves as sellers as the midpoint of the season approached, they’ll definitely become exactly that as the injury news pours in from unexpected places.
Without Castellanos, why even put up a facade of midseason contention? Sell, sell, sell, and call the most desperate team in the West while you’re at it, which is a few guns short right about now.
1 Dodgers trade to avoid: Kyle Gibson
Unfortunately, Kyle Gibson has already hit his peak in 2021. If the Dodgers pay the price for his services, they’ll get something solid, yet untrustworthy in a playoff series.
In essence, you’re dealing assets for an innings-eater who might be equally valuable to Tony Gonsolin by the time October rolls around.
Gibson’s ERA sits at 2.86 after he was roughed up by the Detroit Tigers in his most recent start, but the Rangers are likely going to approximate his value at the even higher heights he reached earlier in the season. And why wouldn’t they? The world is desperate for pitching, and Gibby was very recently among the best in baseball.
Unfortunately, his 3.61 FIP and penchant for scattering singles without suffering the consequences would indicate there’s more room for his numbers to rise than there is for them to fall. Texas should ask for the moon, but LA doesn’t need someone to throw six innings every five days. They need high upside, and while Gibson will cost the same as Gray, he won’t be a fearsome opponent in any playoff series.