The Los Angeles Dodgers haven’t done much this offseason, but they’re positioned better than almost any team when the MLB lockout ends.
As much as Corey Seager’s departure might’ve stung, it was clear the Dodgers prepared for it last summer by acquiring Trea Turner and holding onto Gavin Lux. As much as Max Scherzer bolting for the Mets might’ve hurt the depth chart … OK, there’s actually no upside to that one, which is the impetus for most of our theoretical trades listed below.
LA bringing Chris Taylor back was a stroke of genius just before the world shut down, and the offense will theoretically be fine no matter what happens when the curtain rises again on 2022, but the pitching … folks, the pitching …
Scherzer is gone. Clayton Kershaw is still technically floating out there. The 2021 Offseason Signing Who Must Not Be Named probably isn’t rejoining MLB anytime soon. Tony Gonsolin isn’t a sure thing. David Price was fairly unpitchable in his comeback season. Dustin May will be ready … someday.
Oh, and unrelated, but Max Muncy still isn’t ready. Perhaps the Universal DH could be good for him.
Bottom line, the so-called “luxury” trades we’ve gotten used to from this Dodgers regime won’t be quite so luxurious whenever they drop before the 2022 season. They’ll actually be pretty damned necessary in order for LA to compete with the NL’s best.
All that complaining out of the way, though … has anybody “won” the offseason? Really? The full-of-holes Mets splurged and stole the headlines, but the jury’s still out there and there’s simply no way of knowing their rotation is healthy. The Texas Rangers, a hardcore last-place team, added two star middle infielders and the Rockies’ No. 3 starter. The Detroit Tigers? OK, we actually like their offseason quite a bit, but they don’t have so much momentum the Dodgers can’t steal it.
With these three trades, Los Angeles could lengthen their rotation, break some hearts at first base, and win the offseason.
3 trades that could help the Dodgers win the offseason.
3. Dodgers Trade for Luis Castillo
Hey, we’ve been begging for this forever, so it’s time to hop back on the bandwagon, batten down the hatches, and let people know: Tyler Mahle’s available. Sonny Gray’s available. And Luis Castillo probably is, too.
We’re not saying the Dodgers should skirt lockout rules and give the Reds an illegal call before any other teams have the chance to, but … we’re not not saying that.
Early in 2021, it felt like Los Angeles had dodged a bullet by not paying a premium for Castillo’s services before the campaign started. It also felt like they might be able to swipe him at a bargain after this year wrapped. Neither of those notions are now true.
Castillo shook off a brutal May (0-6, 8.04 ERA, lower velocity) to rebound tremendously, going 2-2 with a 1.71 ERA in June and throwing up a second half that looked a lot more like the Castillo we remember (lol, he’s still just freshly 29).
5-6, 3.18 ERA, 96 whiffs in 85 innings. That work for you?
In order to woo Castillo, the Dodgers will need to part with one of their top three remaining prospects as a headliner (likely Ryan Pepiot or Michael Busch), then back that up with another top-10 name and two more top-30 fillers. Would you pull that trigger? Without Scherzer, Bauer and Kershaw, the Dodgers might not have a choice.