At the moment, the Los Angeles Dodgers‘ 2022 roster is far from complete. While the starting nine is set, the depth and pitching staff need some serious work.
And if Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen don’t come back, it’s going to be even worse. It was hard enough for LA to replace Joc Pederson and Kiké Hernandez … so what’s going to happen when two team legends depart?
In terms of the Dodgers’ needs, free agency is fairly barren unless they want to make a costly splash at a position that doesn’t necessarily require a glaring replacement. That’s why there’s belief Andrew Friedman is going to hit the trade market with aggression when the lockout is lifted.
When it comes to starting pitchers, the Dodgers are looking at a reunion with Kershaw or a short-term high AAV deal for Carlos Rodon as the most notable options on the open market. But teams around the league have assets they’re willing to part with, and the Dodgers have the league’s eighth-best farm system.
Who might the Dodgers contact to discuss starting pitching trades?
Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic (subscription required) conducted Part 2 of his mailbag on Thursday and gave us some insight on what he thinks LA might do to address the rotation when transactions are permitted again.
"“Do I believe the Dodgers will add another starter, potentially beyond bringing back Kershaw? I think it’s likely. But will it be someone at the top of this free-agent class? I’m not so sure. I think it would make sense for the Dodgers to swing a deal for a controllable starter on one of several clubs who don’t seem that interested in competing (Oakland’s Chris Bassitt and Frankie Montas come to mind, along with Cincinnati’s Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray), though the Dodgers have had to dig into their farm system of late.”"
We’ve previously written/speculated about potential matches with the A’s and Reds, but it always helps to be validated by a trusted insider. Additionally, the A’s have Sean Manaea who could be available, giving the Dodgers a left-handed option. Right now, however, we’re unsure what it would take to land one of these five arms since everything’s been on hold and Oakland and Cincinnati haven’t been able to compare offers.
The Dodgers haven’t neglected this front completely, but we’re willing to say Andrew Heaney, Daniel Hudson, Carson Fulmer and Sam Gaviglio won’t be enough to make this a 95-win team.
One of the aforementioned five arms, however, would give them a formidable 1-2-3 punch even without Kershaw. Throw in the possibility top prospects Bobby Miller and Ryan Pepiot might be ready during the second half of the season (and more than likely won’t be moved in one of these deals), and the Dodgers will be in fairly good shape.
But they definitely have to make a trade to insure themselves from Trevor Bauer’s situation and Kershaw’s possible retirement/departure or else we’ll be looking at overused pitchers faltering down the stretch just like we did in 2021.