1. Pablo Lopez
OK. Fine. The Marlins might hold on to Lopez for all of 2022 or, at the very least, wait until the buzzer at the trade deadline to suck every last bit of value out of him.
But like we mentioned with Perez … can Lopez sustain this for two and a half more months? The righty currently leads MLB with a 1.05 ERA and also sports a 0.81 WHIP and 2.3 WAR through his first seven games (43 innings). His Baseball Savant page? All DARK RED … with the exception of fastball velocity and fastball spin.
Lopez’s five-pitch offering (fastball, cutter, sinker, changeup and curveball) would almost be unfair on the Dodgers’ staff, and acquiring him would be a hefty price to pay, since he’s controllable through the 2024 season. Why not cut the line now and pay the premium (but less of a premium than you likely would up against the deadline)?
The Marlins have long had one or more starting pitchers mired in trade rumors the last few years, but the recent contract extension for Sandy Alcantara (five years, $56 million) might’ve ruled him out as a potential trade candidate. Lopez, who will have drastically rising arbitration costs these next couple seasons if his production continues ($2.5 million salary in 2022 will likely be over $10-12 million by 2024), might be the leading candidate to help the Marlins acquire more talent, since they already have a rotation that boasts Alcantara, Trevor Rogers and Jesus Luzardo (with prospects Sixto Sanchez, Max Meyer and Edward Cabrera potentially not far off, if all goes as planned). The Marlins have a surplus of pitching at all levels and could stand to improve almost every offensive area of the roster with the exception of second base (which is occupied by Jazz Chisholm Jr.).
It’s unclear what Lopez might cost, but the Dodgers should try to get ahead and see what the Marlins are at least looking for, because maybe they can satiate their needs earlier (and better!) than anybody else.