Some Los Angeles Dodgers fans saw the problem a while ago and knew it wasn’t going away! And when Walker Buehler left Friday’s game after 70 pitches with what ended up being elbow pain, it was all solidified.
Buehler won’t pick up a baseball for 6-8 weeks, per manager Dave Roberts, and will likely miss close to three months when rehabbing is all said and done (assuming his elbow strain doesn’t eventually require surgery).
Thankfully, the Dodgers’ rotation has largely held strong while it’s been battered. Guys like Tony Gonsolin and Tyler Anderson have been unexpectedly carrying the load. Andrew Heaney is set to return soon and Clayton Kershaw finally came back this past weekend. Even Mitch White and Ryan Pepiot have gotten the job done!
But that won’t be enough. We know, that sounds insane. The Dodgers have an All-Star roster and should theoretically be able to get by, but starting pitching is undoubtedly the most important ingredient to a World Series contender. LA can’t bank on being able to get by with Buehler out, Kershaw continuing to deal with injury issues, and Julio Urías potentially dealing with a bit of a regression.
Hope is far from lost, though. Last year, when the Dodgers were dealing with similar issues, Andrew Friedman acquired Max Scherzer and Trea Turner at the trade deadline. And he’ll have another opportunity to make a similar splash within the next month and a half.
With how competitive the NL West is while the MLB-best New York Yankees lurk in the AL, the Dodgers really need another ace or co-ace to guarantee longevity through October.
The Dodgers should target these 3 blockbuster starting pitching trade candidates
3. Nathan Eovaldi
This is all dependent upon how the Red Sox perform over the next month or so. At the moment, they’re fourth in the AL East at 32-29, which is actually good for the sixth-best record in the AL, but does GM Chaim Bloom really think this team has enough to make a postseason run?
Throw in the fact they have a lot of guys with value on expiring contracts — with starter Nathan Eovaldi leading the way — and a need to rebuild/re-tool with Xander Bogaerts likely leaving in the offseason, and it wouldn’t exactly shock anyone if Boston sold at the trade deadline and acquired more assets to better prepare for 2022 and beyond.
Eovaldi is making $17 million in the final year of his contract and the Red Sox would love to save around half of that money while getting young talent in return if they’re not closer to the top of the AL East at the end of July.
Right now, the right-hander is on the IL with a lower back issue, but he’s 4-2 with a 3.16 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 72 strikeouts in 12 starts in 2022. The only blemish is his 4.56 FIP and league-leading 16 home runs allowed, but both of those stats are highly inflated due to his horrific outing against the Astros back on May 17 (1.2 IP, 9 runs (6 ER), 5 HR). Outside of that, he’s been really good, and largely has been since 2018.
Don’t forget about his postseason success, either. Dodgers fans remember him well from Game 3 of the 2018 World Series, when he tossed six scoreless innings of relief in that 18-inning marathon (before surrendering the game-losing blow). Eovaldi owns a 3.14 ERA and 0.97 WHIP in 11 games (43 innings) in October.