The Los Angeles Dodgers’ rotation, as currently constructed, isn’t strong enough to win a World Series.
It’s strong enough to thoroughly dominate the regular season, given the likelihood of an additional Tyler Anderson type joining the fray with a moderate ceiling. But without a high-ceiling alternative to Walker Buehler, it’s unlikely the Dodgers can win a ring without a mega-super-ultra bullpen. The type of bullpen you read about in urban legends, but don’t believe actually exists.
Clayton Kershaw is a great starting pitcher, perhaps an excellent one. He is not, however, the Clayton Kershaw of yesteryear. Julio Urías is a No. 2 in No. 1’s clothing. Dustin May may break out! He also may have to join that Super Bullpen.
And then there’s Tony Gonsolin, who out-Tyler Anderson’d Tyler Anderson during the 2022 season en route to an All-Star berth, then saw his season derailed by an forearm issue that never quite resolved itself. His postseason resumé isn’t one to be proud of. A 1.1-inning-long playoff start/total postseason output is one hell of a way to overshadow and undo the splendor of a 16-1 regular season.
So, what can be done here? Will the Dodgers sign a high-profile free agent like Justin Verlander or Jacob deGrom and bump everyone down a peg? They’re reportedly considering it. But at the end of the day, does this team trust Gonsolin in October/November? Or do they equate him with Anderson, who they allowed to walk to the Angels after pulling him at 86 pitches in Game 4 of the NLDS?
Dodgers trade rumors: Tony Gonsolin to open rotation spot, supplement Marlins lineup?
If the Dodgers have moved past the idea of Gonsolin as an October difference-maker, they might be open to including him in the pursuit of the most readily-available top-of-the-rotation starter: Miami’s Pablo Lopez.
The story is sad, but true. The Marlins love their homegrown No. 2, but have too much young pitching talent for a team this middling, and Lopez reaches free agency after the 2024 season.
Though their asking price was reportedly absurd this summer when the Dodgers and Yankees tried to get something done, maybe the Marlins will have seen the light this winter after Lopez endured a difficult second half (and lost a half-year of control concurrently).
Gonsolin, a free agent after 2026, will not be the sole piece headed Miami’s way in a hypothetical deal. The Dodgers will also have to include an upper-tier offensive prospect — and maybe that’s slugging High-A outfielder Jose Ramos, MLB Pipeline’s No. 8 Dodgers prospect? The team left Ramos unprotected from the Rule 5 Draft at the 40-man roster deadline on Tuesday.
It’s unlikely anyone makes a play for someone who shouldn’t stick in the majors for at least another year and a half, but … trading Ramos to the Marlins would remove the risk of losing him for nothing.
Of course, there’s also the flip side here. Dodgers fandom is all about striving for greatness beyond greatness, but … maybe a healthy Gonsolin … is good enough? There are certainly plenty of MLB teams looking at Dodgers fans trying to trade him away and wondering how any group could be so unaware of what they have.
No. It’s the Dodgers fans who are right.
Gonsolin has likely already peaked at the MLB level during the 2022 regular season, and while he could make an All-Star team again elsewhere, Lopez is a win-now addition.
Oh, and don’t forget! Adding Lopez doesn’t preclude the Dodgers from signing deGrom anyway.