16 trade targets the Dodgers need to avoid at the deadline

You know who you want the Dodgers to trade for, right? Good. Now here's an extensive list of who they need to avoid.
Mar 4, 2023; Surprise, Arizona, USA; Kansas City Royals pitcher Zack Greinke against the Los Angeles
Mar 4, 2023; Surprise, Arizona, USA; Kansas City Royals pitcher Zack Greinke against the Los Angeles / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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The trade deadline is fast approaching and the Los Angeles Dodgers find themselves on a pretty decent roll. They're keeping pace with pretty much the entire National League and have made up considerable ground on the Diamondbacks over the last few weeks.

That said, the Dodgers could still use some reinforcements at the trade deadline. Getting another starting pitcher with all of the injuries they have had to deal with would be nice. The bullpen could use a couple of upgrades as well, but every team in the league could reasonably say that. There's also the lingering question of the shortstop position, and while there are a couple of options that may be available, it's a pretty shallow pool of options this year.

The elephant in the room for the Dodgers with any move they make is their payroll. The Dodgers desperately want to remain closer to the first luxury tax threshold so that they can avoid another hefty financial/draft penalty next season. If they can manage to do that, they can pull out all of the stops in pursuing Shohei Ohtani this offseason, and even if that doesn't work out, it should still save LA a pretty penny in taxes and allow them to add payroll elsewhere.

Given all of that, the Dodgers have to really thread the needle at the deadline between "getting better players" and "saving money." The latter could be helped by trading a player or two themselves that would take some money off their books, but the Dodgers will still have to be very selective at the deadline. And they definitely shouldn't be chasing these players

Which players do the Dodgers need to avoid at the trade deadline?

Starting pitchers

The Dodgers could use another starting pitcher at the trade deadline. While Julio Urias is back and Bobby Miller has been pretty good since getting promoted, the lingering uncertainty around guys like Dustin May and Ryan Pepiot has them very short on depth in the rotation. But that doesn't mean they should be chasing anything that's available.

Carlos Carrasco

Carrasco is an inspiring story as he came all the way back from a blood cancer diagnosis and multiple injuries in 2021 to put together a really nice season in 2022 (3.97 ERA). However, he's 36 years old, sports a 5.16 ERA with drastically worse strikeout and walk rates in 2023. He's also making $14 million this season. He could turn things around, but it's not worth it for the Dodgers to try and fix him.

Jack Flaherty

Jack Flaherty was on the fast track to being considered one of the best pitchers in the entire league after his 2019 season. Unfortunately, a series of injuries have plagued him in recent years and his command has gone in the dumpster. His contract isn't too onerous for 2023 and he's free agent after that, but, again, why should the Dodgers be pursuing anything other than "sure things" or controllable options?

Zack Greinke

There are plenty of fans that wouldn't mind a reunion with Greinke, as he posted a 2.30 ERA over three seasons with LA. Unfortunately, that was close to a decade ago and Greinke isn't the same guy at 39 years old. His 5.44 ERA is the worst he has posted since back in 2005 and he's making $8.5 million this season. There are just better options available that won't cost nearly as much.

Lance Lynn

Lynn was perennially underrated during his time with the Cardinals and Rangers. However, he's a changed pitcher these days as his underwhelming Statcast page will tell you. Lynn is also making $18.5 million this season, which is way more of a financial commitment LA needs to take on, let alone on a guy that has a 6.03 ERA this season.

Justin Verlander

Father Time appears to have finally come for Verlander. After signing a two year, $86.66 million deal with the Mets, Verlander's strikeout rate has cratered and he does not look like a guy that has won two Cy Youngs in the last four years. At 40 years old and a player who is owed a ton of money and hasn't been particularly great, Verlander is a hard pass for the Dodgers, especially since they avoided him at that price tag while he was at his peak.

Max Scherzer

You can basically copy and paste the Verlander section here. Scherzer has had an amazing career, but he has looked decidedly mediocre this season, will turn 39 soon, and is owed a ton of money. Definitely not a fit for what the Dodgers need to be doing at the trade deadline. They already avoided him at this price, too, so why would they be more interested now?

Trevor Williams

On the surface, Williams seems like he could be a reasonable target for the Dodgers. He doesn't walk a ton of guys, and while his 4.34 ERA isn't exciting, he doesn't come with a big financial commitment (and in fact has an extra year of team control). The problem is that Williams has only been this good because of a lot of smoke and mirrors. He gives up a lot of hard contact and his peripheral numbers scream that regression is coming to claim him.