If there is one thing that the Los Angeles Dodgers can confidently say they are the best at it is getting the most out of pitchers. Time after time the Dodgers bring in pitchers who looked broken previously only to turn them into all-star-caliber arms in LA.
They don't always work out (looking at you, Noah Syndergaard), but when they do work out, it can be hugely impactful for the team. Guys like Alex Wood, Ross Stripling and Tyler Anderson have all been pleasant surprises for the Dodgers who played huge roles for the team.
It is an annual tradition for the Dodgers to bring in at least one pitching reclamation project that they hope to turn around. When it works, the Dodgers get a solid pitcher for a low market price and said pitcher gets to increase their value to sign a new deal the following offseason.
This winter there is one painfully obvious Dodgers reclamation project who could turn into a very impactful member of the rotation: Jack Flaherty.
Jack Flaherty is the perfect Dodgers reclamation project
The Dodgers are going to need some big-league pitching help in 2024, and while there are big names the team could certainly pursue, taking a flyer on Flaherty (with or without adding any big names) feels like the most obvious offseason move.
Flaherty was once one of the most promising young arms in the game, but has struggled in recent years. The right-hander made just 23 combined starts in 2021 and 2022 and, even at full health in 2023, could not return to his old form.
Flaherty had a decent season going with the St. Louis Cardinals before he was traded to the Baltimore Orioles, where he imploded. Flaherty owned a 6.75 ERA with the Orioles and finished the 2023 season with a 4.99 ERA and 1.580 WHIP.
Those numbers certainly tanked Flaherty's value as he enters free agency, putting him right in the Dodgers' price range as a reclamation project. Flaherty would likely sign a deal similar to what Syndergaard did last winter, which was a one-year deal for $13 million. That is certainly manageable for the Dodgers.
Flaherty's velocity is near identical to his 2019 (his best season) marks and his spin rate is even better than it was in 2019. There are some pitch usage numbers that the Dodgers could adjust, but in large part, it is an execution issue for Flaherty. Flaherty lived down-and-away with his slider in 2019, but in recent years has seen that pitch bleed more over the plate, which has resulted in hard contact.
The great stuff is still there. He just needs the right team to maximize that stuff to get him back to his 2019 form where he led the league in WHIP and hits allowed per nine innings.
As the Dodgers have proven time and time again, they are the best team at doing just that. Any mechanical tweaks that need to be made will get figured out right away. Then, Flaherty will benefit from the best scouting in the league, while also benefitting from a great Dodgers defense and a pitcher-friendly stadium.
Los Angeles has already shown interest in Flaherty, as there was trade speculation around him before he was traded to the Orioles. Flaherty is also from Los Angeles, which gives him a personal incentive to come home for at least a season.
All the writing is on the wall for the Dodgers to sign Jack Flaherty this offseason in the attempt to try and "fix" him. And, knowing the Dodgers, they will manage to pull it off.