Dodgers may have found underrated trade deadline target in Chicago

The Cubs could sell at the deadline and might have what the Dodgers need.
Philadelphia Phillies v Chicago Cubs
Philadelphia Phillies v Chicago Cubs / Jamie Sabau/GettyImages

Hey, did you hear? The Los Angeles Dodgers are in desperate need of any and all pitching ahead of this year's trade deadline if they want to remain in the hunt for the NL West crown and improve their status as World Series contenders.

Let's go down the list. Dustin May is out for the year ... again. Clayton Kershaw just hit the IL. Julio Urías has been up and down this season and was impacted by a hamstring injury. Tony Gonsolin is not the answer. Noah Syndergaard probably shouldn't be on this roster. Bobby Miller is promising, but he's a top prospect tasting his first extensive slate of MLB action.

And you already know the story about the bullpen, a unit that actually improved drastically over the last couple weeks only to get hit with more unsettling news this week.

Andrew Friedman's work will be cut out for him, but did a layup on the trade market just emerge for him? Keep an eye on the Chicago Cubs, a team that really needs the next few weeks to determine their status before the trade deadline.

Even if they don't opt to sell, wouldn't they be interested in getting some value for veteran Kyle Hendricks, who had fallen off the map in 2021 and 2022 but is now rebounding this year?

Dodgers Rumors: Could Kyle Hendricks be a prime trade target for LA?

Hendricks suffered a capsular tear in his right shoulder, which was believed to have played a role in his 2021 struggles and eventually limited him to just 16 starts in 2022. He logged a 4.77 ERA, 4.89 FIP and 1.35 WHIP in 32 starts in 2021, then a 4.80 ERA, 4.82 FIP and 1.29 WHIP in 16 outings last year.

In 2023, he's flipped the script across his first eight starts with a 2.64 ERA, 3.46 FIP and 0.94 WHIP. He's missing bats at an incredible rate and is avoiding hard contact. Not bad after a long layoff in his age-33 season.

Why might the Cubs want to trade him, and why might the Dodgers be interested in an aging pitcher, though?

The Cubs are in some sort of rebuild/retool mode and Hendricks isn't around for the long haul. He's signed through 2023 with a club option for 2024 (valued at $16 million). One more year of Hendricks in Chicago isn't exactly going to elevate the Cubs, and they'd be better off freeing up that money to chase somebody else in the offseason.

As for the Dodgers, they need another veteran pitcher for both 2023 and 2024. Hendricks would be a nice mid-rotation piece to have in the event both Urías and Kershaw depart in the offseason (yes, a very possible worst-case scenario). With May out for another year, the Dodgers can at least guarantee rotation spots for Hendricks, Miller, Walker Buehler and Gonsolin for next season (with Shohei Ohtani as their top offseason target). And, even so, adding Hendricks into the mix would give LA insurance, allow them to use Gonsolin as a swing man, or give their up-and-coming top prospects some valuable tutelage from another experienced veteran.

What'll it cost? Probably not a whole lot. And it helps the Dodgers address their vacancies in 2023 while helping them better plan for an exodus in 2024.