MLB insider casually floats Walker Buehler-Red Sox trade that'll open fans' eyes

Los Angeles Dodgers v Colorado Rockies
Los Angeles Dodgers v Colorado Rockies / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages

Walker Buehler's return to the Dodgers hasn't worked out the way anyone had hoped. After an almost two-year absence, he made his season debut on May 6 against the Marlins and only went four innings while giving up three runs. Things only got worse over seven more starts, culminating with a four-inning, seven-run blowup against the Rockies on June 18. He was moved back onto the IL again the next day, with hip inflammation this time, but it seemed to invoke more relief than sympathy from fans.

Buehler's entire process to return was tumultuous, and although it probably would've been a lot shorter had the Dodgers acquiesced to his wishes to get back as soon as he thought he could, it was clear from his return start that something still wasn't quite right.

Still, the idea of trading Buehler isn't one that's been on anyone radar. As frustrating as those first outings were, he's still a two-time All-Star and Cy Young votes recipient, and it just feels unlikely that the Dodgers would forsake that after just 37 innings of work.

However, MLB insider Ken Rosenthal proposed a trade that would involve Buehler and see a longtime Dodger make a return to LA. In a discussion about Kenley Jansen's fate at the deadline, he suggested the Dodgers as a landing spot only if Boston could get a starter — in this case, Buehler — in return (subscription required).

Would LA really entertain that, or was this just a throwaway suggestion to explain how a Jansen trade could still make sense while the Red Sox were contending for a Wild Card?

Ken Rosenthal proposes Kenley Jansen-Walker Buehler trade that kind of makes sense

This trade definitely gives us some fun food for thought. Buehler is in a walk year, and as valuable as he's been to the Dodgers in the past, how inclined will they really be to keep him if he only manages to pitch 80 innings (or even less) this season? Shohei Ohtani and Dustin May are expected to join the rotation next season, Clayton Kershaw is likely to exercise his player option to stay, and Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Tyler Glasnow, and Gavin Stone are already locks for next season.

The Dodgers don't really need a closer, necessarily, not with Evan Phillips continuing to do what he does best, but LA could make him their setup man and allow Jansen to move back into a role he occupied for over a decade with them. He's already been connected to the Dodgers multiple times this season alone.

The Red Sox signed Liam Hendriks and Lucas Giolito (not to mention now-Dodger James Paxton in 2023) who both started the season on the IL, so they clearly have a proclivity for signing injury-prone pitchers. Buehler could be a relatively affordable rental who they could let walk in free agency when they inevitably don't want to deal him a large contract in the offseason, while Jansen would help LA's bullpen and even potentially finish his career in the same place he started it in.

Ken Rosenthal, you really might be onto something here.