Happy Trade Deadline Day, Los Angeles Dodgers fans! The mill is spinning and your favorite team is reportedly hot on a number of pitchers, most notably Justin Verlander, who has dominated headlines ever since the New York Mets shipped Max Scherzer out of town.
The Dodgers and Astros have been the two suitors most often mentioned in Verlander rumors, but any trade for the former MVP remains complicated. He's been one of the best pitchers in baseball over the last six weeks, so the Mets probably won't be looking to bail on him like they did Scherzer.
Additionally, Verlander is making $43.33 million next year (the highest AAV in MLB) and he carries a $35 million vesting option for 2025 if he pitches 140 innings in 2024. So when you talk about inheriting that kind of money as well as surrendering prospects, it's understandably a lot to digest.
Another wrinkle here? "Msytery teams" (yes!!) have entered the mix. And you'd have to guess contenders with small payrolls and strong farm systems -- such as the Baltimore Orioles, Cincinnati Reds and Arizona Diamondbacks -- could be in the mix and have an edge over the Dodgers.
Expect this ordeal to come down to the buzzer at 3 p.m. PST on Tuesday.
Dodgers News: Justin Verlander, Mitch Keller, Eduardo Rodriguez, Diamondbacks' trades
Verlander isn't the only pitcher the Dodgers have their eyes on, though. Pirates right-hander Mitch Keller and Tigers left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez are two others that have been connected to LA.
Starting with Keller, it's always felt unlikely he'd be traded unless Pittsburgh was absolutely blown away in trade talks. The 27-year-old is controlled through 2025 and was an All-Star this season after building on his breakout 2022.
Dodgers' radio host David Vassegh of AM 570 LA Sports claims to have an inside scoop on Keller's relationship with the Pirates, however, and it could change things for the Dodgers.
Rodriguez, on the other hand, is almost certainly going to be traded. The Tigers, though in a weakened AL Central, are still a disappointment, and Rodriguez has largely let them down after signing a five-year, $77 million contract with Detroit after the 2021 season.
The good news is that Rodriguez is only making $14 million this year and he has an opt-out clause that he'll likely exercise in the offseason, so any trade for the veteran lefty would more than likely be a rental, thus bringing the price down. In 15 starts this year, Rodriguez owns a 2.95 ERA, 3.17 FIP and 1.03 WHIP with 91 strikeouts in 88.1 innings of work.
He missed nearly six weeks of action this year after rupturing a pulley in his finger, but has since pitched through the month of July with mixed results. Regardless, his presence would greatly help a struggling Dodgers rotation.
The Dodgers have already acquired four players of their own, but the division-rival Diamondbacks aren't going away. On Monday, they made two deals with the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics.
Coming from Seattle was closer Paul Sewald to help strengthen the back end of the their bullpen. Arizona traded Josh Rojas, one of their utility players, in the deal, so they called up Oakland and brought in Jace Peterson to counteract the move.
Rojas started out the year on fire but has since flamed out. Peterson's not exactly an impact player, but he's been more consistent and is arguably a better defender.
The Dodgers' lead over the D-backs is only 3.5 games in the NL West race, so they need to be on high alert with any other imports coming to the division. Arizona is clearly buying to improve their standing, which, in theory, puts some pressure on the Dodgers.
But this is Andrew Friedman's Super Bowl. He lives for coming in at the last second to shock the world.