While nearly securing Eduardo Rodríguez at the 2023 trade deadline before the lefty backed away represented the Dodgers' highest-profile pitching failure of the season, Jack Harris of the LA Times recently revealed a number of other pursuits that could've supplemented the rotation, but never materialized.
E-Rod was Andrew Friedman's most notable 2023 failure, considering how prominently it came to roost once the rotation thinned out further in the second half. "Does Rodríguez want to be here, and will he approve a trade?" should've been Question No. 1. Not a "second day of negotiations" whim. Not a final sticking point. The beginning and the end.
But perhaps the Dodgers would never have been in such dire straits if they'd been able to close previously-discussed deals for Pablo López and Jordan Montgomery.
Both pitchers were reportedly in the Dodgers' sights "over the past year," though neither moved. According to Harris, Friedman was concerned over surrendering "fair value" and, in the end, received naught.
López was traded straight up for Luis Arraez this offseason; the Dodgers did not have a batting champion to dangle on the trade market, and it's no great shock whatever Friedman's offer was came up short. But Montgomery went for a mid-tier package at this summer's deadline. Were the Dodgers engaged with the Cardinals then? It would be rather stunning if St. Louis dangled him in the offseason when they purported to be NL Central contenders coming off a playoff berth.
Odds are much higher this was another deadline deal, and Los Angeles undoubtedly should've paid up -- and will have another chance to do so this summer to save what's left of their rotation.
Dodgers' Jordan Montgomery, Pablo López trades fell apart
The ball is in Clayton Kershaw's court regarding his return to Los Angeles, but we have every indication that he intends to mull over his future for a significant period of time. Even if the legendary lefty wants to give it one more go, he is no longer a No. 1. In an offseason full of No. 2s, with Shohei Ohtani on the mend, the Dodgers might just have to collect them.
Montgomery's future salary increases with every Yordan Alvarez whiff he induces in the ALCS, and considering the Dodgers' recent registered interest, they should be prepared to pay ace money for durability and the occasional sparkling outing.
At least this offseason they won't be fooled by Rodríguez again, who now has a much clearer way of saying, "No thanks" instead of drawing out a long non-trade.