The offseason is always full of possibilities and the Los Angeles Dodgers are among the few teams that explore a healthy amount of creative solutions. Sure, they're usually linked to the obvious names, but they're always lurking in the shadows, waiting to shock you with an out-of-left-field acquisition.
Once again, the Dodgers need a healthy mix of signings and trades. The free agency sweepstakes will be far more difficult because of how top-heavy the market is, so if Andrew Friedman can't assuredly complete his wish list on that front, there needs to be various trade scenarios under consideration.
As the days and weeks progress, more names will make it onto the trade market, too. Sometimes the waiting game is beneficial. We're barely two weeks into the offseason and a few unexpected names are rumored to be in the trade mix, though, so it's time to get the trade machine cooking.
Per the latest buzz, the Reds have been contacted plenty about second baseman Jonathan India, while the White Sox are considering a move for star pitcher Dylan Cease. The prices won't be cheap, but the Dodgers have the capital to make it happen.
But most importantly, those two would check all-important needs for LA while giving them some sort of a promising picture beyond 2024.
Dodgers Rumors: 2 perfect trade targets might be available this offseason
India is controllable through 2026 and Cease through 2025, which provides breathing room the next couple of years without having to deal with considerable roster turnover, which has been the case for the Dodgers dating back to 2020. That's clearly had an effect on the team to varying degrees.
Right now, the Dodgers have their two biggest needs situated in the middle infield and starting rotation. Gavin Lux will remain a question mark until we see him step on the field and produce as the team's starting shortstop. Second base is vacant, or at least there's nobody there on a full-time basis.
Under Friedman, the Dodgers have been reluctant to invest large sums of money in starting pitchers and middle infielders. Trevor Bauer was their largest FA pitching investment (and only free agent pitcher to get $50 million guaranteed) from LA since 2014. Friedman let both Corey Seager and Trea Turner walk in 2021 and 2022. These practices have obviously failed the team the last few years.
India may have regressed a bit since his Rookie of the Year campaign in 2021, but he's a high-upside player that can boast all five tools. And his trade value might be discounted because of his last couple of seasons (both of which were impacted by injuries). He's cut back on his strikeouts and has shown a penchant to hit for contact when unaffected by ailments, which would be an important profile addition to the Dodgers' lineup.
As for Cease? He hit a roadblock in 2023 playing for a toxic organization and had his worst full season since his debut in 2019, but he was the AL Cy Young runner up just a year ago, has made at least 32 starts the last three seasons, and strikes out a ton of batters. His walks remain an issue, but Mark Prior's track record of fixing that type of stuff is notable.
These two candidates could represent viable shortcuts for the Dodgers with other higher-profile free agents and trade candidates dominating the offseason discussion. Let's get back to the old days of being stunned by a Dodgers blockbuster, shall we?