Turns out, the Los Angeles Dodgers might be taking their starting pitching problem just as seriously as the fans have been. When general manager Brandon Gomes said the team would be looking for "a starting pitcher or two" last week, we quickly thought, "Yeah, uh, for sure two? Maybe three?"
This week, fans were gifted with the annual rumors linking the Dodgers to some promising arms in free agency. First, former MLB Jim Bowden predicted LA would sign Aaron Nola. Though the contract was fairly unrealistic (five years, $125 million), the connection is all anybody cares about.
Then came the snowball effect this week. Jon Morosi claimed the Dodgers are among the most interested in Yoshinobu Yamamoto, and Jon Heyman said they're eyeing reigning NL Cy Young winner Blake Snell.
The competition for all three will be no joke. Every contender needs pitching. Most contenders have the room to spend. Most contenders are losing key pitchers in one form or another. More likely than not, all will go to the highest bidder.
But perhaps no battle will be more intriguing than the one for Snell, who Heyman claims is garnering interest from the Dodgers, San Francisco Giants and incumbent San Diego Padres. Would we be surprised if the NL champion Arizona Diamondbacks hopped in, too?
Dodgers Rumors: MLB insider hints at heated NL West battle for Blake Snell
We pegged Snell as the perfect Dodgers target for a number of reasons. The first was Bowden's contract prediction of five years and $122 million. You make that deal 100 times out of 100. If you have to go six for $150 million, that shouldn't be an issue, either.
Then there's the fact he's a lefty, and the Dodgers just lost two of those in Clayton Kershaw and Julio Urías. They have none in the starting rotation and, believe it or not, have none in their prospect pipeline. And, finally, signing Snell would stop Snell from absolutely dominating the Dodgers. For his career, the veteran owns a 2.59 ERA and 1.07 WHIP with 82 strikeouts in 13 starts (62.2 innings), and that doesn't count the 2020 postseason, when he held one of the best modern day lineups to just two runs in two starts (10 innings).
It also helps that, during his time in the NL West, he's also laid waste to the Giants, D-backs and Rockies. All that's left is creating some sort of resume against the Padres.
But this won't be an easy path for the Dodgers. The Padres will undoubtedly be motivated after the passing of owner Peter Seidler this week, among other obvious reasons in regard to their window of contention. The Giants have all the money in the world to spend, and it's about time Farhan Zaidi does anything of note outside of hiring a big-name manager. Both teams might finally see a lane with the Dodgers currently licking their wounds.
Then again, the Dodgers have been top dog in the division for quite a while. What better way to maintain that status by out-bidding your most hated rivals for a prized free agent?