Andrew Friedman revealed this week that the Los Angeles Dodgers would indeed be active at the trade deadline -- something that didn't exactly warrant confirmation, given the team's spiral in the month of June.
The pitching staff is in shambles. The depth could be better. The top prospects are beginning to (or already have) come back down to earth. This team is still very good, but the October warts are very much evident.
So what do the Dodgers need? Another bench piece? Another starter? A couple of bullpen pieces? Probably some sort of variation of all of the above. This week, MLB.com tried to take a stab at who might be available and whether or not they'd be fit for the Dodgers.
Funny enough, five of the 10 candidates identified were also linked to the Dodgers by insider Mark Feinsand. All of them are pitchers, but there are a few bats on this list that could be of interest to LA, depending on how the next six weeks shake out.
Dodgers Rumors: Breaking down MLB.com's trade targets for LA
Royals RP Aroldis Chapman
Not sure this one needs a ton of clarification. Chapman's been mentioned as a Dodgers target for years now, even when their bullpen was competent. Now that it's awful and Chapman is a surefire trade candidate wasting away in Kansas City, this is as logical a pairing as possible this deadline, especially with Alex Vesia still unable to find his footing. Chapman is on a cheap one-year contract, so this should be doable. The only issue is the market competition that could drive up the price.
Royals RP Scott Barlow
Barlow, a right-hander, has struggled a bit in 2023 after back-to-back career campaigns in 2021 and 2022, but he's very much viewed as an asset. He's controllable through 2024 and most of his peripheral metrics suggest he'll bounce back. His slider, curveball, four-seamer and sinker mix would be a colossal addition to a Dodgers bullpen that has far too many two-pitch relievers. But we can expect an escalated asking price given Barlow's recent success and cost-effective seasons remaining.
Guardians SP Shane Bieber
We've already warned against this. Bieber's 3.51 ERA and 1.22 WHIP are solid, but he's allowing a lot more hits, a ton of hard contact, inducing fewer strikeouts and whiffs, and has seen his velocity plummet. It appears as if he's reinventing himself as a pitcher at this stage in his career. Dodgers fans would certainly take him on their team, but for what he'll cost and what will be expected of him, it may not be worth it. LA needs a more surefire rotation solution at the moment.
White Sox SP Lucas Giolito
Since his run from 2019-2021, Lucas Giolito has fallen off a bit, but the White Sox have little reason to keep him if they're out of contention. One tweak from Mark Prior could turn him around for the second half of 2023. The right-hander is a free agent after this season and is currently sporting a 3.54 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in 15 starts (86.1 innings). The 28-year-old has co-ace potential and is from California, so it could be a smart fit, especially if the Dodgers are looking to start building a new rotation with Julio Urías hitting free agency, Noah Syndergaard not working out, and Dustin May being injured again. Shohei Ohtani, Clayton Kershaw, Lucas Giolito, Tony Gonsolin and Bobby Miller in 2024? How about it?!
Cubs SP Marcus Stroman
Stroman has emerged as one of the best pitchers in baseball (2.28 ERA, 1.02 WHIP in 16 starts) after an underwhelming first season in Chicago, but he's making $25 million this year and has a $21 million player option for 2024 (which he'll probably decline at this rate). He's a "fit" because he's pitching well and the Dodgers need a good pitcher at the moment, but he's probably not the "big game" arm LA is looking for, especially at that price. Wouldn't rule it out, but certainly wouldn't consider him a leading candidate by any means. He also seems to desire a return to Chicago this offseason.