Dodgers Rumors: Unexpected trade deadline candidates emerge in latest buzz

Miami Marlins v Boston Red Sox
Miami Marlins v Boston Red Sox / Paul Rutherford/GettyImages

As of June 23, Mookie Betts has officially been out of the Dodgers lineup for over a week following a nasty hit by pitch to the hand by Royals reliever Dan Altavilla, who threw 98 MPH in the exact worst spot. It was immediately apparent from the crack that it created and the way Betts crumbled that he would be out for a significant amount of time, leaving not only a gap at shortstop but an even bigger one in the lineup.

The Dodgers' offensive production hasn't waned much in Betts' absence, with the New Big Three (Shohei Ohtani batting leadoff, followed by Freddie Freeman and Will Smith), as well as Teoscar Hernández, doing their absolute best to pick up the lineup while he's out. The scene at shortstop has been okay, with Miguel Rojas taking most of the starts there and hitting better than he has in years.

But these are all very much temporary measures while Betts remains sidelined for 6-to-8 weeks. Whether or not his timeline results in a return to the majors by the trade deadline, the Dodgers still have some big questions as to who could take over at short, even when Betts is back.

In the immediate aftermath of Betts' move to the IL, FOX Sports writer Rowan Kavner pitched 16 players the Dodgers could pursue at the trade deadline, and not just shortstops. Some are familiar names — Paul DeJong, Bo Bichette, Luis Robert Jr. — but others are certainly intriguing possibilities that could add a lot to LA's defense and bottom of the lineup.

FOX Sports adds to Dodgers shortstop trade buzz after Mookie Betts injury

For the Dodgers' shortstop problem, Kavner suggested the Rays' José Caballero, the Rangers' Josh Smith, the Red Sox's David Hamilton, and the Pirates' Nick Gonzales. The latter three have been having pretty good years at the plate, while Caballero has been slumping hard over his past 15 games, batting .182 with a .621 OPS. Gonzales, a former first-round pick, has also been struggling recently, though he's showing a lot more promise in his sophomore season, having doubled his home runs and RBI in just as many games this year as last.

Smith and Hamilton might be the tougher buys, with Smith having his best year for the Rangers by far and leading the team with a .869 OPS. Hamilton has also been Boston's primary shortstop this season after another untimely injury for Trevor Story. Both have multiple years of team control left, and could be useful infield utilitymen when Betts does return.

If DeJong and Bichette are out of the Dodgers' price range (and if Bichette is even on the table at all for the Blue Jays), then any of Kavner's four choices could be additions with a lot of upside for LA.