On Tuesday morning, all the Mystery Teams in the land gathered around Justin Verlander's camp, attempting to woo the Mets ace (lol, that sounds so weird) to waive his no-trade clause and join their squad.
By midday, it seemed as if a quick pivot might be necessary.
Though we probably could've accurately predicted this several hours ago, if not several days ago, when the Braves and Orioles were buzzing around Verlander, it seems likely now that his old friends in Houston are going to be "most motivated" to wrap a deal ahead of the deadline.
The Dodgers, also heavily in on Verlander, will likely have to pivot. But that doesn't mean they'll be out in the cold.
Dodgers Rumors: Justin Verlander headed to Houston
Once the Verlander chip falls -- or, perhaps, beforehand, it seems likely the Dodgers will land Detroit Tigers left-hander and former Red Sox Eduardo Rodríguez.
Earlier on Tuesday, it was reported that E-Rod and Verlander were LA's laser-focused top two targets. Now, with Verlander increasingly likely to helm either the Astros or Mets down the stretch and in 2024, it seems probable the Dodgers will land Rodríguez rather than miss out entirely. There's a reason that, suddenly, the Padres are involved in the rumor, too.
It's always tough watching big-money signings who joined non-contending teams in the recent past get shipped out long before the ends of their contracts, and Rodríguez -- with an opt-out looming -- seems poised to join that club. Since joining the Tigers, he's delivered on his significant promise, posting a 2.95 ERA in 88.1 innings this season (with just 70 hits allowed). He would've been Detroit's 2023 All-Star if he hadn't been felled by injury as the votes were being tabulated (finger issue).
It's also worth noting that Rodríguez's season was cut short by personal issues last season, though he made a full recovery this year and resumed dominating in Detroit.
Want a second prediction? The Dodgers will either stand pat in the wake of adding their left-handed rotation boost or they'll call the very same Mets who just spurned them, continue the conversation, and land thumping rental bat Tommy Pham. Our guess? 60/40 chance Pham is a Dodger, too.