The Dodgers have a top-five farm system in the game. They have a relentless lineup with a clear rotation need. They'll be a seller's dream at this year's MLB Trade Deadline.
If only any sellers had anything available.
Jayson Stark of The Athletic just released a compendium of thoughts from this season's first 60 games, and in between rival executives marveling about Aaron Judge's control of the zone and Shohei Ohtani's unmatched exploits, they found some time to wax poetic about the 2023 trade deadline slate.
Or, rather, they found a pocket of time to throw some cold water on the available talent.
The Dodgers have seen their rotation decimated in recent weeks, and while Julio Urías should return soon, Dustin May and Walker Buehler won't be walking through that door. Noah Syndergaard's around, and that's the problem. If there's any team that could, and should, swing an earth-shaking starter trade, it's the 2023 Dodgers, with surplus prospects to spare at every position.
Unfortunately, according to one executive, there just might not be much meat on the bone for LA to pick from.
Dodgers Trade Rumors: Corbin Burnes, Shane Bieber might be available ... or maybe not. Maybe it's no one?
According to the executive Stark polled, it's more likely the deadline goes off with a whimper rather than a bang.
"So we know there will be plenty of buyers. But what are they buying — especially on the starting pitching market, where desperation could fuel some potentially gigantic deals?- Jayson Stark, The Athletic
'Well, I think that’s the real question,' said the exec who just whipped through those teams. 'There’s a world in which (Corbin) Burnes and (Shane) Bieber are out there. There’s a world in which neither are. I’m sure one of these teams is going to sell. Someone will be opportunistic. Someone will put guys out there. But the point is, I think this is definitely a year where we may look up and it may be really quiet.'"
Who are the "guaranteed sellers"? The A's and Royals? With the introduction of the third Wild Card, the only teams out of the running by mid-June are really out of it. There isn't a rotation piece on either of those teams that could satisfy Los Angeles. Ditto a few .500-ish teams like the Red Sox and Cardinals. Pitching is the primary weakness of both of those clubs; they'll either try to get stronger in the rotation, or they'll call up someone other than Andrew Friedman.
Lucas Giolito of the fading White Sox might be the Dodgers' best hope, but his expected ERA remains a half-run higher than his actual numbers. Regression could be coming. Even Shane Bieber might not be a savior, if he's even dangled by the Guardians in the first place. His peripherals are similarly bleak, and his strikeout numbers are significantly down. Maybe he's able to survive a rising WHIP and hard contact for the entire second half. Wouldn't bet on it, though.
What's the "best-case scenario" for the Dodgers, then? The Brewers opt for a make-or-break sell-off and offer Corbin Burnes? Unfortunately, Burnes is a pure rental now; he's a Boras client. No matter who actually hits the market, it won't be an advantageous one for a Dodgers team trapped in between. Oh well. Time to add a mid-tier arm and turn him into gold again, it seems. If nothing else, that's the Dodgers' specialty.