The Los Angeles Dodgers are certainly in the market for a starting pitcher as the MLB Trade Deadline approaches on July 31st. However, don’t expect the team with the best record in the National League to acquire an All-Star caliber starter.
According to Dodgers GM Ned Colletti, the team is interested in bringing in both starting pitchers and bullpen help to sure up the staff going into August and September. The Dodgers would like to add a pitcher for the bottom tier of their starting rotation, mostly to add depth and to send Paul Maholm to the bullpen. The Dodgers rotation has been one of the best in baseball so far this season, but there are concerns about the amount of innings the starters have had to endure. Also, there are injury concerns at the back end of the rotation, most notably those of Josh Beckett, who is currently on the disabled list.
There is little doubt that the Dodgers have at least a slight interest in some of the star pitchers that will be available at the trade deadline. There are likely to be as many as five or six former All-Stars available. The Dodgers have inquired about David Price, Cliff Lee, and Cole Hamels, all of whom are left handed and would immediately be the Dodgers second or third best starters. However, the price is too steep, according to Colletti, and the Dodgers organization is not willing to part with the core of their farm system.
“Based on what I know of who can be acquired, even those of upper-echelon ability that are going to require more than others, I don’t see us doing anything that’s going to tear apart the farm system,” Colletti said.
For the record, the Dodgers currently boast one of the finest farm systems in Major League Baseball, having placed three players in the top 17 of Baseball America’s Midseason Top 50 prospect list. In order to acquire Price, Lee, or Hamels, the Dodgers would not only have to take on another hefty contract, but they would likely be forced to sacrifice a combination of Julio Urias, Corey Seager, and Joc Pederson. Quite simply, Colletti is unwilling to risk the future of the franchise on a top tier starting pitcher, especially when the Dodgers have Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke.
According to Colletti, the Dodgers are far more likely to acquire a back end of the rotation type starter. Names like Jake Peavy and Bartolo Colon immediately come to mind. The Dodgers will also pursue bullpen depth. Look for them to go after some of the Red Sox relievers who will likely be traded away as Boston tries to retool again. The name Kohi Uehara would sound pretty nice rolling off of Vin Scully’s tongue.
The Dodgers will land another starting pitcher by the time August comes around. Just don’t expect for it to be David Price, Cliff Lee, or Cole Hamels.