With 12 shopping days left before the Aug. 1 trade deadline, more than enough time for the Dodgers to address their most pressing needs — a starting pitcher or two for an injury-ravaged rotation, an impact arm to improve but still thin bullpen, and perhaps a right-handed outfielder.
It’s a seller’s market, with 19 teams entering the game Thursday with a division lead, either in a wild card position or six games away from a playoff berth, and two or three teams – the New York Mets, San Diego Padres and maybe the Cleveland Guardians – on the bubble, trying to decide whether to hold on – and maybe be bold – or fold.
Starting pitching, as usual, is the focus of most trade talks, and there appear to be a fair number of solid rotation candidates available, though no foolproof aces, unless the Angels shock the baseball world and decide to part ways with two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani.
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But with so many teams, including the Dodgers, Texas Rangers, Houston Astros, Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles, looking to start pitching, competition for the best arms will be fierce, likely driving up their prices.
Ohtani, of course, is the wild card. Virtually every competitor would move mountains (of prospects) to acquire two great players wrapped up in one, a right-hander in the top rotation and a left-handed hitter who entered the game Thursday with a major league-leading 35 home runs and 1,075 percent on-base most hits.
But the Angels don’t seem inclined to trade Ohtani, who will be a free agent this winter, and even if they did, the chances of sending him to their Southern California rivals — even if the Dodgers could probably offer them the best prospect package for Ohtani — would be remote.
That doesn’t mean the Dodgers will leave the trade deadline empty-handed. Assuming Ohtani isn’t in the game, and that the Padres aren’t going to send left-handed ace Blake Snell and closer Josh Hader to their hated National League West rivals, there should still be plenty of guns and a few sticks for them to choose from.
A look at commercial targets that might be a good fit for the Dodgers:
RH Lucas Giolito (Chicago White Sox, 29): A move to the Dodgers would be a return for Giolito, a former star at Studio City Harvard-Westlake High who was a first-round pick by the Washington Nationals in 2012. Giolito, who is earning $10.4 million and will be a free agent this winter, rebounded from an injury-plagued 2022 to go 6-6 with a 3.96 ERA in 20 starts, with 122 strikeouts and 39 walks in 116 entries. He was dominant in seven games from June 6 to July 9, going 2-1 with a 2.45 ERA and 48 strikeouts and yielding . 595 OPS in 44 innings, before being rocked by eight runs and six hits, including three home runs, in 3⅔ innings of Tuesday’s 11-10 loss to the Mets.
RH Marcus Stroman (Chicago Cubs, 32): What he lacks in physical stature at six feet tall and 180 pounds, he makes up for with stuff, a six-pitch repertoire led by a 91.5mph sinking fastball, an 85mph slurve and a 90mph cutting fastball. Stroman is 10-6 with a 2.88 ERA in 20 starts and has given up just six home runs in 118⅔ innings. His average of .203 and .560 OPS against are far below his career marks of .250 and .678. He rebounded from a shaky three-game stretch (0-2, 7.71 ERA) going into the All-Star break with a six-inning, one-run, three-hit in Saturday’s 10-6 win over Boston. Stroman is earning $25 million and has a $21 million player option for 2024.
LH Eduardo Rodriguez (Detroit Tigers, 30): The Tigers are on the sidelines of contention in the weak AL Central, so there’s no guarantee Rodriguez will transfer, and a deal for him could be complicated by the 2023 exclusion clause he has in his five-year, $77 million contract that runs through 2026. But there’s no doubt about the stuff and Rodriguez’s track record. The fastball specialist missed all of June with an index finger injury, but is 6-5 with a 2.69 ERA in 14 starts, with 88 strikeouts and 18 walks in 83⅔ innings, and is posting career lows in average (. 207) and OPS (. 579). He went 13-5 with a 3.82 ERA for the 2018 World Series champion Boston Red Sox.
LH Jordan Montgomery (St. Louis Cardinals, 30): The 6-6, 228-pound is more of a mid-rotation workhorse than an ace, but he would add to a Dodgers rotation that currently includes three rookies. Counting a 93.5 mph sinking fastball, 84 mph changeover and 80.5 mph turn, Montgomery is 6-7 with a 3.14 ERA in 19 starts, striking out 101, walking 29 and giving up 10 home runs in 109 innings. He has 11 quality starts (six innings or more, three earned runs or less), including his six-inning, one-run, six-hit effort in Tuesday’s 5-2 win over Miami and an above-average 46.3% ground ball rate.
RH Kyle Hendricks (Chicago Cubs, 33): The former Mission Viejo Capistrano Valley High star missed the first two months of the season recovering from a shoulder injury, but has been astute and consistent since his return in late May, going 3-4 with a 3.38 ERA in 11 games and holding hitters to a .237 average and .653 OPS. Hendricks, in the final year of a four-year, $55.5 million contract that includes a $16 million option for 2024, isn’t going to dominate anyone with his 87.6 mph fastballs and 80.4 mph changes. But he has a knack for losing barrels, ranking in the 94th percentile for average exit speed (85.7 mph), 90th in hard hit rate (31.6%) and 90th in chase rate (33.1%).
It is worth taking a look: RH Lance Lynn (White Sox), RH Michael Lorenzen (Tigers), RH Jack Flaherty (Cardinals), LH Patrick Corbin (Nationals), RH Mike Clevinger (White Sox), RH Paul Blackburn (Athletics).
RH Jordan Hicks (St. Louis Cardinals, 26): The Cardinals are true term sellers for the first time in President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak’s 15 years at the club, and Hicks, who turns 27 in September and will be a free agent next winter, is their most valuable asset. Hicks, who is 1-6 with a 3.76 ERA and eight saves in 39 games, has an electric arsenal with a fastball that sinks averaging 160.5 km/h and hits 170 km/h and a 87.5 km/h sweep that generated a catch rate of 58.6% and kept hitters at a 0.097 average (three for 31) on hits that end with the pitch. .
RH David Robertson (New York Mets, 38): The 15-year veteran appears to be improving as he ages, with a 4-2 record, 2.13 ERA, 13 saves and a 1.039 WHIP (walks plus hits per inning) in 38 games this season and an 8-5 record, 2.29 ERA and 33 saves since the start of 2022. has used to keep hitters at a . 143 average (nine-for-63) on hits ending with the leadoff pitch.
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RH Justin Lawrence (Colorado Rockies, 28): The price tag for gunslinger Lawrence may be high because he has five more years of control at the club, but his 95.3mph sinking fastball and 84mph sweeper are worth the chase. Lawrence is 3-3 with a 2.57 ERA in 41 games and has held batters to a . 181 average and . 534 OPS, and he has been nearly untouchable away from hitter-friendly Coors Field, giving up one earned run in 21 innings (0.43 ERA) in 18 road games. He held batters to a . 104 average (10-for-96) with 44 strikeouts in hits, finishing with his broom.
RH Scott Barlow (Kansas City Royals, 30): The Santa Clarita Golden Valley High grad, who is 2-4 with a 4.89 ERA and 11 saves in 34 games, will be a free agent after 2024, so he has more than a two-month lease, but he shouldn’t command an exorbitant price. Barlow isn’t dominant with his mix of 83-mph sliders and 78.5-mph turns, but he’s held hitters to a . 158 average (nine-for-57) on hits ending with the slider and a .
RH Keynan Middleton (Chicago White Sox, 29): In a season where so much has gone wrong for the White Sox, Middleton, who signed a minor league deal last winter and is making just $750,000, is a move the team got right. The former Angels reliever is 2-1 with a 2.91 ERA in 36 games, with 44 strikeouts and 14 walks in 34 innings, and used his combination of change-up (87.8 mph), slider (86.1 mph) and fastball (95.7 mph) to generate a career-high 37.3% rate.
It is worth taking a look: LH Brooks Raley (Mets), RH Mark Leiter Jr. (Cubs), RH Chris Stratton (Cardinals), RH Daniel Bard (Rockies), RH Hunter Harvey (Nationals), LH Brad Hand (Rockies), RH Adam Ottavino (Mets).
DE Randal Grichuk (Colorado Rockies, 31): Grichuk can play at all three outfield spots and would provide a platooning option for left-handed hitters David Peralta, James Outman and Jason Heyward. Grichuk, who missed the first month of the season recovering from sports hernia surgery, is hitting . 300 with . 837 OPS, five home runs and 22 RBIs in 55 games. 322 with a . 985 OPS, four home runs and seven RBIs in 17 games from June 18 to July 14 before suffering a minor injury to his left groin.
FROM Tommy Pham (New York Mets, 35): The 10-year veteran played an everyday role as the Mets’ left fielder and is batting . 274 with an . 838 OPS, nine home runs and 34 RBIs in 73 games. The well-travelled Pham, who has played for six teams, is a solid and often fearless halfback who has played primarily left field and center field. He has always had good plate discipline and has better career numbers against left-handed pitchers (. 275, . 847 OPS) than right-handers (. 255, . 770 OPS).
RF Lane Thomas (Washington Nationals, 27): The price for Thomas, who turns 28 on Aug. 23, would be higher because he has three more years in charge at the club. But in addition to his solid .
It is worth taking a look: DE Mark Canha (Mets), DE Dylan Carlson (Cardinals).
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This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.