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Dodgers potential trade deadline targets: Starting pitching

SB Nation logo SB Nation 2 days ago BlakeHarris
a man wearing a hat throwing a baseball © Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

At the moment, the Dodgers have a clear need with the trade deadline about a week away.

Starting pitching.

At the moment, LA currently has only two members of their Opening Day rotation currently in the rotation.

With the deadline nine days away, many expect the Dodgers to make a move or two in order to upgrade their pitching. On Monday, I talked about seven starting pitchers that have been mentioned in potential trade talks over the last few weeks. Today, I wanted to discuss a few under-the-radar moves that would be fantastic additions for the Dodgers’ rotation.

These aren’t necessarily players I think are on the block, but more so players on teams not contending that would greatly improve LA’s starting rotation.

Alex Cobb

The Angels have yet to make it known whether or not they will be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline. At the moment, they are 11 games back in their own division and are 7.5 games back of the second Wild Card. Although the Wild Card is definitely not impossible, they’d have to overtake five different teams, two of which are in their division.

The odds of that happening? Not likely.

If the Angels do decide to sell, Alex Cobb would certainly be an intriguing option. Having followed the Angels closely this season, Cobb has truly been an underrated starter. He’s currently under contract through the end of the season, meaning this will only be a rental. The Orioles are paying two-thirds of his $15 million salary, so if LA were to acquire him it would cost them a little under $2 million.

Also, he was on the Rays back when Andrew Friedman was there, so there’s a familiarity between the two.

On the season, Cobb is 7-3 with a 3.96 ERA. On top of having his best ERA since 2017, his FIP of 2.67 is actually the third best in the American League. His SO/9 rate of 9.9 is by far the best of his career as well.

For Cobb, he’s allowed three or fewer runs in 10 of his starts. The reason is ERA is a tick under 4.00 is because he’s had three starts where he allowed five runs or more. Over his last five starts, he’s posted a 2.45 ERA with 28 strikeouts in 29 innings.

Not sure if the Angels would like trading with the Dodgers. They’ve tried it in the past. Sorry Halos, not sure if you’ll be getting Andy Pages this time around. That’s still on you.

Luis Castillo

I think it’s safe to say every Dodgers fan has been eyeing Luis Castillo for years. He’s had a fantastic start to his career while with the Reds and has one of the best contracts in baseball. He’s making only $4 million this season and is under contract through 2024.

The Reds are still technically alive in the division and Wild Card race, but it doesn’t appear likely they’ll be able to make a run and secure a playoff spot. With that being said, would they be sellers? They have some nice pieces, but they haven’t really been able to get over that hump and make a run in October.

Castillo is having the worst season of his career, but he’s been a lot better recently. In 2021, he is 3-10 with a 4.39 ERA, 3.92 FIP, 1.41 WHIP and 8.6 SO/9. All of those are career-lows for him. With that being said, he’s been one of the best pitchers in the National League over the last two months. He’s posted a 1.76 ERA and has 56 strikeouts over his last 56 innings. He’s turned a corner and looks like the Castillo of old.

There’s a reason the Reds have held onto him for as long as they have. Still, he’ll be 29 this offseason and will likely require a big payday within the next few years. With some solid arms coming up in their minor-league system, could the Reds capitalize on the highest Castillo’s value will potentially ever be?

We’ve seen the Dodgers and Reds make a trade in recent years, why not another?

Jon Gray

In my article from the other day, I talked about the Dodgers being interested in a Rockies starting pitcher. Well, how about another?

Jon Gray will be a free-agent at the end of this season. Just like with German Marquez, Gray is having a fantastic year in Denver in 2021. He’s 6-6 with a 3.68 ERA while posting a 3.99 FIP and a 1.21 WHIP. Those are already solid numbers for a middle of the rotation starter, but they’re even more impressive considering he pitches half of his games at Coors Field.

Just like I mentioned the other day, would the Rockies really trade Gray within the division to the Dodgers? I know it seems crazy, but with Gray likely being a rental, would it really hurt to see him in Dodger blue for a few months? Maybe the Dodgers bring him back next season, but there’s also a chance the Rockies could as well. There’s also the chance the Rockies lose him in the offseason and get nothing in return.

Either way, the Rockies have two different starters that could greatly benefit the Dodgers. The only question is whether or not the Rockies’ front-office is smart enough to improve their team for the future.

You know what. Likely not.

John Means

The Orioles have nothing going for them other than a few players. One of those players is starting pitcher John Means. Yup, the guy who threw a no-hitter earlier in the season. He’s been having a fantastic season in Baltimore and has really been a solid starter since he finished second in AL Rookie of the Year voting in 2018.

In 2021, he’s 4-3 with a 2.72 ERA and 0.87 WHIP. However, over his last five starts he’s 0-3 with an ERA of 6.00. He missed more than a month with an injury and just returned last night. With Means being only 28 years old and under contract through 2025, I’d fully expect Baltimore to have him off-limits. But hey, maybe for the right package the Orioles would be willing to move him? The Orioles have one of the best farm systems in baseball, so maybe they could add to it and make it even deeper?

Wade Miley

Earlier I talked about a starting pitcher on the Reds who they should consider trading. Here’s a more realistic one. Wade Miley (who also has thrown a no-hitter this season) has been fantastic in Cincinnati this season. He’s 8-4 with a 2.72 ERA and 3.27 FIP.

In his age 34 season, Miley is having the best season of his big-league career. His 4.9 bWAR is currently the third best in all of baseball, trailing Kevin Gausman and Jacob deGrom who each have a bWAR of 5.0.

Miley is under contract through 2022 while making a very affordable $10 million next season. With so many questions in the Dodgers rotation for 2022, this would give LA someone they could have in their rotation next season.

With Miley being 35 this offseason, it’s really tough to see him in the future plans for the Reds. His price certainly won’t be anything near what they’d be asking for Castillo, so this definitely seems like a more realistic acquisition.

Zach Davies

The other day I talked about the Dodgers making a move for Kyle Hendricks of the Cubs. He’ll likely cost a solid amount, so here’s a much cheaper option from Chicago. Zach Davies is having a down year for the Cubs, but he’s still been a solid starter through the first seven years of his career.

He’s 5-6 this season with a 4.35 ERA. However, that’s largely due to two blowup starts. In one game he allowed eight runs and another start in which he allowed seven runs. If you were to take those two starts out of the equation and look at his other 18 starts, his ERA would be 3.20. That’ll work. In 15 of his 20 starts, Davies has allowed three runs or fewer. Over his last 14 starts he’s gone 4-4 with an ERA of only 3.15.

Davies will be a free-agent at the end of the season, unlike Hendricks who has years of control left.

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