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2016 MLB Trade Deadline Preview: Los Angeles Dodgers

A look at what the Dodgers will do at the trade deadline.

Los Angeles Dodgers Introduce Kenta Maeda Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

Record: 56-44, 2nd in the NL West

The Dodgers aren’t mediocre by any means. They’re second behind the Giants, who were seemingly running away with the division at one point, but the Giants are in a slump and the Dodgers can make a run for it.

The downfall of the Dodgers’ season so far is the fact that they’ve been decimated by injuries. They had Brandon McCarthy out at the beginning of the season and, though McCarthy is back now, the list of injuries keeps growing.

  • Clayton Kershaw
  • Andre Ethier
  • Trayce Thompson
  • Kiké Hernandez
  • Casey Fien
  • Brett Anderson
  • Alex Wood
  • Hyun-jin Ryu
  • Yimi Garcia
  • Chris Hatcher
  • Chin-hui Tsao

That’s 11 players right now. That’s a lot. So if the Dodgers are going to make a run for it, they’ve got to make moves at the deadline.

The loss of Kershaw is a massive one, as recent reports have noted that surgery may be an option for the ace’s ailing back. Wood and Ryu recently had their rehabs extended as well, pushing the Dodgers deep into the market for starting pitching help.

What moves have they made so far?

Prior to July, the Dodgers acquired RHP Bud Norris from the Braves. They also got outfielder Dian Toscano and a PTBNL in the trade in exchange for LHP Philip Pfeifer and RHP Caleb Dirks. This was a good way to add depth for the Dodgers, especially with Norris now in the rotation. However, in four starts with the Dodgers, Norris has a 5.57 ERA and a 3.86 FIP.

They also traded RHP Zach Lee to the Mariners for infielder Chris Taylor, who is now on the Dodgers’ bench.

In April, the Dodgers received minor league outfielders Zach Walters and James Ramsey from the Indians for cash considerations and are currently in Triple-A Oklahoma.

Are they buyers or sellers?

Buyers, definitely, and major ones. According to a recent report from ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, the Dodgers are “big game hunting” and are looking at the best available players this summer.

Los Angeles wants to keep gunning for the NL West title, so they’re going to try and fill the holes in the outfield, the starting rotation, and the bullpen.

They have the trade chips they need to get it done, whether it be someone in the farm system, like Jose De Leon Frankie Montas, or in the big league dugout, like Yasiel Puig, who is rumored to be available.

Which outfielders, starters, and relievers the Dodgers will go after is another story, as it all depends on the price they want to pay for them. Los Angeles is expected to be aggressive in its search for starting pitching, especially considering all of the club’s current injury woes.

Who will they target?

The Dodgers are going to be aggressive in their search for starting pitching, and will likely be involved in the bidding for top starters Chris Sale (White Sox) and Chir sArcher (Rays) if their respective teams are willing to make moves. The asking prices on both of those players is said to be extremely high, but the Dodgers could make a significant offer considering the current state of their rotation.

Andrew Friedman, who used to run the Rays, is enamored with Archer, but our Chris Cotillo recently reported that the Rays must be overwhelmed by an offer for Archer in order to make a move. Los Angeles is also looking at other available Rays, including Jake Odorizzi and Matt Moore.

Los Angeles has been linked to Rich Hill as well, but the Dodgers aren’t in on Andrew Cashner. They’ll likely explore every available option with less than a week until the deadline.

Recently, the Dodgers have been linked to outfielders Josh Reddick, Carlos Gonzalez and Jay Bruce. Gonzalez would cost a much higher price than Bruce, but either one would fill the Dodgers’ outfield needs. Colorado has shown a lack of willingness to shop Gonzalez, though Los Angeles’ strong farm system may change Jeff Bridich’s mind. Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun is not an option for the Dodgers, according to reports.

Again, it’s all about how much the price is for the Dodgers as they have multiple holes to fill and so many players can only go so far. But also, because the market seems rather thin for starting pitchers, they may want to go for someone who can be an easy get.

Predictions:

Starting pitching is the Dodgers’ top priority. With the fact that no one knows how long Kershaw will be out for and that he may even undergo back surgery is a problem. If the Dodgers want that pennant, they’re going to have to find a front-line starter who can get the job done. They will likely get a starter, but the quality of the starter will vary depending on what teams want from the Dodgers.

Outfield might be a secondary need with Ethier potentially returning at some point. It certainly is important for the Dodgers, but the price is higher and Thompson and Hernandez, barring any setbacks, can get back from the disabled list. That being said, more offense never hurt a team and if the Dodgers can get Carlos Gonzalez, that would be a huge help to them.

But a front-line starter and Gonzalez? You might as well trade the whole farm system at that point. Fortunately for Dodgers’ fans, the club may just be willing to.