Could Dodgers Look To Trade One Of Their Starting Pitchers?

You can never have too much starting pitching. With the way that injuries mount up these days, having a glut of capable pitchers is one of the best ways to ensure long-term success in baseball.

For the Los Angeles Dodgers, it currently stands to reason that they have almost 10 rotation worthy eligible starting pitchers. The list, of course, is headlined by all-time great ace Clayton Kershaw. The three-time Cy Young Award winner would never be traded, especially not at the height of his ability, but that doesn’t mean that someone else might not be dealt.

ICYMI: Dodgers, Kershaw And Seager Project Well Early

As Mike Axisa at CBS Sports put it, the Dodgers might be able to deal one starting pitcher for a fix at another position:

[Alex] Wood makes the most sense as a trade candidate. Everyone ahead of him on the depth chart is either untouchable (Kershaw) or making significant money and carrying quite a bit of health risk. Wood is only 25, he has a career 112 ERA+, and he’s under team control as an arbitration-eligible player through 2019.

If you were to go down the list of starting pitchers for the Dodgers, it’s reasonable to assume that Wood could be the best option to be dealt at this point. The team just signed left-hander Scott Kazmir and right-hander Kenta Maeda, so neither of them are going to be traded anytime soon. From there, though, it gets interesting.

Brett Anderson accepted the $15.8 million qualifying offer that the Dodgers extended to him this offseason, and it appears as if he won’t be moved due to his expiring salary. Anderson is still just 27 years old, and he’s coming off of a relatively solid season last year for the team as he posted a 3.69 ERA in 180.1 innings. He’s a serviceable fourth starter.

Fellow lefty Hyun-jin Ryu is coming off of shoulder surgery that forced him to miss the entire 2015 season, but he’s signed through the 2018 season and just started to throw off of a mound again. No way the Dodgers move him right now without seeing what they have first.Hyun-Jin Ryu

32-year old right-hander Brandon McCarthy is recovering from Tommy John surgery, and he still has another three years and $31 million attached to him as he’s signed through at least the 2018 season. It seems nearly impossible to move him at this point, at least until teams see how he’s recovered from the procedure.

Right-hander Mike Bolsinger had a quality 2015 with the Dodgers as he sported a 3.62 ERA in 109.1 innings, striking out 98 batters. While he will be turning 28 on January 29, Bolsinger presents the Dodgers with a quality arm for low cost as he’s not even arbitration eligible until after the 2017 season. It’d be unwise to trade him now.

Brandon Beachy was re-signed by the Dodgers to a non-guaranteed deal that includes a $250,000 bonus for just making the Opening Day roster. He only pitched 8 innings for the team last season, but he did give up 7 earned runs during that span. Trading him would be a fruitless endeavor.

Lastly, 26-year old right-hander Carlos Frias pitched 77.2 innings for the Dodgers last season and finished with a 4.06 ERA. He’s arbitration eligible starting after the 2017 season, so it’d be better for them to hold onto him and let him develop more.

That brings us all the way back to 25-year old left-hander Alex Wood. The Dodgers acquired him on July 30th of last season in a three-team deal between the Atlanta Braves and Miami Marlins. With the Dodgers, Wood had a 4.35 ERA in 70.1 innings while striking out 49 batters and walking 23. That seems like an anomaly, though.

In the 86 games he’d pitched for the Braves prior to getting traded, Wood had a 3.10 career ERA and whiffed 337 batters in 368.2 innings. The track record is there for him to be a valuable trade asset if the Dodgers should go down that route.

As the article cited notes, Wood is under team control, due to his arbitration eligibility, through 2019. There’s no telling what the Dodgers could get for him in a one-for-one deal, but it could be possible that they’re able to upgrade their left field or second base situation should the need arise.

As it currently stands, the Dodgers appear as if they’re going to trot 37-year old Chase Utley out at second base while they see what recently acquired Micah Johnson has to offer. The 25-year old Johnson hit .230 in limited action for the Chicago White Sox last season, and he also struck out 30 times in 114 plate appearances. He did hit .315 and stole 28 bases at Triple-A last year, though. He profiles as a top-of-the-order hitter.

Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

If the team wanted to upgrade their left field situation, they could possibly move Wood in a deal for someone like Brett Gardner of the New York Yankees since the team in the Bronx is looking for some more starting pitching. But that’d just create another problem due to the team’s glut in the outfield.

Other possibilities include trading Wood along with another player, say someone like Andre Ethier, for bullpen help. With the Yankees recently acquiring Aroldis Chapman from the Cincinnati Reds, the Dodgers might be able to pry someone like Andrew Miller away from New York if they throw in another piece or two.

Right now, this is all conjecture. The Dodgers are just bursting out the seams with starting pitching, and it helps to know that the option to trade one of them is out there. Wood seems like the best case to be dealt, but the team might also just wait around to see what they have in Ryu and McCarthy first as they come back from injury.

If there’s one thing this front office does, it’s examine all options. Dealing someone like Alex Wood certainly fits one of those options, especially since prized young prospects like left-hander Julio Urias and right-hander Jose De Leon are waiting in the wings for their shot.

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  1. I don’t see it. 
    When has this front office ever traded a starting pitcher? They hoard them. With good reason.

    The list of 10 starters has three with major health issues. Wood is the only bona fide young starting arm that can be slotted in if one of the top 5 goes down – which absolutely will happen.

    Last year, the Dodgers used 16 pitchers as starters. If you don’t count Zack Lee’s audition and Yimi Garcia starting a bullpen game, that’s still 14. 
    That list of 10 looks pretty thin, actually.

  2. Its a numbers game. When you look at Kershaw, Ryu, Maeda, Wood, Kazmir,, Anderson and then have McCarthy possibly back mid-year, Frias, Bolsinger and possibly Stripling, Lee, ready this year That is too many pitchers and we do not have a proven back up at SS nor a certified solid starter at 2nd. 
    The Dodgers also have Holmes, Cotton, Urias, DeLeon and others in the pipeline. 

    The smartest thing to do is find out which ones you want and then trade for position players to improve yourself… It is the fiscally responsible thing to do…

    Already with arbitration almost high over the Dodger budget is 100 Million less than last year. That is all money in Guggenheims pocket…

  3. rbloom  With what they have behind the guys on the MLB roster already, Urias, Holmes, Deleon, and Cotton,,,they could conceivably trade 1 or even 2 and be OK…..but I doubt they will..they are going to try Sierra as a starter also…

  4. Michael Norris rbloom Guys I think that they will see how Ryu is and will have good reads on McCarthy, Beachy, Stripling,  and Lee in Spring. I believe they will audition people at 2nd base like Johnson and also for back up at SS. Depending on how that turns out they may trade for a good defensive, good offense, 2nd baseman. If he has a little speed that would be great. I think they are hoping they may capture lightning in a bottle again and find a Johnson or someone that can play second. I have a hard time believing they will trust 2nd to a Utley, Kike platoon. 
    I like Kike as a super sub at SS, 2nd, 3rd and the OF. 
    I think we are all hoping Thompson pushes Pederson hard in the Spring. As Michael Norris has said in previous posts an OF of Puig, Thompson in center and Pederson in left would potentialy be one of the fastest and best defense OF in baseball. If they can hit that would be a great OF for many years to come and cost controlled….
    According to articles I have read with the Players set for Arbitration more than half way signed the Dodger budget is over $100 Million less than last year. Which is pretty impressive.

  5. I assumed everyone had heard…..Kershaw (best on the planet) has agreed to pitch every other day. All jokes aside, with the exception of a healthy Ryu, and of course Kershaw, none of the other pitchers is likely to strike fear in any opposing lineup. Flip a coin if you are intent on trading a SP. Urias and De Leon aren’t ready& should be left alone to mature.
    I liked Peraza. Sorry he was traded.

  6. LeanneMclachlanBrown I liked Peraza also the Dodgers badly missed Gordon’s speed in the line up. I thought trading Gordon was a bad idea as speed is always there and always a threat. 
    I agree with how dominant Kershaw is but do not discount a healthy Kazmir or the new addition Maeda. I think they will both be very solid pitchers. Maeda has won the Japanese version of the Cy young award twice. He is a control pitcher with deceptive stuff. I think he will be very good. I think Maeda and Kazmir will be about the same level as Ryu and if he recovers he was very effective. 
    The rotation should be better overall than last year as after Kersh and Greinke they were shaky. Now we should be much more competitive every start.
    I am hoping they find Johnson or someone to play 2nd with some speed.

  7. Tmaxster LeanneMclachlanBrown A knowledgeable fan. Tmax knows the importance of speed and pitching. Early on during the season we can see who will carry the back end of the rotation. But please let us be patient and make sound decisions with or youth. Let us not throw away another Pedro Martinez. If they have control problems, teach them. A good minor league system without good and patience teachers is worthless. And a FO that can’t evaluate young talent is the same. You and I Tmax both knew that the D Gordon trade was bad from the start.

  8. This front FO has now showed some direction. Deals will still be made, probably sooner than later. But I have to vent some frustration, because first opinions are hard to get rid of. They acted like they just had to show who’s now in charge, with a bang. Matt Kemp’s best days were behind him, but I knew that D Gordon’s best days were ahead of him. They were east coast executives not fully with west coast baseball knowlege. They said that Gordon’s defense wasn’t up to par. They wanted someone to take the pitcher deep into count, but they didn’t consider that he had almost 200 hits. He gets to balls that Kendricks wouldn’t touch. But sometimes that causes throwing errors. Now he’s a batting Champion and Gold Glover. I’m 68yrs old and never have I seen so many  incompetent people running not only baseball, but Sports teams. Some players  you can’t move around. Look at the one yr improvement when they put Dee at second and left him alone.

  9. Robert Hamilton   You make good points…but consider this..Kemp’s best seasons might have been behind him, but the last 2 months of the 2014 season he was the best hitter on the team. He played RF for the Padres this year and out hit Yasiel Puig by a bunch. he also drove in 100 runs and had 23 HR’s which is much better than we got out of our RF. The Gordon trade brought 3 guys back that actually played on the MLB club last year, and Heaney was used in the Kendrick trade. I would have rather kept Heaney since he had an impressive debut season……Hatcher was mediocre until the last few weeks…Kike did a great job as a super sub, and Barnes showed a lot of promise, but I would have rather had Gordon setting the table, and using his speed to rattle opposing pitchers. As far as the Kemp deal, I never liked it but like all Dodger fans I have to live with it. I think Matt would have hit better at Dodger Stadium than he did at Petco. I do not like Grandal at all. I could care less about his so called pitch framing skills, which I regard as an over rated skill. His game calling skills are lousy. AJ Ellis is a much better game planner, and after he got healthy, he almost caught Grandal in BA< and was one of the best hitters down the stretch while Grandal languished beneath the Mendoza line……….

  10. Michael Norris Robert Hamilton I do agree concerning Kemp.I wasn’t knocking him but just trying to compare the reasons for the trades. They could have gave themselves more time to think these things over sense they were new. We knew  the situation better than them. We know Dodger tradition. Like you pointed out the Dodgers have always had a table setter at the top of the lineup with a protecter who can handle and make contact  at # 2. Last yr we had to settle on Peterson who isn’t  a leadoff man. They solved one problem and create another. I believe that your ace pitcher and your table setter, our disrupter on offense is the heart of the team.

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