Even with their new starting pitcher acquisition, Lance Lynn, the Dodgers need help in starting rotation. That much has been painfully apparent in the month of July when the starting five posted an ERA over 6 with Clayton Kershaw sidelined.
According to reports, the Dodgers have an opportunity to acquire Justin Verlander from the New York Mets. They should go after this future Hall of Famer.
The buzz around the Dodgers and Verlander among scouts is growing louder. The match seems obvious, even though the Dodgers likely would be uncomfortable with Verlander’s conditional option that guarantees him $35 million at age 42 in 2025 if he pitches 140 innings next season. But Cohen paid $36 million to extract a top 100 prospect out of the Rangers for Scherzer. Surely he can figure out a way out for Verlander, too. If Verlander is willing.
Currently, the rotation can’t compete with the elite major league teams. It’s doubtful even with Lynn and Kershaw coming back, the Dodgers can get past the NLDS. Both Julio Urías and Tony Gonsolin are having down years. Bobby Miller and Emmet Sheehan don’t have the maturity as pitchers to handle the playoff pressure.
While Kershaw dominated the National League from the left side since 2008, Verlander dominated the American League from the right side. He had Tommy John surgery in 2020. In 2022, he returned with a vengeance, pitching a no-hitter and winning his second American League ERA title, his third AL Cy Young Award, and second world championship with the Houston Astros.
During the offseason, Verlander signed a $86 million 2-year deal with a vesting option for 2025 if he pitches 140 innings with the New York Mets. Along with the Padres, the Mets have had a disappointing season.
Starting the season late with a low-grade teres strain, Verlander struggled as he adjusted to the National League. In July, he has a 1.96 ERA and looks back to being his dominant self.
Sunday, the Mets shipped Max Scherzer off to the Rangers. Despite having a no-trade clause, Verlander definitely wants to pitch for a contender. He probably will waive his no-trade clause to go to LA. The Dodgers would have a marvelous rotation if they added Verlander.
All parties have until 3 PM PT on Tuesday to figure things out.
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