With Kershaw Sidelined Indefinitely, Dodgers Feeling Pressure to Make Splash at Deadline

If we could choose one word to describe the Los Angeles Dodgers this season, said word would have to be “symptomatic.” Other words finding their way into the conversation at Dodgers fans’ dinner tables are “tendonitis,” “inflammation,” “rehab” and the dreaded three-word phrase, “Tommy John Surgery.”

The Dodgers players have felt the bite of it all. It’s easier to find more players on the current roster who haven’t spent time on the shelf this year due to injury.

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Nonetheless, Dodgers President Andrew Friedman and General Manager Farhan Zaidi will have to find the remedy, and quick.

With the August 1st non-waiver trade deadline closing in, the hot stove has already been boiling for a while. Teams being mentioned in the same rumor with the Dodgers include the Rays, Athletics, Brewers and Reds.

Kershaw’s return is now being pushed back to a date that only God knows at the moment. The Dodgers are now stricken with fear that the mileage they have put on the best lefty this side of Koufax has literally broken his back.

Kershaw was on pace for another record-setting year. At 11-2, only White Sox ace Chris Sale had more wins when Kershaw went down. Kershaw also led the league (again) with a microscopic ERA of 1.79.

However, without Zack Greinke to pick up the slack, the Dodgers have barely mustered a sub-.500 winning percentage on days he doesn’t pitch. To put it simply- Clayton Kershaw is the heart of the Dodgers, and that heart is starting to crack under the stress.

There is no telling when Kershaw will be back, but the Dodgers know how long they have to fill that void. August 1st is rapidly approaching and the Dodgers are likely to entertain all possibilities in order to right their ship.

ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweeted something enticing this week:

A crowd-pleasing splash at the deadline could see either Oakland ace Sonny Gray or the aforementioned Chris Sale donning Dodger Blue during the last game of the year, but we’ve been wrong before. Just last year, the most coveted starting pitchers at the deadline were Johnny Cueto and David Price.

The Dodgers were said to be in the bidding for both starters when, alas, Cueto went to Kansas City (now with the San Francisco Giants) and Price to Toronto (now with the Boston Red Sox). As disappointing as last season’s deadline was, times are much more dire this time around.

The Dodgers are also said to be talking with the Rays in order to acquire more firepower for both the lineup and the rotation. The most recent rumors have included Rays all-star third baseman Evan Longoria and their young ace Chris Archer.

While Archer has struggled a lot this season, his strikeouts per nine has been consistent over recent years and his relatively affordable contract ensures that finances won’t be an issue in the acquisition.

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What would any of these players cost the Dodgers though? We can only speculate. If the A’s are serious about trading Gray, it’s worth considering that GM Billy Beane has an affinity for youth and potential. He has a history of auctioning off superstars to other buyers for prospects and young talent in return.

For example, look at last year when he traded his superstar third baseman Josh Donaldson to Toronto. With this in mind, you can guess that he would at least kick the tires on Dodger prospects like Julio Urias, Jose De Leon and even Thompson or Pederson.

As for a trade with the Rays, the Rays seem a little more interested in players who can contribute at the major league level as well as players who have future potential.

One other contender that has emerged in trade talks for Archer are the Miami Marlins, but Joe Frisario of MLB.com claims that the Marlins are too reluctant to part with any of their current players.

These aren’t even the beginning of the rumors though. Other Dodger trade rumors have included possible deals for Oakland’s pitcher Rich Hill, Atlanta’s pitcher Julio Tehran and even some power hitters such as Ryan Braun and Jay Bruce.

Long story short, it has been a long while since the rumor mill has been this hot, this early. Fans should get ready for a blockbuster deal involving the Dodgers. The Dodgers, otherwise, risk squandering another possible championship season due to injury and an unwillingness to improve their roster by way of trading.

Is Pitcher Chris Archer a Ray of Hope for the Dodgers?

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JD Miller

JD is a lifelong California native and currently writes for a subsidiary newspaper under the umbrella of The Madera Tribune. A passionate sports fan, JD loves the Dodgers along with the L.A. Kings, Lakers and Green Bay Packers.


  1. I really want them to avoid trading Bellinger at all costs.  He is our projected future 1B and we have no other true options in the minors for 1B right now.  De Leon is expendable and probably the most tradeable arm in the system given our depth at SP in the minors top to bottom.  Why Culberson is listed above is beyond me.  He’s not a prospect – he’s a 27 year old well traveled journeyman type player with a career .583 OPS in 391 plate appearances.  Chase De Jong and Brock Stewart are two other pitchers that have a good deal of trade value and we could survive without.  I don’t know exactly what it would take to land any of the pitchers rumored to be connected to the Dodgers, but we all know who the untouchables should be: Urias, Bellinger, Verdugo.  Pretty much most other players are not untouchable, though some I’d be much more reluctant to trading than others (i.e. Calhoun, Alvarez, kind of Holmes).

  2. yarritsblake Not so sure Urias should be untouchable. If we were to get someone like Archer, for example, he’s a young guy with at least 5 years left on his contract. Kershaw’s likely to be back next season, if not sooner, and Maeda’s more then earned his spot. We’d be hooked up on the 1-3 spots for 5 years at least, and we’ve still got guys like Montas and deLeon to fill in the other two. Urias could make great trade bait for a team that really wants to save a little money for a couple years before he hits arbitration, but we’d absolutely have to get quality in return, and someone who is locked up for a few years not someone whose contract expires at the end of the season.

  3. Smokachu yarritsblake Thing is, Urias is about 5 years younger than both DeLeon and 3 younger than Montas.  DeLeon and Montas already have had some injury issues (DeLeon’s fairly minor, but still), and both DeLeon and Montas project out with ceilings of being #2’s, with their floors being strong late-inning bullpen arms.  Whereas Urias’ ceiling is a #1 starter, and his floor is a very serviceable #3/4 type starter (what Archer seems to be at right now).  DeLeon is probably the better option to start with for an Archer trade.

  4. yarritsblake Smokachu That’s Urias’s ceiling, but where’s his floor at? I don’t buy the servicable #3/4 starter based on his current play. Right now, he’s a bullpen guy being forced to start in the absence of more experienced starters. Don’t get me wrong I really like the guy, but right now he’s a reliever. Next year he’ll be a “rookie” (not sure if he’s rookie eligible anymore) starter, but he’ll likely be a number 5 starter at best. If he’s going to become an ace we’re at least 2 years away from that.
    That being said, we have our ace in Kershaw. So if we can trade Urias for someone else’s ace for 3 or more years, then we’ll have an ace as our number 2, it’s worth it IMO. Don’t get me wrong I’d rather see DeLeon or Montas. So if I was given the choice between a proven ace now and a possible ace in the future, I’ll take the proven ace. That would still give us a 1-2-3 of Kershaw, Archer, and Maeda (for example) for the next 3 years, with guys like Ryu and McCarthy picking up the back end until Montas and deLeon are ready to take up those 4 and 5 spots.

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