Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
As the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Major League Baseball as a whole, await on the future of Shohei Ohtani and where he’ll ultimately decide to sign, there’s still work to be done this offseason.
The Dodgers have pressing needs aside from landing the best player the sport has seen since Babe Ruth. When president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and general manager Brandon Gomes discussed their plans to shape out the roster, they noted a lack of arms down the stretch and subsequent need to shore up the Dodgers’ starting rotation.
The front office has made it clear they intend to be serious players in both free agency and trade market, but they have to ensure they find players that elevate the overall collection of pitchers.
Aside from Aaron Nola, Blake Snell, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Sonny Gray and Jordan Montgomery, the Dodgers have several options they could inquire on over on the trade front, per Juan Toribio of MLB.com:
On the trade market, the Dodgers will check in on Dylan Cease, Corbin Burnes and Tyler Glasnow.
The inclusion of Corbin Burnes is significant because had he been a free agent in this year’s class, he would be at the top or just behind Yamamoto as the best available starter.
Among starting pitchers with more than 500 innings since 2021, Burnes ranks No. 1 in ERA (2.94), strikeouts (677), WHIP (0.99) and batting average allowed (.198). He’s also allowed the fewest earned runs (184) and hits (408) while finishing fourth in strikeout-to-walk ratio at 75.8%.
A trade for Burnes would be a huge get for Friedman and the Dodgers, which would then require making a large contract offer if they intend on retaining him for a long-term deal.
Dylan Cease is interesting and entering his age-28 season, has two more years of arbitration, making him a free agent after 2025. Like Burnes, the Chicago White Sox starter is represented by agent Scott Boras.
Tyler Glasnow will be a free agent after next year and after returning from Tommy John surgery in 2022, he missed about two months this past season with an oblique injury. Still able to return to a fairly decent workload, the Tampa Bay Rays starter logged 120 innings pitched with a 3.53 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, while amassing 162 strikeouts.
The Dodgers have a lot of options to upgrade their rotation this offseason, and it seems to be more a matter of when, not if, they acquire a quality starting pitcher.
Should Shohei Ohtani dictate Dodgers’ pursuit?
As it stands, the Dodgers have Walker Buehler, who is expected to be limited returning from Tommy John surgery, Bobby Miller, Ryan Pepiot, and Emmet Sheehan, as their main rotation options. Because of this, the Dodgers need to be aggressive upgrading their rotation.
The lack of another front-end arm cost them any shot at moving on in the 2023 postseason, and Friedman knows the group needs significant reinforcements.
A package for Burnes could also be a deal that might net them a starting shortstop in Willy Adames, which would cost a lot in terms of prospects, but fills two strong needs. The Dodgers waiting for Ohtani to sign a contract would be a tough task, and standing pat without addressing their rotation would be a huge letdown.
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