Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The Los Angeles Dodgers historically have been able to lean on a strong pitching staff, and in particular starting rotation, but that was not the case during the 2023 season due to injuries and inconsistent performances.
For a second October in a row the Dodgers found themselves lacking an adequate number of healthy and effective starters, and they now are in position to address that deficiency.
In terms of free agents, Blake Snell, Sonny Gray, Jordan Montgomery, and Yoshinobu Yamamoto once he’s posted, are the top starters available. Dylan Cease and Corbin Burnes could be acquired via trade, and Shohei Ohtani should resume pitching in 2025.
According to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, the Dodgers are among the teams in search of an ace, and Yamamoto could be their answer:
The Red Sox, Cards, Braves, Phillies, Dodgers, Astros and possibly Cubs are among teams prioritizing a No. 1 starter, and Yamamoto is considered in that category.
In addition to the Dodgers, the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals are considered the primary teams that will be involved in the Yamamoto sweepstakes. There’s some belief Yamamoto may prefer to join a team on the West Coast.
The 25-year-old went 17-6 with a 1.21 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and 176 strikeouts in 24 games for the Orix Buffaloes this year.
Yamamoto’s Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) career ended with a third consecutive Sawamura Award, which is the Japanese league’s equivalent of MLB’s Cy Young. Masaichi Kaneda is the only other pitcher to win three Sawamuras in a row, which he accomplished from 1956-1958.
Yamamoto is expected to be posted for MLB free agency on Monday, and on Tuesday a 45-day window to negotiate with teams would open. Yamamoto’s agent is Joel Wolfe of Wasserman.
Dodgers trade rumors
The Dodgers reportedly have interest in completing a Cease trade with the White Sox, who have made it clear all players from their roster are available.
Cease has not performed at the ace level the Dodgers reportedly are in search of, but he could be somewhat of an upside play for the organization.
Have you subscribed to the Dodger Blue YouTube channel? Be sure to ring the notification bell to watch player interviews, participate in shows and giveaways, and stay up to date on all Dodgers news and rumors!