Dodgers Trade Deadline Rumors: Starting Pitching Market Interest

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The Los Angeles Dodgers addressed their rotation with the acquisition of Lance Lynn, but remain in the market for a starting pitcher as the MLB trade deadline inches closer at 3 p.m. PT on August 1.

The Dodgers have been connected to the likes of Justin Verlander, Eduardo Rodriguez, Jack Flaherty and Mitch Keller in recent days. Flaherty is the only pitcher of the group who is set to become a free agent at the end of the 2023 season, though Rodriguez could join him by exercising an opt-out clause.

Keller has the most team control remaining as he isn’t scheduled to reach the open market until after the 2025 season. Verlander is under contract through at least the 2024 season, but his deal contains a vesting option for 2025 if pitching 140 innings next year.

As the Dodgers continue their search for another starter, they reportedly are prioritizing a pitcher who would be under team control beyond the 2023 season, per Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic:

The club has sought out a controllable starter at the deadline even after acquiring Lynn, according to a league source with knowledge of the Dodgers’ thinking.

Furthermore, the Dodgers appear focused on a top-end starter, according to ESPN’s Alden González:

If Blake Snell and Marcus Stroman are off the table, and Logan Gilbert isn’t really available, Verlander — and potentially Eduardo Rodriguez — could be the last high-ceiling starting pitcher remaining. The Dodgers aren’t expected to add another starter if he isn’t of that caliber.

As it currently stands, the 2024 Dodgers rotation is set to include some combination of Walker Buehler, Tony Gonsolin, Bobby Miller, Emmet Sheehan, Michael Grove and Gavin Stone. Dustin May, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, could return late in the season as well.

Meanwhile, Clayton Kershaw and Julio Urías are scheduled to reach free agency at the end of the 2023 season, and Lynn could join them if his $18 million club option is declined in favor of a $1 million buyout.

While it is plausible the Dodgers will bring back at least one of the three potential free agents, acquiring another starter before the trade deadline would add some stability to their rotation.

Dodgers starting pitcher potentially moving to bullpen

Regardless of any forthcoming moves the Dodgers might make before the trade deadline, they almost certainly will be moving one of their starters to the bullpen. “I think one of our starters could potentially go to the ‘pen,” manager Dave Roberts acknowledged.

Grove briefly filled a bullpen role at the end of June, but Roberts stopped short of naming him the starter who is first to get squeezed out of the rotation.

“Certainly, he’ll be down the for the next few days and we’ll see how this next series goes,” Roberts said.

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