Dodgers can withstand dipping into SP depth in Brian Dozier deal

Chase De Jong (Photo: Stacie Wheeler)

The Brian Dozier trade rumors have been swirling for weeks and should come to a conclusion after the holidays. But they have also brought up something worth pondering about the starting pitching depth of the Dodgers.

The two pitchers rumored to be on the Twins’ radar are Jose De Leon and Brock Stewart. On the surface, that’s a really solid package. The Dodgers would have to add a third piece of some significance, but not anyone irreplaceable. And they aren’t including Yadier Alvarez (as I wrote here last week) nor Walker Buehler.

What’s interesting is De Leon and Stewart are two MLB-ready starting pitchers, and both of them pitched with the Dodgers at some point in 2016. We all saw the Dodgers use their starting pitcher depth out of necessity, so trading two of those guys to get an All-Star second baseman would give at least a little hesitation, but not because trading those guys for Dozier wouldn’t be worth it.

The Dodgers are rich in starting pitching. I wrote about it after the season, and they legitimately had 10 pitchers capable of making a start on the 40-man roster. One of them is Hyun-Jin Ryu, so maybe it’s really nine. But since that time, the Dodgers have added Chase De Jong to the 40-man and re-signed Rich Hill. Throw in Trevor Oaks (who isn’t on the 40-man but could be added, if necessary) and that’s 13 starting pitchers at either Triple-A or MLB  level.

If the Dodgers must surrender De Leon and Stewart as part of a package to get Dozier, they have enough to cover that loss. While De Jong and Oaks don’t have the same pedigree or track record De Leon and Stewart had, they’ve been solid performers in the minors. De Jong is a crafty righty and Oaks is an extreme sinkerballer. If needed, they could make a few starts at the MLB level.

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There has also been talk of the Dodgers trading one of their veteran starters in Scott Kazmir or Brandon McCarthy. With the market being as thin as it is, one of those guys could fetch a decent (and I use that word very loosely) return. Kazmir has been linked ever so slightly to the Mariners, and the Internet has linked McCarthy to the Yankees (and it makes sense).

But the Dodgers could also acquire another starter or two on the free agent or trade market. For this article, I’ll stick to free agents, and these won’t be big-name starters. They’d be more along the lines of a Brandon Beachy-type — not necessarily injury-wise, but the veteran who is coming back from an injury or toward the end of his career.

A quick glance at the available free-agent starters shows there are some guy who fit this criteria.

Some (all?) of these guys could be signed to minor-league deals and/or be non-roster invitees, and that’s the type of pitcher were talking about here. They aren’t really attractive options to make many starts for the Dodgers, but if they want to be prepared like they were in 2016, picking up a guy like this might be in the cards just in case the injury bug spreads yet again.

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So, if the Dodgers end up having to trade De Leon and Stewart to get Dozier, there are options to replace those guys — either internal or external. One thing’s for sure: This deal needs to get done soon or the Dodgers just need to move on.

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler
Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosts a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He does contracts and depth charts for FanGraphs and is a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a one-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, California, and has yet to be shot.