I wrote about Gerrit Cole on Monday. The Dodgers should sign the best pitcher available. I also realize that isn’t terribly realistic, especially if the last five years are any indicator.
So this post will be about some under-the-radar pitchers the Dodgers could target this offseason. This will be the first of four posts in this ilk:
- Free agent pitchers
- Free agent hitters
- Pitcher trade candidates
- Hitter trade candidates
Ned Colletti’s white whale! Unfortunately, he’s too busy scouting hockey players to enjoy this. Also unfortunately, Hamels isn’t the pitcher he was when Colletti was pursuing him. That’ll happen with a soon-to-be 36-year-old with as many miles as Hamels has.
He’s was a 2.5-win pitcher last season while posting a 3.81 ERA, 4.09 FIP and a 14.1 K-BB%. His velocity is trending in the wrong direction, but he has tried to make up for that by adding a cut fastball to his repertoire. And he still has a Top 10 changeup among starting pitchers. I’m not sure he could be had for cheaper than Rich Hill, but if Hill wants to hang it up, Hamels would be a decent replacement.
If that name seems familiar, it should be. Lindblom was the Dodgers’ 2nd-round draft pick in 2008. He has spent most of the last six seasons playing in the Korea Baseball Organization. In that time, he has a 3.55 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and a 15.7 K-BB% across 823 1/3 innings. The 33-year-old has a low-90s fastball, a slider/cutter offering, a loopy curveball and a strong split-finger fastball. It remains to be seen what he will do against MLB hitters, but he was good enough to be drafted in the second round more than a decade ago, perhaps some time overseas will have helped him unlock some of that potential.
Martin, 33, hasn’t had the most consistent career to date. He debuted in 2014 with the Rockies, spent part of 2015 with the Yankees and didn’t sniff the majors until 2018 (with the Rangers). Last season, he took a big step forward and was more than serviceable for the Rangers until he was traded to the Braves at the trade deadline. The addition of a splitter and less reliance on a subpar slider unlocked something because his strikeout rate jumped substantially and he became a legitimate relief option. He could be a nice value signing as a 7th/8th inning guy, should the price be right.
A former uber prospect with the Mariners and one-time savior of the Yankees’ rotation, Pineda struggled with injuries throughout his career before landing in Minnesota last season. He missed time, but not because of injury. He was suspended 60 games for a positive performance-enhancing drug test result. When he pitched, he was a solid back-end starter for the Twins. The hulking 30-year-old had a 4.01 ERA, 4.02 FIP and an 18.7 K-BB%. He’s had mixed results with his arsenal (fastball, slider, changeup) over his career, but he could be an interesting addition if the Dodgers make some other moves within their starting rotation this winter. He wouldn’t be a suitable alternative to a Cole or Stephen Strasburg.
Pomeranz was once a highly touted prospect who went to the Rockies in the Ubaldo Jimenez deal all the way back in 2011. He was then traded three times over the course of 2 1/2 years and, despite showing promise, never really took off. He went to the Brewers at the trade deadline last season. It seemed like an innocuous deal at the time — he had a 5.68 ERA in 17 starts — but he went to Milwaukee and the Brewers stuck him in the bullpen. There, he had a resurgence. In 26 1/3 innings, he had a 2.39 ERA, 2.69 FIP and an eye-popping 37.0 K-BB%. The almost 31-year old may have saved his career with a move to the ‘pen, where he saw his fastball velocity jump 2 MPH. He also threw it way more frequently than before. As a reliever, he has the exact skill set that is sure to intrigue Andrew Friedman.
Stammen, 35, has been one of the most fungible relievers over the last three seasons. He has the 2nd-most innings pitched of any MLB reliever in that time. He also has a 3.06 ERA, 3.57 FIP and a 17.8 K-BB% in that time. His numbers are a bit misleading, though, as he was worth 0.1 WAR in 2017 and 0.4 last season. His 2018 was Stammen at his best, as he had a 2.2 WAR out of the San Diego bullpen. He limits hard contact, but his velocity and spin rates don’t scream Dodgers.
These are just a few free agent pitchers who could interest the Dodgers. I still think Hill comes back in some capacity. That would probably eliminate Hamels and Pineda, but the relievers are more intriguing than the starters. Pomeranz, who is predicted to go to the Dodgers for two years and $16 million by MLB Trade Rumors, would be a strong fit in the bullpen, especially if he’s closer to the guy he was in Milwaukee rather than the guy he has been for the majority of his career.