Hot, breaking news: The Dodgers need a starting pitcher or two. Clayton Kershaw is of course a legend, and Brett Anderson & Alex Wood are various levels of fine as back-end starters, but with Zack Greinke a free agent and Brandon McCarthy & Hyun-jin Ryu complete uncertainties due to health issues, there’s a pretty big hole in the No. 2/3 areas of the rotation.
You knew that, and you also knew that there’s a ton of starting pitching available in free agency this winter. David Price! Greinke! Johnny Cueto! Scott Kazmir! Mike Leake! Jordan Zimmermann! Jeff Samardzija! Wei-Yin Chen! Bartolo Colon! Hisashi Iwakuma! Doug Fister! Ian Kennedy! And so on.
Naturally, the inclination is to assume the Dodgers will get at least one of them, and maybe more. After all, these guys cost only money, lots and lots of money, other than the few who also will cost a draft pick. The Dodgers, despite needless panic over the idea that they will drop to an “average-plus” payroll — which, technically, they’ve already had for years — have money. They have need. There are fits.
Yet, while I still have hope that Greinke could return or that Price could take all of the dollars to move west, I think we know that’s not necessarily how this front office works. Sure, they’ll probably sign one of the guys from that list; after all, they signed McCarthy and Anderson last winter, so it’s not like they’re averse to free agent pitching. But they love, love to make trades, sometimes overly complicated ones, if you remember how they got Wood, Luis Avilan, Mat Latos, Jim Johnson, Jose Peraza, etc.
For example, here’s a rumor that says the Dodgers spoke to Cleveland about starting pitching, presumably Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar, or Trevor Bauer:
#Indians have had trade talks with #Dodgers, #Yankees, #BlueJays. My story: https://t.co/EqNy8UVRqn @FOXSports
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 19, 2015
You want Carrasco. You want him a lot. Possibly “trading Yasiel Puig” a lot, even. Read a thing I did on him last year, if only for the borderline-erotic GIFs.
Here’s another, about Shelby Miller, who would be hilarious to explain to fans if only because despite being very, very good last year, he went 6-17 on a Braves team that couldn’t really hit.
Both #Giants and #Dodgers have checked in on #Braves righty Shelby Miller, per @Buster_ESPN. Read more here: https://t.co/f2S7iGKtk3
— MLB Trade Rumors (@mlbtraderumors) November 19, 2015
And while this isn’t necessarily a rumor that we’ve seen the Dodgers connected to, August Fagerstrom’s piece on how the White Sox are stuck in a bad place of having two elite talents in their prime (Chris Sale, Jose Abreu) without enough around them to win, possibly meaning they ought to trade Jose Quintana to fill multiple spots, contained this interesting comparison:
Fun comp from @AugustFG_: Jose Quintana basically is Cole Hamels, just younger and cheaper. pic.twitter.com/DLHPQtS9WU
— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) November 18, 2015
None of which means anything, because rumors are just that, and this is the silly season for that sort of thing. But if we know anything about this front office, it’s that they like to be clever. Simply signing two guys from the free agent pool seems too simple. Sure, they’ll probably get one. But you can be pretty confident that there’s some other move, something we barely even considered, in the works. There always seems to be.