The Dodgers are in search of one other beginning pitcher.
And on Monday, they talked with one of many greatest names available on the market.
Justin Verlander had a gathering with the Dodgers, in line with an individual with data of the state of affairs who wasn’t licensed to talk publicly, marking the staff’s newest effort to woo the free-agent celebrity and bolster its rotation.
With Walker Buehler more likely to miss all of subsequent 12 months following Tommy John surgical procedure, the beginning rotation stays one of many Dodgers’ prime priorities this winter.
“In an ideal world, we’re able to bring back Kersh,” president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman mentioned of Clayton Kershaw at this month’s basic supervisor conferences, “and then address another starter and just maintain some depth to help us navigate a season.”
Kershaw’s return is sort of full, with the staff and veteran left-hander needing solely to finalize a brand new contract for the long run Corridor of Famer.
The Dodgers have loads of younger depth as properly, with prospects Ryan Pepiot (who made 9 appearances final season), Gavin Stone (the group’s minor league pitcher of the 12 months) and Bobby Miller (the membership’s highest-ranked pitching prospect, in line with MLB Pipeline) all anticipated to vie for alternatives subsequent 12 months.
However for now, one gap stays within the rotation. And with the winter conferences set to kick off subsequent week, there are a number of choices the staff might pursue.
Verlander is without doubt one of the flashiest targets. Although the right-hander can be 40 years previous subsequent season and missed all of 2021 due to Tommy John surgical procedure, he returned with a bang, going 18-4 for the Houston Astros with a serious league-leading 1.75 earned-run common to earn his third Cy Younger award.
He might make sense for the Dodgers, as he’s more likely to land the type of short-term, high-annual-value contract the staff has most popular to present out — MLB Commerce Rumors tasks Verlander to obtain a three-year deal within the vary of $120 million. He doesn’t have a qualifying provide hooked up to him both, which means the Dodgers wouldn’t should sacrifice a draft choice to signal him.
Most of all, Verlander would give the membership the ace they are going to be lacking in Buehler, fortifying a rotation that’s anticipated to incorporate Kershaw, Julio Urías, Tony Gonsolin and Dustin Might.
There can be loads of competitors for Verlander’s signature. Even when he doesn’t return to the Astros — who reportedly have been reluctant to present him a three-year contract, in line with the Houston Chronicle — the pitcher has garnered curiosity from the New York Mets, New York Yankees and Atlanta Braves.
All three are championship contenders able to bidding for Verlander’s providers and will provide a contract richer than the Dodgers are keen to.
If that proves to be the case, there are different options for the Dodgers to contemplate.
Left-hander Carlos Rodón is a free agent after a robust season with the San Francisco Giants and has acquired curiosity from the Dodgers, in line with an individual with data of the state of affairs.
Japanese right-hander Kodai Senga is making the soar to North America and is one other pitcher the Dodgers have mentioned. Basic supervisor Brandon Gomes known as Senga “really talented” when requested in regards to the soon-to-be 30-year-old on the GM conferences.
A number of different established starters can be found in free company too, corresponding to Chris Bassitt, Jameson Taillon and Taijuan Walker.
After which there may be Jacob deGrom, the two-time Cy Younger winner who is predicted to command a large deal regardless of his historical past of accidents.
“Really talented group,” Gomes mentioned. “[For us], it’s balancing short term versus long term and how that fits into what we want to do this year and beyond.”
Given their organizational depth, the Dodgers might go for a special technique. The staff believes that between Pepiot, Stone, Miller and a few of their different upper-level prospects, they’ve a core of high-potential arms to construct round.
Maintaining a pathway open for every of these prospects to develop is necessary. It may lead the membership to take a extra conservative method this winter: both looking for out a short-term, low-risk choice to fill out the rotation, or exploring the commerce marketplace for further depth.
It will be much like what the Dodgers did earlier than final season, after they signed Tyler Anderson and Andrew Heaney to one-year offers in hopes each veterans might discover success beneath pitching coach Mark Prior and the remainder of the employees.
Each did — and whereas Heaney stays a free agent, Anderson virtually crammed the void within the staff’s rotation once more.
Firstly of free company, the membership prolonged a qualifying provide to the first-time All-Star, following his breakout marketing campaign. Main as much as his Nov. 15 deadline to simply accept the provide, Anderson mentioned he mentioned longer contracts with the Dodgers, as properly.
Had Anderson and the staff been in a position to work out a reunion, it may need cemented the rotation, giving them 5 veterans and a number of youthful arms as backup choices.
Alas, no deal got here to fruition. On the final second, Anderson opted to signal a three-year, $39-million contract with the Angels. And two weeks later, the Dodgers are persevering with to seek for the ultimate piece of their rotation.