Los Angeles Dodgers’ 2022 All-Star pitcher Tyler Anderson recently signed with the Los Angeles Angels. With Walker Buehler already set to miss most of the 2023 campaign due to injury, LA will be aggressive on the pitching market.
It should be noted that the Dodgers’ rotation still features depth. Clayton Kershaw already re-signed with team and Julio Urias has emerged as a Cy Young caliber left-hander. Tony Gonsolin enjoyed a breakout campaign and Dustin May has an immensely high ceiling. But they would still benefit from adding two more pitchers for depth purposes.
The Dodgers don’t need to sign a pitcher to a long-term deal. Walker Buehler is still in the long-term picture and prospect Bobby Miller projects to be apart of the rotation within the next couple of years. Without further ado, let’s take a look at two pitchers the Dodgers must target ahead of the 2023 campaign.
Dodgers, Justin Verlander, and Hollywood go together
Justin Verlander and the Dodgers would profile well with one another. Verlander is one of the most marketable players in the game and still has the talent necessary to benefit the team.
There are two non-talent related reasons why this signing makes a ton of sense for Los Angeles.
The Dodgers would not have to sign Verlander to a long-term deal. The soon to be 40-year old would likely accept a 1-year deal with an option, as long as the contract included a high average annual salary.
The second reason is Justin Verlander is one of the few superstars not attached to a draft pick via qualifying offer. As a result, Los Angeles would not need to surrender draft capital if they signed Justin Verlander. The same cannot be said for a star such as Jacob deGrom.
Verlander also knows what it takes to win. Meanwhile, the Dodgers are desperate for a World Series victory. They have arguably featured the best roster in baseball over the past few years, but have just 1 championship title over the course of the past 30 seasons.
The perfect trade
1 perfect trade that the Dodgers could make this offseason would be to acquire Miami Marlins’ SP Pablo Lopez. LA was previously linked to Lopez ahead of the 2022 trade deadline. Although nothing came to fruition, Lopez still profiles as a pitcher who’d fit in the rotation.
Lopez enjoyed a strong 2022 season for Miami. But the Marlins are seeking offensive help, so LA could entice them by offering multiple offensive-based prospects.
Pablo Lopez is under team control through 2024, per Spotrac. This would allow the Dodgers to either utilize Lopez as a two-year rental on the pitching staff, or extend him to a multi-year deal. Regardless, his presence in the rotation would benefit the Dodgers in 2023.
Dodgers’ 2023 outlook
The Dodgers are going to be good in 2023. However, for this ball club, anything less than a World Series win will ultimately be considered a failure. If they stand pat this offseason, they may fizzle out in the playoffs once again in 2023. But if the Dodgers acquire these two pitchers in free agency and via trade, Los Angeles will be primed for a deep October run.
Justin Verlander’s veteran presence combined with Pablo Lopez’s ceiling would certainly excite the fan base as well. It will be interesting to see if the Dodgers pursue either pitcher during the offseason.