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The Dodgers were the favorites to win it all again this year because of their deep roster. They are now in second place fighting to keep up with the surprising San Francisco Giants. Injuries and off-the-field issues have hit the Dodgers harder than any other team.
Unfamiliar rotation raises questions
Buehler, Kershaw, Bauer, Urias, and May. That was the Dodgers’ starting rotation at the start of the season. Their entire rotation could easily fit into a top 2 slot in any major league rotation. May was the first to be affected by the injury bug and he will be out for more than a year. Bauer’s situation seems to be getting worse and worse as more details arise on his sexual assault case.
Buehler, Kershaw, and Urias are the remaining starters in the rotation. Of course they are still great starters but they need at least one more quality starter to compete against the top teams in the league. Gonsolin has filled in for May’s spot but Gonsolin isn’t as electric as May. Gonsolin is a great arm to have in the bullpen for long-relief emergencies in the playoffs.
Kershaw and Urias a toss up in playoffs
Kershaw and Urias seem to be the biggest risks when it comes time for the playoffs. While Kershaw really seemed to find himself last season, there is always the risk of him reverting back to his old ways in the playoffs. Urias has been getting more and more consistent but he is not as established as Buehler.
Max Scherzer has been on the trading block for few years now but he has come out and stated that he wants a contract extension if the Nationals plan on trading him. Scherzer will be 37 in a few days so that is definitely understandable for him. The Nationals are less keen of that idea. Scherzer has the leverage since the Nationals can only benefit from dealing him. He is unlikely to resign with the Nationals as they are looking to spend more money on a younger starting pitcher in the offseason. Scherzer can also deny any trade so we can only wait and see if the Nationals will take that risk.
Interesting trade candidates for Dodgers
Other names on the block include Kyle Gibson (Rangers), Danny Duffy (Royals), Jon Gray (Rockies), and Tyler Anderson (Pirates). Should the Dodgers acquire Kyle Gibson, they would quickly reclaim their spot as favorites to win the World Series. Any other pitcher mentioned would still put them in the running.
How much are they willing to commit? Friedman was all-in at the start of the season, so he should still have that same mentality. Bauer looks unlikely to be with the Dodgers next season so they’ll have a lot of room to resign Kershaw and look for another top free agent signing. Pitching is what will determine if the Dodgers can repeat or not. Right now they are good, but they are not great. Another stellar starter, and they’ll put themselves in a really good spot.