To varying degrees the Los Angeles Dodgers have been linked to all three of the big name starting pitchers who are believed to be – or were at one point – available on the trade market. It would appear now, however, that the team has backed off of their pursuits for a “front end” starter, according to Yahoo!’s Tim Brown.
Rumblings have suggested that a potential deal for any of the three left-handers would have required a package built around the Dodgers’ top prospects, namely outfielder Joc Pederson and shortstop Corey Seager. Los Angeles has been hesitant to include one of them in any potential discussions, let alone both in the same deal. Talks with opposing teams have quickly stalled before they were able to gain much traction.
The other big name that teams are believed to have interest in would be Julio Urias, who the Dodgers have made clear is absolutely untouchable in trade talks.
Los Angeles’ unwillingness to discuss their top trade chips has limited their chances at obtaining any of the three pitchers on the market, though it’s also unclear just how readily available the three truly are. The Tampa Bay Rays have been surging in the standings of late and may hang onto Price until the offseason. The Phillies’ asking price for Hamels has been so high that many teams don’t believe they are serious about moving him. That leaves just Lester, who will be a free agent at season’s end. He’d help bolster the Dodgers rotation for the season’s final two months but Los Angeles is unlikely to part with their top prospects for just a rental player unless Lester agreed to sign an extension as part of being traded. Such a scenario appears unlikely.
Various reports have suggested that part of the Dodgers’ interest in these front end starters is their own uncertain beyond next season. Zack Greinke‘s contract contains an opt out clause that he can exercise after the 2015 season. Should he walk, the team will be left with a hole in their rotation behind Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu.