As the clock approaches Tuesday afternoon’s MLB close, two likely paths lie ahead of the Dodgers.
Make a blockbuster trade for Washington Nationals superstar Juan Soto.
Or bolster the pitching team with the addition of a starter, with Miami Marlins right-hander Pablo López emerging as a legitimate target for the Dodgers, according to multiple people with knowledge of the situation.
The Dodgers’ interest in Soto has been apparent for weeks since the 23-year-old outfielder turned down a 14-year, $440 million contract extension from the Nationals last month and was placed on the trading bloc by the club.
The Dodgers are reportedly one of three frontrunners in the Soto sweepstakes, along with the San Diego Padres and St. Louis Cardinals.
Acquiring the two-time National League All-Star and batting champion of 2020 could come with unprecedented costs. The Nationals asked for up to six top prospects as well as young, productive MLB players.
For the Dodgers, such a package could include catcher Diego Cartaya, their top all-round talent and one of the most touted minor leagues in sports; young pitchers in Bobby Miller and Ryan Pepiot; promising hitters like Miguel Vargas, Michael Busch or Andy Pages; and maybe even second baseman Gavin Lux or pitcher Dustin May from the big league roster.
Nonetheless, optimism about getting Soto has grown among some in the Dodgers organization in recent days as other contenders in the league like the New York Yankees and Seattle Mariners appear to have been eliminated.
Still, there’s a chance Soto could end up with the Cardinals or Padres — each of which can bring their own impressive roster of assets to the table — or stay with the Nationals if the team doesn’t receive an offer it believes has strong enough talent for the Generation, which will be under team control for two seasons after this year.
If the Dodgers don’t end up with Soto, they could switch to López, who is one of the best remaining pitchers potentially available as of deadline.
López, a 26-year-old right-hander with a 3.41 ERA in 21 starts this season, has been at the center of discussions between the Dodgers and Marlins recently. Veteran Marlins replicant Anthony Bass was also mentioned in conversations between the teams.
López, another player in control of the team for two seasons after this year, wouldn’t come cheap.
The market for controllable starting pitching has gone through the roof after the Cincinnati Reds sold Luis Castillo to the Seattle Mariners on Friday and the Oakland Athletics sold Frankie Montas to the New York Yankees on Monday.
But adding López could help stabilize the Dodgers’ struggling pitching staff, who lead the majors on Team ERA but still don’t know exactly what to do with injured pitchers like Walker Buehler, May and Blake Treinen down the line should expect.
It’s doubtful the Dodgers could win both Soto and López, as some of the Dodgers’ best candidates would likely be desired by both teams.
There are also other alternatives the Dodgers could explore ahead of Tuesday’s 3 p.m. PDT deadline, with the Chicago Cubs’ Ian Happ and the Boston Red Sox’s JD Martinez being the most notable of several other players being acquired at a lower cost could.
“I think we learned how to deal with it [the deadline rumors], as far as noise goes,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said before Monday’s game against the San Francisco Giants. “It’s just kind of, at least you know now after tomorrow, the guys within the organization you’re going to have and then you move on with those guys.”
Exactly who the Dodgers might add remains unclear.
But on the eve of another trading deadline, they’ve repositioned themselves to track some of the biggest available names in the market.
https://www.latimes.com/sports/dodgers/story/2022-08-01/dodgers-giants-recap-juan-soto-pablo-lopez-trade-deadline Juan Soto and Pablo López emerge as Dodgers’ top trade targets