The Los Angeles Dodgers starting rotation is an area of focus in free agency and on the trade market after the group was plagued by injuries and inconsistencies throughout the 2023 season.
With Clayton Kershaw, Lance Lynn and Julio Urías reaching the open market, the team is believed to be seeking at least two starting pitchers via free agency or trade.
That marks a change in strategy as the Dodgers under president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman have typically shied away from spending heavily on free-agent starting pitchers.
Friedman said the team didn’t have much of a need for starting pitchers in past offseasons due to the overall strength and success of the rotation, per Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
The Dodgers have avoided spending on free-agent starting pitchers because they didn’t have to, Friedman said, not because there is a philosophical principle against it.
“Yeah and until this year we’ve been first in baseball in production,” Friedman said accurately when reminded of his spending history at the GM Meetings.
Prior to the 2023 campaign, the Dodgers starting rotation had posted the best ERA in four of the last six seasons. The group took a step back this year, ranking 20th in MLB with a collective 4.57 ERA.
In Friedman’s tenure as president of baseball operations, the Dodgers’ longest commitment to a free-agent starting pitcher was Brandon McCarthy, who signed a four-year, $48 million contract before the 2015 season.
Trevor Bauer received the most lucrative deal, as the three-year contract he signed was worth $102 million.
Dodgers rumors: starting pitchers
In terms of free-agent starting pitchers, the Dodgers have been most notably linked to Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who is expected to be posted by the Orix Buffaloes in the coming days.
The team is also laser-focused on signing Shohei Ohtani, who won’t pitch next season but should return to the mound in 2025. L.A. is additionally believed to have interest in re-signing Kershaw, and may look to sign Blake Snell.
As for trade candidates, the Dodgers have been connected to Milwaukee Brewers ace Corbin Burnes, Dylan Cease of the Chicago White Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays’ Tyler Glasnow.
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