Dodgers Roster Outlook For Free Agency & Trade Targets: Starting Pitchers

The Los Angeles Dodgers have consistently had one of the best starting rotations in baseball, and that should continue into the 2023 season. However, with three of their starters hitting free agency this offseason, the team has some work to do to fill the open spots.

Clayton Kershaw, Tyler Anderson and Andrew Heaney all were on the open market. Kershaw re-signed on a one-year contract, but the latter two joined new organizations.

The Dodgers have four rotation spots locked up with Julio Urías, Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May and Kershaw, which leaves one open opening, plus whatever depth they want to add to supplement their starting five.

The Dodgers will surely add at least one more starter to the mix, and possibly two depending on who is available and the prices. They also have multiple prospects who could compete for those spots and make an impact at some point in the season.

In-house starting pitcher options

The Dodgers have a few internal options who could push for a rotation spot next season, including top pitching prospect Bobby Miller, along with Ryan Pepiot, Gavin Stone and Michael Grove. Of the four, Pepiot and Grove have already made their MLB debuts and would seem to be higher up on the depth chart.

However, Pepiot has struggled with command throughout his Minor League career, and that followed him to the Major League level, which could push him into the bullpen. Grove projects as more of a depth piece and swingman type rather than someone the Dodgers will rely on consistently.

Miller and Stone each have a ton of potential and both project to be pitching in the Dodgers’ rotation at some point in the near future, but they have both only thrown roughly 20 innings above Double-A Tulsa, so they are more likely to debut at some point in the middle of the season.

This group is going to be relied on throughout the 2023 season, but they would be best off as depth rather than immediately inserting any of them into the rotation.

Free agent starting pitchers

Of the remaining free agents, Carlos Rodón presents the highest impact-level arm, but he also received a qualifying offer and seems to be out of play for the Dodgers as he will likely command a significant contract.

Some of the middle-of-the-rotation options include Nathan Eovaldi (who received a qualifying offer), Noah Syndergaard, Michael Wacha, Corey Kluber and Seth Lugo. There are also some lower-end options available that would act more as innings eaters, such as Chad Kuhl, Zack Greinke, Michael Lorenzen, Johnny Cueto, Jordan Lyles, Drew Smyly, Wade Miley, Rich Hill, Mike Minor, Chris Archer and Dylan Bundy.

The Dodgers have shown interest in Lugo, however most of his success has come out of the bullpen. He has not thrown more than 101 innings in any season of his career, and that last happened in 2018.

Still, he would be an intriguing signing with the potential to become a high-leverage reliever once the postseason begins.

Potential Dodgers trade targets

The Dodgers could find themselves looking toward the trade market if they would prefer to keep their payroll down or continue to miss out on their targets in free agency. Some of the top options who could be available include Tyler Glasnow, Pablo López, Jack Flaherty, Lucas Giolito and Tarik Skubal.

Aside from Skubal, those pitchers may become available due to their contracts running up within the next two seasons and their respective teams unlikely to sign them to extensions. Still, the cost for all of them won’t be cheap if they are put on the trade block.

In Skubal’s case, the Detroit Tigers reportedly made him available before the 2022 MLB trade deadline and they could once again listen on him this offseason. López was someone the Dodgers were interested in July, so maybe some of the groundwork of a deal is already in place that they could revisit with the Miami Marlins desperate for offensive talent.

The Tampa Bay Rays could realistically keep Glasnow for one more season before he becomes expensive when he receives a $20 million raise, but they are known for selling players when their value has peaked, so he could be on his way out one year early.

Flaherty and Giolito both dealt with struggles in 2022 and are entering the final year of arbitration, which could make them ideal trade targets for teams looking to buy low on talent.

Some other targets include Lance Lynn — who could perhaps come over in a deal for Tim Anderson from the Chicago White Sox — Madison Bumgarner, and Frankie Montas, who struggled during his time with the New York Yankees.


The Dodgers are going to add at least one more arm to their rotation, and would benefit from two. López would probably be the most likely trade target, while Kluber may be the best of the free agents to add.

Lugo seems like a natural fit based on versatility and upside, but he would likely provide limited innings, which would still require the Dodgers to add an innings-eater type starter.

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