The Los Angeles Dodgers went three months without much of their expected starting rotation in place, then saw the likelihood of that coming to fruition slip through their hands. Much has changed since Brandon McCarthy and Hyun-Jin Ryu were reinstated from the disabled list.
Clayton Kershaw’s encouraging recovery from a back injury hit a snag and he’s now shutdown until pain subsides, and Ryu landed back on the DL, this time due to tendinitis in his left elbow. A timetable isn’t in place for either of Kershaw or Ryu to return.
Further exacerbating the issue, Alex Wood underwent an arthroscopic debridement on his left elbow and will miss approximately eight weeks.
Whereas the Dodgers acquired Bud Norris in response to losing Kershaw, the club is said to be searching for a more impactful trade prior to the Aug. 1 non-waiver deadline.
A deal for Tampa Bay Rays ace Chris Archer, who the Dodgers reportedly scouted as they were inquiring on Rays starters, certainly fits that description. According to ESPN’s Jayson Stark, one executive placed a high probability on Los Angeles completing a trade for the right-hander:
Exec from team that's been talking with the Rays says he sees such a good fit with Dodgers, places odds at "70 pct" Chris Archer lands in LA
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) July 21, 2016
Reasoning for the high odds is tied to the Dodgers’ need for a marquee starting pitcher and the ability to trade from a deep pool of prospects, per Stark:
And because the Dodgers “have prospects that fit” what the Rays would need to get back in order to move their ace.
While Friedman has a longstanding relationship with Rays president Matt Silverman, one Tampa Bay official said previous ties to the Dodgers’ executive will neither aid nor hinder a potential trade.
More recently, the Dodgers and Rays were said to be engaged in trade talks with Logan Forsythe and possibly Evan Longoria involved. Although Archer is having a down season, a trade for the 27-year-old would net the Rays a large haul.
The Dodgers have a bevy of young pitchers to include in a deal, as well as highly-regarded position players, but Friedman has thus far refused to part with any of the club’s elite prospects. Granted, Archer presents a different test case of sorts as he’s under team control through the 2021 season.
Archer is 5-13 with a 4.60 ERA, 4.14 FIP, 1.40 WHIP and leads the American League 147 strikeouts.