With the MLB trade deadline less than a week away on Aug. 2, the Los Angeles Dodgers and several other teams seemingly are in a holding pattern of sorts due to the Juan Soto sweepstakes after he rejected a 15-year, $440 million contract extension from the Washington Nationals.
That prompted the Nationals to entertain the possibility of trading Soto at the deadline this year, which would be unprecedented for a player of his caliber, age and contractural status. A Soto trade at the deadline would put him on a new team for three pennant races before free agency.
In addition to Soto, the Dodgers have been linked to Cincinnati Reds teammates Luis Castillo and Brandon Drury, along with Whit Merrifield of the Kansas City Royals.
According to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, the Dodgers have also considered a potential trade for Garrett Cooper:
Dodgers have been looking at Marlins All-Star Garrett Cooper, although teams in the Soto sweepstakes may wait to act on other hitters
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 27, 2022
The Dodgers reportedly held trade talks last season with the Miami Marlins for Cooper. He is under team control via salary arbitration through the 2024 season. The Torrance, Calif., native made his MLB debut in 2017 with the New York Yankees, and has spent parts of the past five seasons with the Marlins.
The 31-year-old hasn’t quite produced at the same level from last year, but earned a first career All-Star Game selection this season as an injury replacement to the Philadelphia Phillies’ Bryce Harper.
Cooper’s decline in production could be traced to undergoing Tommy John surgery on his left elbow last August after it bent awkwardly in a collision at first base. Cooper nevertheless has played in 84 of the Marlins’ 97 games, spending time as the designated hitter and at first base.
Dodgers’ needs at trade deadline
Dodgers needs at the trade deadline appear to be fortifying their bench with a right-handed hitter and adding to the pitching staff, with the bullpen appearing to be more of a priority.
Though, L.A. does have somewhat of a safety net with the likes of Walker Buehler, Dustin May and Blake Treinen expected to return over the next several weeks.
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