UPDATE (July 27, 1:45 p.m. PT): The Los Angeles Dodgers reportedly have focused their recent trade talks on Yu Darvish more so than Sonny Gray and Justin Verlander.
For much of the time leading up to the July 31 trade deadline the Los Angeles Dodgers were connected to a slew of left-handed relief pitchers. More recently, interest has tied the team to multiple starting pitchers.
The group has included Texas Rangers ace Yu Darvish, Oakland Athletics righty Sonny Gray and Detroit Tigers veteran starter Justin Verlander. Of the trio, only Darvish is not under team control beyond this season.
He nonetheless has been the starter most prominently linked to the Dodgers. According to Jon Morosi of MLB.com, Los Angeles is growing confident will trade for one of Darvish, Gray or Verlander prior to 1 p.m. PT on Monday:
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 27, 2017
While Morosi notes the Dodgers’ interest in a potential Verlander trade, a previous report indicated the 34-year-old was no longer viewed as an option. Verlander is owed $28 million in each of the next two seasons, and his contract includes a $20 million vesting option for 2020.
The Tigers are believed to be willing to pay a portion of Verlander’s remaining 2017 salary, which amounts to just under $11 million. A trade with the Tigers could grow to include reliever Justin Wilson, though hurdles could arise.
Darvish, albeit a rental, would in theory provide the biggest boost for the Dodgers rotation. The Rangers’ asking price is considered to be significant, however, with the team said to be interested in acquiring two from Yadier Alvarez, Walker Buehler, Willie Calhoun and Alex Verdugo in exchange for Darvish.
He struggled in a final audition on Wednesday, allowing 10 runs on nine hits in just 3.2 innings. It was another outing in a recent stretch of subpar starts by Darvish.
There’s familiarity with Gray in the form of Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi, who previously worked in the A’s front office. That played a role in Los Angeles trading for Rich Hill and Josh Reddick at the deadline last season.
The Dodgers have reportedly scouted Darvish, Gray and Verlander starts within the past two weeks. They’re facing a bit of immediate uncertainty in their rotation in the wake of Clayton Kershaw’s back injury.
That being said, the Dodgers’ primary focus with any trade presumably lies on the postseason, considering their commanding lead in the National League West and best record in the Majors.
Of note, Dodgers pitching prospect Yadier Alvarez was scratched from a scheduled start with Double-A Tulsa.