The Los Angeles Dodgers have voids in their starting rotation due to Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer being among the team’s players to reach free agency, and president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman acknowledged a focus will be placed on fortifying the group.
The Dodgers undeniably would work out a new contract if or when Kershaw declares he is healthy and ready to move forward. Re-signing Scherzer could prove more challenging, though there’s believed to be mutual interest.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers’ first step to address their rotation was signing Andrew Heaney to a one-year, $8.5 million contract.
According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports, the Dodgers additionally held trade talks with the Cincinnati Reds for Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray:
The Dodgers did not offer Kershaw a qualifying offer after missing the playoffs with a strained flexor tendon, and engaged in trade talks with the Reds about Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray.
Castillo is under team control via salary arbitration for the next two seasons, and Gray is entering the final guaranteed season on a three-year, $30.5 million contract extension but the deal does include a $12 million team option for 2023.
The Reds already signaled they effectively are in cost-cutting mode by placing Wade Miley on waivers. He went 12-7 with a 3.37 ERA this past season, yet Cincinnati was not interested in paying his $10 million salary for 2022.
The Dodgers previously were linked to trade rumors involving Gray in 2017, but the Oakland Athletics wound up trading the right-hander to the New York Yankees at the deadline.
Although both Castillo and Gray would be more team-friendly in terms of salary than re-signing Scherzer, the Dodgers could face some trouble in putting together a trade offer. The team does have heralded pitching prospects, but it’s unclear if they would be willing to part with any.
Buehler praised Castillo
The last time the Dodgers saw Castillo, he had 10 strikeouts and allowed five hits over 6.1 scoreless innings.
“It’s just what he does,” Walker Buehler said of Castillo after the Dodgers’ 3-1 loss in September.
“He’s obviously got a good fastball and really, really good changeup. Just keeping us off balance. I think it’s pretty well-known that he’s one of the most talented guys in the league. A good night for him and unfortunately I couldn’t keep us in it.”
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