COMMENTARY | The Los Angeles Dodgers have always been a pitching-first organization. Even with the acquisition of former All-Stars Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez, the offense continues to sputter -- some because of injury, some because of under-performance.
However, the Dodgers' rotation, once eight-deep, is struggling.
Aside from Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu, the rotation has laid an egg this season.
Chad Billingsley is gone after just two starts. Zack Greinke is nearing a return (May 15), but has thrown just two games for the Dodgers this season. Chris Capuano was the odd man out, then was thrust into the rotation, and then was injured. He came back and had a bad start followed by a 2012-esque start. Aaron Harang has since been traded. Stephen Fife, who isn't much of a prospect, is on the disabled list. Matt Magill, who most didn't expect to see until much later in the season, has already made three starts for the Dodgers.
"Not gonna make #Dodgers fans feel any better, but a veteran baseball man told me today that Beckett "is done, completely done" as a pitcher."
So, there's also that. Despite one fantastic start in Arizona in his third appearance of the season, Beckett has been mediocre-to-miserable. He's 0-5 with a 5.19 ERA, 1.50 walks plus hits/innings pitched, a 4.36 fielding independent pitching mark and a terrible 16.3 percent home run-to-fly ball ratio.
I never thought I'd be writing these words, but it appears the Dodgers might be in need of a starting pitcher before the July 31 trade deadline.
Peavy, 32 at the end of the month, signed a two-year, $29.5 million contract extension with the White Sox on Oct. 30. A former Cy Young award winner with the San Diego Padres, Peavy has pitched well this season. He's 5-1 with a 2.96 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, a sparkling 1.6 walks per nine innings rate and a 10.0 strikeouts per nine innings. The only thing concerning about Peavy is he's giving up more home runs than is preferred, with a 13.7 percent HR/FB rate. He plays in a hitter's park, but has given up just two home runs at U.S. Celluar Field this season.
The White Sox are, somewhat surprisingly, sitting at the bottom of the American League Central at 16-21. They're not as disappointing as the Dodgers thus far, but some expected them to contend in the division. And nobody in their right mind thought the Minnesota Twins would be ahead of them and .500 team at this juncture, let alone anytime this season. Alas, the White Sox are cellar dwellers.
Chicago is an old team and could be primed to move some pieces before July 31 to clear salary and restock its barren minor-league system. Courtney Hawkins is about the best thing going for them these days.
Being nearly 32 and owed at least $14.5 million in 2014 and having a potential player option at $15 million in 2015, the Dodgers might be the best landing spot for the right-hander. Peavy's velocity is right where it was last season, but he is coming off two injury-plagued seasons in 2010 and 2011. That's always going to be a concern. He pitched 219 innings in 2012 and is averaging 6.4 innings per start in 2013.
The Dodgers likely won't be the only team knocking on the White Sox's door before the trade deadline. Peavy's high price tag could give the Dodgers the edge in potential trade talks.
No matter where Peavy goes, they'll definitely get a better return for him now than they gave up for him in 2009.
Acquiring Peavy could mean a logjam in the rotation going forward. Zach Lee should be ready by mid-2014 (if he isn't traded) and Ross Stripling (scouting report) is making a meteoric rise through the system. Magill is no slouch, even if his last two starts have been less-than-impressive. Chris Reed, who I'm not particularly high on, could also be ready in some fashion in 2014.
The Dodgers also won't have Billingsley for the first few months of 2014, and there's no guarantee he's going to come back and be the pitcher he used to be. Capuano is all but gone after this season, so there could be an opening in the rotation.
The Dodgers don't need to empty the farm system for a guy like Peavy, but they'll need to give up at least some quality prospects if they want to acquire him.
If it comes down to acquiring Peavy or a guy like Chase Headley or another slugger who plays in the infield, the decision might not be so clear-cut, especially if Beckett is closer to done than we first expected.
Maybe acquiring another quality starting pitcher might not be the craziest of ideas.Dustin Nosler has followed the Dodgers from Northern California all his life. He's the founder of Feelin' Kinda Blue, a Dodger blog. He also co-hosts "Dugout Blues," a weekly Dodger podcast. Find him on Twitter @FeelinKindaBlue.
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