THE RUMOR: With ace left-hander Clayton Kershaw (herniated disk in lower back) still not throwing and without a timetable for a return, the Los Angeles Dodgers are willing to include top pitching prospect Julio Urias in a package deal for another ace lefty in Chris Sale, whose future with the White Sox seems tenuous.
REPORTED BY: Joel Sherman, New York Post
DETAILS: Urias, 19, is the top pitching prospect in baseball but has been considered off limits in trade talks up until now. Then again, so was Sale, but the White Sox are thought to be at least willing to listen on the 27-year-old and five-time All-Star.
THIS SEASON: Sale is currently suspended from the team for insubordination after he took a knife to the club's throwback jerseys on Saturday in a bizarre incident. Sale, the All-Star Game starter for the AL, is 14-3 with a 3.18 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 129:29 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He is under club control through 2019 for less than $14 million annually. Urias is playing with Triple-A Oklahoma City, but has appeared in nine games for the Dodgers this season, owning a 4.69 ERA and a 48:17 K:BB ratio over 40 1/3 innings.
OUR TAKE: The Dodgers entered Tuesday 2 1/2 games back of the NL West lead and a 2 1/2-game lead on the NL wild card. The club has played surprisingly well in Kershaw's absence, going 15-8. Imagine down the stretch if Kershaw gets healthy and Sale joins him out West. The formidable duo will be nearly impossible to beat. Only one year apart, Kershaw and Sale could finish their prime years in L.A. with a handful of NL pennants. But that was also supposed to be the plan with Zack Greinke, and the club couldn't make it to the World Series in their time together.
Greinke once called Urias “the most perfect pitching prospect I've ever seen.” While he's yet to dominate at the big league level, he is just 19 years old with a bright future ahead of him. But it's unlikely that Urias and Kershaw will be at the top of their careers at the same time like Sale and Kershaw already are. The Dodgers' best chance of winning the next three seasons is with Sale and without Urias. They also would likely have to part with Joc Pederson and/or pitching prospect Grant Holmes in the haul.