Suddenly, the Dodgers Do Need Another Starter

Fresh off a dominating three-game sweep of the Giants that returned the Dodgers to first place in the NL West Division, the team begins a home stand with a three-game series against the Braves. Tonight’s first game matches the still ailing Josh Beckett, who with the swift decline of Dan Haren has now become an even more vital cog in the rotation, against former Dodger Aaron Harang, who has had big ups and big downs since the Dodgers gave him way in early 2013 for the over-the-hill Ramon Hernandez.

Harang was a decent 10-10 in 2012, but the club decided they did not need pitching depth the next spring, and sent Harang to Colorado, where they were quite happy to give the Dodgers Hernandez in exchange. In 17 embarrassingly bad appearances, he hit a robust

.208, and while he only caught in 11 games, the damage in passed balls, stolen bases, and a statistically large number of what were ruled wild pitches (or were they?), brought about his release. Meanwhile, Harang didn't stick with the Rockies either, and had a short and unsuccessful stint in Seattle, but finished the season doing well with the Mets. This year in Atlanta, however, he go off to a sensational start of the season, helping to solidity the Braves injury-ravaged rotation, and at
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36 is having one of his best seasons (9-6, 3.31).

With Haren having one bad outing after another for several weeks now, Becket is now the number four starter, and they vitally need him to bounce back from his less than satisfactory first game back from a brief stint on the DL. While pundits still say that the Dodgers have the best starting rotation around, and while one-through-three cannot be beat, the bottom of the rotation is in distress, and it’s no wonder that rumors are

everywhere, telling us that the team is about to trade for David Price, about to trade for Jon Lester, and about to trade for Cole Hamels.

The deal the team made yesterday, acquiring Darwin Barney, is interesting on a couple of levels. As of now, the Dodgers are loaded with middle infielders, and particularly second basemen. They have a solid, everyday guy in Dee Gordon, the perfect backup in
Justin Turner, and Alex Guerrero and Erisbel Arruebarrena behind them. But, if they were to make a deal where the prospect(s) traded away were Arruebarrena or Guerrero or both, the Barney deal makes more sense. It also makes sense when you look at the Giants. They have a disaster at second base, with Marco Scutaro out. This past weekend, their tryout of Dan Uggla at second was a total failure, and the Giants are likely scouring baseball looking for their next second base tryout. Barney would have been the perfect fit, and I think the Dodgers primary reason to the deal was just to keep him away from San Francisco.

The need for an additional starter was never really there until recently, and while I still say it would be a mistake the franchise will regret for a decade or more if they were to trade

Joc Pederson, Corey Seager or Julio Urias, and while he has played so much better of late, a trade for Lester or Hamels where the prime bait was Matt Kemp might not be a bad deal for LA. The Phillies in particular might be interested in one of the Dodgers young middle infielders
either Arruebarrena or Guerrero, along with Kemp. The Red Sox, however, would have to receive outfielders not infielders in a deal for Lester, but giving up Pederson, especially with Lester’s pending free agency and no re-signing guarantees, would be a disaster of monumental proportions.

Becket’s performance tonight may well determine if the Dodgers makes a major deal before Thursday’s deadline.

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