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Pitching atop Dodgers' Deadline wish list

With Urias, Liberatore and Dayton out, NL West leaders will be actively seeking arms
MLB.com @kengurnick

LOS ANGELES -- With the season-ending surgery for Julio Urias, logic dictates that the Dodgers will seek starting pitching at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline even more intensely than the previous two summers.

And maybe they will, but those around the club suspect management will double down on its reliance on relief to keep the roll going from a first half for the ages.

LOS ANGELES -- With the season-ending surgery for Julio Urias, logic dictates that the Dodgers will seek starting pitching at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline even more intensely than the previous two summers.

And maybe they will, but those around the club suspect management will double down on its reliance on relief to keep the roll going from a first half for the ages.

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With left-handed relievers Adam Liberatore and Grant Dayton on the disabled list, that specialty should top the shopping list. While the popular names available seem to be San Diego's Brad Hand and Detroit's Justin Wilson, Dodgers management often takes the road less traveled. Pittsburgh's Tony Watson hasn't been as dominating as in the past, but he might require less in return and he's still getting lefties out.

Pedro Baez has done well this year as the primary setup man for Kenley Jansen, but the Dodgers no doubt are on the lookout to duplicate their steal of right-hander Josh Fields last summer. Maybe they'll make a run at Oakland's Ryan Madson, who they almost signed two years ago. They are fond of trading with the A's.

And there's always the chance the club could make a bigger splash and go after a significant bat like Detroit outfielder J.D. Martinez.

But that would cost the Dodgers big-name talent in return, and dealing top prospects like Walker Buehler, Alex Verdugo and Yadier Alvarez runs counter to management's plan of developing from within.

TRADE SCENARIO
If history is a guide, the Dodgers will fortify the pitching staff without decimating the farm system. They don't want to trade their top three prospects, but a hitter like No. 3 prospect Willie Calhoun could bring a valuable piece in return. A left-handed reliever is a virtual necessity.

Dodgers Top 30 Prospects

Video: CWS@LAD: Calhoun smacks an RBI single to right

WHAT ARE THEY PLAYING FOR?
World Series or bust. Most current Dodgers hadn't been born yet, and Clayton Kershaw was still in diapers, the last time the Dodgers won a ring in 1988.

THE ROAD AHEAD
If the Dodgers hand-crafted the schedule coming out of the All-Star break, it couldn't have been kinder. For the first 36 games through Aug. 24, all but six are against teams that have losing records. The only exceptions are a home series against Minnesota July 24-26 and a road series at Arizona Aug. 8-10. After that, six of the final 11 series are against teams that have winning records.

KEY PLAYER
Cody Bellinger quickly became a middle-of-the-order force that nobody saw coming this quickly, making up for the absences of Adrian Gonzalez, Andrew Toles and Andre Ethier. Now he needs to show that his two-week slump is over.

Video: Bellinger discusses his early success, HR Derby

PROSPECTS TO WATCH
If he isn't traded, Verdugo might be the Minor Leaguer with the best shot of helping down the stretch. If only he batted right-handed. Then there's Buehler, who had officials whispering his name way back in Spring Training as a potential stretch run right-hander, as Urias was from the left side last year.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001.

Los Angeles Dodgers