At least the Dodgers and Nationals have a few days to sort through their options in the wake of injuries to Clayton Kershaw and Stephen Strasburg. That sentence will make fans of those two franchises shudder. On the other hand, there is a silver lining in all of this. Had
At least the Dodgers and Nationals have a few days to sort through their options in the wake of injuries to Clayton Kershaw and Stephen Strasburg. That sentence will make fans of those two franchises shudder. On the other hand, there is a silver lining in all of this. Had these issues come up after the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, reasonable options might be slim to none.
If you're thinking there's no way to replace a Kershaw or Strasburg, you're right. But there are pitchers available capable of closing the gap. Sonny Gray? Sure. Yu Darvish? You bet. Lance Lynn, Dan Straily and Jaime Garcia? Yes, yes and yes.
Tigers veteran Justin Verlander is an interesting name to keep an eye on. He has two seasons and $56 million remaining on his contract. He would also bring a commanding postseason presence and raging competitive fire into any clubhouse despite a 4.56 ERA.
Regardless of how it plays out, the market for starting pitchers changed dramatically on Sunday when two of the game's best left their starts after two innings.
It was already a seller's market, with more teams seeking pitching than offering it. Now the competition likely will be more intense. Does that mean other possible sellers will reconsider their options?
Would the Tigers deal Michael Fulmer for a package of prospects? What about the Blue Jays and Marcus Stroman or the Mets and Jacob deGrom? Those probably are long shots.
On the other hand, the Dodgers believe this is one of the best Minor League systems they've ever had, so why not have the conversation?
Kershaw will be placed on the 10-day disabled list with lower back tightness, meaning he'll be on the DL at the Trade Deadline. Last season, he missed two and a half months with a back problem.
Strasburg? Who knows? He departed after feeling tightness in his right forearm. Strasburg said he took preemptive action before doing real damage.
In a best-case scenario, neither of them will be sidelined more than a few days or weeks. Even if they're out until, say, early September, there's time to get both of them ready for the postseason.
At this point, that's all that matters. Fortunately for both clubs, they've built comfortable lead in the standings.
Problem is, neither the Nationals nor Dodgers is likely to have an answer by the Trade Deadline. Both pitchers could return quickly and be as good as ever. Both could be out much longer.
There's no right answer for this kind of stuff. For two teams who see themselves as good enough to win a World Series, this is an important few days.
The Dodgers were already shopping for a starting pitcher to deepen a rotation that has been baseball's best this season. Now there's some urgency to that search. The Nationals, who were seeking additional bullpen help even after trading for Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson, may now pivot checking for rotation help.
If you listened closely Sunday afternoon, you may have heard the rattling of coffee cups all over baseball as executives anxiously attempted to understand just how much the market had shifted. What contenders are shopping for starting pitching? What contenders aren't? The Brewers, Twins and Royals have inquired about help for the rotation. So have the Yankees, Astros and maybe even the Indians.
Some of these teams will shift to adding bullpen help as their options become clear. The Cubs look smarter by the day by moving aggressively to add lefty Jose Quintana to their rotation.
At the time of the trade, it looked like they may have overpaid. We don't know how that deal with the White Sox will eventually look. We just know the price wasn't going to go down.
Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.