LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers' starting pitching depth will surely be tested with the loss of Brandon McCarthy, and it's unlikely the club will trade for a pitcher before June. But whenever trade season does open, it would be a surprise if Corey Seager or Julio Urias are included in any deal.
Though the Dodgers would at least entertain the possibility of dealing one of their top two prospects.
"We don't really have any hard and fast rules. We enter each conversation with an open mind, and are obviously very focused on our 2015 roster and depth," Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said on Monday. "It would be incredibly difficult to trade guys we feel like are potential foundation pieces for a long period of time."
Cueto is a free agent after this season, so we can forget about Seager or Urias being included in such a trade. But for Hamels, who is signed through 2018 with a club option for 2019 - at a below-market rate of four years, $96 million if the option is bought out, or five years, $110 million if not - giving up a prized chip would be more justifiable.
Hamels, 31, has a 3.19 ERA after five starts this season, with 32 strikeouts and 16 walks in 31 innings, but also has allowed seven home runs, second-most in the majors. To McCarthy.
But this is all just speculation for now.
The Dodgers at some point near the All-Star break, perhaps sooner, will likely have Brandon Beachy and Ross Stripling as options, both recovering from 2014 Tommy John surgery and both mentioned by Friedman as eventual rotation help this season.
Presumably before then, Hyun-jin Ryu will be back, though Friedman wouldn't commit to a timetable for the left-hander's return. Ryu threw 20 fastballs off a mound on Sunday in San Diego, his first time off a mound since March 17.
"We're just taking it day by day, and yesterday was a good day. He got off the mound and felt good today. We'll continue with the progression, and start working toward getting ready for a rehab assignment," Friedman said. "It's going to take some time, and I don't know exactly how long."
So for know, the Dodgers will run through the gamut of Scott Baker, Mike Bolsinger, Joe Wieland, Zach Lee and Carlos Frias, figuring out what works. How they perform over the next 4-6 weeks could determine the Dodgers' level of desperation on the trade market.
But don't expect either of the big two to be traded. Unless the return is spectacular.
"We'll continue to keep an open mind to figure out what make the most sense for us," Friedman said. "It's real difficult to answer in a vacuum, because the context matters so much."