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Dodgers trade deadline thoughts: Shohei Ohtani, Lucas Giolito, Jordan Montgomery

Rumor season is here

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Los Angeles Angels v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

We are just over two weeks away from the August 1 MLB trade deadline, it’s nearly silly season with rumors flying fast and loose all over the place. So let’s look at a few potential targets for the Dodgers, who will almost certainly pursue multiple pitchers.

Shohei Ohtani

The Angels superstar is a unicorn, in that he is simultaneously one of the best hitters and best pitchers in baseball, all in one package. This offseason, he will almost surely set a record for the largest contract in the history of the sport, if not North American sports.

Jim Bowden at The Athletic made up some potential trade scenarios should the Angels decide to deal Ohtani. I don’t mean to discount Bowden, who was an actual major league general manager, and one who once fleeced the Dodgers by getting Paul Konerko (and Dennys Reyes) for closer Jeff Shaw. But he suggested that this year’s Dodgers “are equipped to make a 10-for-1 type trade to land Ohtani,” which made me wonder why I’m even bothering here.

More from Bowden:

The Angels don’t need a catcher because they have Logan O’Hoppe, who is working his way back from shoulder surgery, but just based on their respective value, would have to insist on either Diego Cartaya or Dalton Rushing, both top catching prospects, being included in the trade. Then they could ask for a trio of pitching prospects who have cut their teeth in the majors: Emmet Sheehan, Gavin Stone, and either Michael Grove or Ryan Pepiot. Add a couple of position players to the package, such as outfielder Andy Pages and either third baseman Michael Busch or outfielder Josue De Paula, and you start getting close to the necessary return value for a deal.

Oh, is that all? This is pure fantasy, but the Angels are near Disneyland, so who’s to say? The thing about Ohtani is he breaks any sort of valuation system we have, whether in compensating him in salary or compensating the Angels for two months of his services.

The Angels absolutely should trade Ohtani, as they are going nowhere, and need to get more than a paltry draft pick when the generational superstar signs elsewhere rather than re-ups for losing in Anaheim. But owner Arte Moreno is stubborn enough to make a trade not a sure thing, and it makes a trade to the Dodgers even less likely.

I’ll believe Ohtani is traded to the Dodgers only when it happens. Hey, maybe the Dodgers could get Luis Rengifo after all as part of the deal.

Realistic starting pitchers

Lucas Giolito starts for the White Sox on Tuesday, and the Dodgers are rumored to be interested in the right-hander, as Jon Morosi of reported late last week. Giolito has a 3.44 and 4.18 xERA in 19 starts this season, with 117 strikeouts and 34 walks in 112⅓ innings.

I mentioned Giolito as a potential Dodgers target in last week’s mailbag, mostly because he fits the criteria. He’s a free agent after this season, which makes him likely to be traded from a Chicago team at 40-55, 8½ games back in a terrible American League Central and 10½ games back of a wild card spot.

Giolito is making $10.4 million this season. If he’s traded on August 1, he’ll have about $3.4 million remaining. As a hypothetical, let’s say the Dodgers trade for Giolito before that Tuesday start. If so, they’d be on the hook for about $4.24 million.

Or maybe Giolito’s former Harvard-Westlake High School teammate Jack Flaherty might be a Dodgers target. The Cardinals are floundering in last place in the NL Central, 11½ games back of both Milwaukee in the division and Arizona for a wild card berth. Flaherty has a 4.29 ERA on the season, but he’s at 3.03 in his last 10 starts. The right-hander has lasted six innings in each of his last four starts, and has allowed three runs in his three July starts.

Or maybe another free-agent-to-be in the Cardinals rotation might be of interest. Left-hander Jordan Montgomery has a 3.23 ERA and 4.04 xERA in 18 starts, with 96 strikeouts and 27 walks in 103 innings. He was traded at last year’s deadline, too, from the Yankees to the Cardinals.

Montgomery is making $10 million this season. If he’s traded before his Tuesday start, there would be about $4.1 million remaining. Flaherty is making $5.4 million, so a Tuesday trade would leave roughly $2.2 million.