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Los Angeles Dodgers pursuing Jose Berrios, Max Scherzer trades

Matt Johnson
Los Angeles Dodgers, Max Scherzer
Jul 18, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) throws to the San Diego Padres during the first inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers entered the 2021 season with arguably the best rotation in MLB. With the trade deadline closing in, Los Angeles is now exploring blockbuster trades to help stabilize a pitching staff that has been decimated this summer.

The Dodgers’ rotation woes started in May when promising hurler Dustin May underwent Tommy John surgery. The team survived the blow thanks to its immense wealth of pitching, but it didn’t take long before an area of strength turned into a weakness.

Soon, the front of the rotation started losing top guys. Trevor Bauer, who signed a massive contract this offseason, was accused of assault and remains on administrative leave nearly a month later. With his future uncertain, Los Angeles is also trying to get by with Clayton Kershaw on the injured list.

As the July 30 deadline approaches, the Dodgers are looking everywhere for starting pitching. According to Mike DiGiovanna of The Los Angeles Times, that includes efforts to acquire Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer or Minnesota Twins starter José Berríos.

The Dodgers are pursuing such ace-caliber starters as Washington’s Max Scherzer, Minnesota’s José Berríos
and Colorado’s Germán Márquez as well as mid-rotation starters who can provide better depth over the final two months of the season.

MLB reporter Mike DiGiovanna on Los Angeles Dodgers’ trade targets

Scherzer might be the most difficult to acquire. While MLB rumors indicate the Nationals are open to moving him, there are complicating factors. Scherzer will be a free agent this offseason but is still owed $105 million in deferred salary from 2022-’28.

  • Max Scherzer stats (2021): 2.83 ERA, 35.1 percent strikeout rate, .182 BAA, 0.89 WHIP

The three-time Cy Young Award recipient is willing to waive his 10-and-5 rights, allowing him to block a trade, if it means landing with a club that has a shot at winning the World Series. But with the Dodgers projected to be over the luxury tax line, acquiring him would cost prospects and significant money.

Berríos, who is more likely to be kept past the deadline, is a more affordable target. He is under team control next season via arbitration, making him affordable and giving Los Angeles more long-term security. However, Minnesota is setting a high asking price to move him.

  • José Berríos stats (2021): 3.48 ERA, 25.7 percent strikeout rate, .211 BAA, 1.04 WHIP

If the Dodgers can’t land either of their top targets, mid-rotation arms like Texas Rangers starter Kyle Gibson, Pittsburgh Pirates hurler Tyler Anderson and Colorado Rockies pitcher Jon Gray are realistic options.