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There might also be some teams willing to trade for some of the Dodgers' Major League players. Guys like Mark Ellis, Dee Gordon, Luis Cruz, Elian Herrera, Nick Punto, Juan Rivera and A.J. Ellis could be had for the right price. All are primarily light-hitting infielders, but all of them bring a very specific set of skills to the table that might help complete a lineup for a potential contender.
For example, we know Gordon has blazing speed. Cruz is maintaining a .300 average and playing brilliant defense since his call-up in early July. A.J. Ellis is a fantastic catcher who gets on base at a ridiculous clip.
And one positive coming out of the moves made by the Dodgers to add bats at the deadline and through waivers is that it makes the depth behind those new starters expendable and available.
Could one of these starters be acquired in a trade with a team who needs to bolster certain parts of their current rosters to get back into contention?
I think Masterson got a bad rap at the beginning of this year for struggling, but he is one of the most unique, talented pitchers in the game right now. Unfortunately, that might be just the reason that the Dodgers wouldn't be able to snag him.
At age 27, Masterson is going to hit full stride soon and could become a premiere pitcher. He has dirty stuff and good control of it. Plus his kooky delivery adds a little difficulty for the hitter. He isn't a free agent until 2015, but if the Dodgers could offer a couple established arms and a prospect, the Indians might be willing to talk.
This trade would be highly unlikely, considering how much the Cubs like Samardzija. Los Angeles might be better served taking a chance on a trade for the injured Matt Garza. But Samardzija is close to being a star at age 27, so he would be a hot commodity in the trade market if made available.
Samardzija strikes out a lot of guys, but has had his fair share of growing pains. If the Dodgers could harness his potential in a pitcher-friendly park, they could have a top of the rotation guy. I'm sure the Cubs would love a top of the order hitter like Gordon in a trade.
This might be another Dodgers fan pipe dream here, but how sweet would a 1-2 of Kershaw and Gallardo be? My goodness. At age 26, Gallardo has already put up four straight double-digit win seasons and is one of the quietest good pitchers in the National League.
The Brewers have him locked up through 2014 with a team option for 2015, so it would cost an arm and a leg to get him. But Milwaukee could definitely use bullpen help which the Dodgers have plenty of both in the Majors and minors. Maybe a Javy Guerra, Brandon League, Scott Elbert for Gallardo swap?
I'm sure every GM and his mother will be calling about Johnson if there are any indications whatsoever that he is available. Johnson has struggled in 2012, but was one of the better young pitchers in the game before getting injured.
Johnson is just 28 years old and holds a nifty 3.16 career ERA. Questions will surround his ability to bounce back after his injury, but if he does, he's a catch and a half. The Dodgers could pair him up with Kershaw and Billingsley and Beckett to make a pretty formidable rotation.
This would be the ultimate coup, but the baseball world has been hearing whispers of Hernandez being trade bait for over a year now. And while I personally would advise Mariners' GM Jack Zduriencik to not trade King Felix, I'd absolutely change my stance if my Dodgers were the beneficiaries.
Still, the M's could use a little more offensive pop and have three very young, very talented pitchers ready to bust onto the Major League scene in Taijuan Walker, Danny Hultzen and James Paxton. I don't need to tell you about Hernandez' resume, but he is only 26 still and could maybe be had for a top minor league hitter and two or three Major League bats. Gordon is another possibility here.