The Dodgers are among the hottest teams in baseball, having won 22 of their last 27 and taking the lead in the NL West. During that time, GM Ned Colletti has said that he doesn’t expect to make a huge, franchise-changing trade. “"I don't know that that player is out there," Colletti told Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.
And indeed, there doesn’t appear to be any star players on the market this year. The Yankees will never be sellers, so Robinson Cano won’t be available. And the Phillies are 10-7 in July, climbing past the Nationals and allowing Ruben Amaro, Jr. a justification for hanging on to Chase Utley.
With the recent Matt Garza-to-Texas trade, the best player is now likely off the market. But the Dodgers have been linked to several possible targets, and they can never be counted out of any sweepstakes.
However, the new CBA has eliminated ways that teams can flex their financial might, and buying Cuban free agents is one of the only ways the Dodgers have left to them. Therefore, it wouldn’t shock me if the Dodgers got back in on Gonzalez.
At this point in time, though, Gonzalez appears likely to sign with someone else.
This is a horrible hedge; I just honestly have no idea which direction the Dodgers will go. With the recent Francisco Rodriguez trade, the one clear candidate the Dodgers had been targeting is now off the table.
They clearly need help, though. The team ranks seventh-worst in save percentage—and while saves are a flawed stat, this tells us how often the bullpen has been able to hold onto a lead. The bullpen is also the tenth-worst in the majors in ERA. Suffice it to say, Colletti will be looking for upgrades over such luminaries as Brandon League (5.88 ERA).
Norris is a good pitcher and is justifiably generating plenty of interest, but that will make him difficult for the Dodgers to get. Teams like the Red Sox and Pirates have much deeper systems than the Dodgers do, and the Astros won’t be counting on the Dodgers for salary relief because their payroll is only $20 million right now.
In addition, the Dodgers’ system doesn’t seem to be a match for the Astros. The top end of LA’s system is Zach Lee, Joc Pederson and Corey Seager—each seems to be valued highly by the team and is therefore unlikely to be dealt for a spare part such as Norris. The rest of the system—Onelki Garcia, Chris Reed, Matt Magill—has a low ceiling, and the Red Sox and Pirates have more depth with which to choose from.
Finally, with Stephen Fife on his way off the DL soon and the recent addition of Ricky Nolasco, the Dodgers don’t have an intense need for Norris. Extra pitching is always nice, but it’s not mandatory at this point.
A late addition to the rumors surrounding the Dodgers, Guerrero, like Gonzalez, is a Cuban free agent whose signing isn’t regulated by the international bonus cap. However, his signing would be a huge addition because the team would try to push him to the majors quickly, so he’s included on this list.
Guerrero was believed to have signed with the Dodgers on Tuesday, but Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com reported later that Guerrero is still unsigned. However, the team has a clearer need in the infield than it does in the rotation, so assuming Colletti will go after Guerrero is a safe bet.