The Los Angeles Dodgers have seen a complete change in philosophy over the past year, chasing big names and playing the sabermetrics game. With a plethora of high-profile acquisitions, the Dodgers have built the contender that their fanbase has been waiting for.
As we approach the 2013 MLB trade deadline, it's important to note that L.A. isn't done.
The Dodgers remain active on the rumor mill, pursuing free agents that could potentially help their postseason dreams become a reality. For those who doubt that the Dodgers will make something happen, play the numbers game.
The Dodgers almost always make a trade on July 31.
The Dodgers’ Ned Colletti has made at least one trade on July 31 every year he’s been a general manager— Pedro Moura (@PedroMoura) July 29, 2013
Why not again in 2013?
There are names out there the Dodgers are pursuing, specifically pitchers. From superstars to high-quality middle relievers, there has been no shortage of rumors coming out of Tinseltown.
Here are the Dodgers' best options.
Luke Hochevar, Kansas City Royals
Position: Relief Pitcher
Experience: 7th Season
2013 Season Statistics
33 GP, 40.0 IP, 3-1, 40 SO, 1.80 ERA, 0.83 WHIP
According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Dodgers are targeting Kansas City Royals reliever Luke Hochevar. Hochevar is currently in the midst of his best season in the MLB, not so coincidentally coming after a shift to the bullpen.
With the Dodgers making a push for the postseason, adding a reliable arm for the middle innings is clearly a focus.
Thus far, Hochevar has turned heads. He's 3-1 in 33 appearances, pitching 40.0 innings and registering an ERA of 1.80 with a WHIP of 0.83.
Hochevar also hasn't allowed a run in 13 appearances, a stretch that spans 14.0 full innings. While that streak will inevitably be broken at some point, Hochevar has come into his own and has begun to use his power to overwhelm hitters.
Even if he can't serve as a starter, making the transition to a pitcher-friendly National League suggests the results will improve.
The key for Los Angeles is not overpaying, as acquiring a middle reliever simply isn't worth a steep price. As valuable as said pitchers may be, the Dodgers can find similar value for cheap.
If L.A. is able to swing a cost-friendly deal for Hochevar, however, there's no question that the Dodgers should pounce on it.
Joe Nathan, Texas Rangers
Experience: 13th Season
2013 Season Statistics
44 GP, 41.2 IP, 1-1, 32 SV, 44 SO, 1.73 ERA, 0.84 WHIP
According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Texas Rangers have had internal discussions about trading closer Joe Nathan. If the Rangers were to pull this trade off, they'd be looking for relief pitchers and power.
Per Buster Olney of ESPN, Texas has already begun making calls about acquiring outfielders.
Other teams say the Rangers are calling around all over the place in their search for outfield help.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 29, 2013
With Nelson Cruz being suspended, it's not hard to see why.
If Nathan is available, there's no question that the Dodgers are potential suitors. Kenley Jansen has been strong, but Nathan is a potential Hall of Fame selection that remains elite.
For a Dodgers team that is in control of its own postseason destiny, adding that type of reliable presence at the end of games could have a major impact on its World Series dreams.
Nathan is currently 32-for-34 in save opportunities, posting a 1.73 ERA and a WHIP of 0.84. He's also holding opponents to an all but untouchable batting average of .167.
The question is, would a package centered around Andre Ethier be enough to land Nathan? If so, it's a deal worth executing.
Ervin Santana, Kansas City Royals
Position: Starting Pitcher
Experience: 9th Season
2013 Season Statistics
20 GS, 6-6, 107 SO, 3.06 ERA, 1.08 WHIP
Per Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Royals are open to trading starting pitcher Ervin Santana. In order to do so, however, Kansas City will command a steep asking price, as it's looking for draft picks in return.
It'd be a steep price to pay, but if the Dodgers were willing, it would be a move with rewards.
Having spent the first eight years of his career with the Los Angeles Angels, Santana is familiar with the area. During his first year in Kansas City, he's shown just how far he's come from a consistency perspective.
Thus far, Santana is 6-6 with 107 strikeouts in 20 games played.
Santana also has career-best marks with a WHIP of 1.08 and an ERA of 3.06. While starting pitcher isn't the most pressing need in Los Angeles, injuries have plagued the team's rotation when it comes to right-handed pitching.
If L.A. can come up with a reasonable deal, Santana would be quite the grab.