Reports from earlier this week suggested the Marlins were “no longer turning down calls” (in the words of Barry Jackson and Craig Mish of the Miami Herald) about Pablo Lopez‘s availability, and so it is not surprising that the aggressive Dodgers have reached it. Jack Harris of the Los Angeles Times reports that Lopez is one of several players the Dodgers have discussed as tomorrow’s trading deadline approaches.
The Twins and Cardinals have also been linked to Lopez in trade rumours, and given Lopez’s value as both an immediate rotation boost and a longer-term response, it’s probably safe to guess that just about every contender has checked in with the general manager. of Miami, Kim Ng. Of course, with Lopez being arbitrated through the 2024 season, he also has a lot of value for the Marlins, especially since Miami has enough talent on the roster that they are certainly aiming for a return to combat in 2023.
That means that if the Marlins moved Lopez, it would be very likely for players who are ready to make an immediate contribution in the major leagues, as opposed to just intriguing prospects. Since the asking price for Lopez will certainly be huge, not many teams will necessarily be able to meet the demands of the Marlins… but the Dodgers could certainly be one of those clubs, given their deep farming system.
It’s been a little over five years since Lopez was shared as part of a four-player package from the Mariners to the Marlins in exchange for David Phelps, a deal that ended up being a major win for Miami. After posting decent numbers on 31 starts in 2018-19, Lopez has quietly been one of the most effective starters in baseball, with a 3.33 ERA, 48.1% grounder rate, 25.7% strikeout rate and 6.9% walk rate over 278 2/ 3 innings since the start of the 2020 season.
A rotator cuff strain kept Lopez sidelined for most of the second half of the 2021 season, but has recovered this year with another strong performance. An above-average strikeout pitcher, Lopez has put in the best snuff speed of his career, while also getting plenty of grounders and soft contact (even if his low number of barrel rates suggests that batters can really take advantage of the relatively few times they do that). connect).
Clayton Kershaw won’t be signed until the 2022 season, as the longtime Dodgers ace looks set to approach the rest of his career season-after-season. Beyond Kershaw, Tyler Anderson and Andrew Heaney are slated for free agency this winter, so acting for Lopez would give Los Angeles another manageable arm to come along Julius Urias (arb-controlled until 2023), Dustin May (2025), and Tony Gonsolin (2026).