Dodgers Interested In Pablo Lopez

Reports from earlier this week suggested the Marlins were “no longer dismissing calls” (in the words of Barry Jackson and Craig Mish of the Miami Herald) about Pablo Lopez‘s availability, and thus it isn’t surprising that the aggressive Dodgers have reached out. Jack Harris of the Los Angeles Times reports that Lopez is among the many players the Dodgers have discussed as tomorrow’s trade deadline looms.

The Twins and Cardinals have also been linked to Lopez in trade rumors, and given Lopez’s value as both an immediate rotation boost and a longer-term answer, it’s probably safe to guess that just about every contender has checked in with Miami general manager Kim Ng . Of course, since Lopez is controlled via arbitration through the 2024 season, he has a ton of value to the Marlins as well, particularly since Miami has enough talent on the roster that they’re surely aiming for a return to contention in 2023.

That means that if the Marlins did move Lopez, it would very likely be for players who are ready to contribute in the big leagues right away, as opposed to just intriguing prospects. Since the asking price for Lopez is sure to be huge, not many teams could necessarily meet the Marlins’ demands….but the Dodgers could certainly be one of those clubs, given their deep farm system.

It was a little over five years ago that Lopez was dealt 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 significant win for Miami. After posting decent numbers over 31 starts in 2018-19, Lopez has quietly been one of the more effective starters in baseball, posting 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 sidelined Lopez for most of the second half of the 2021 season, but he has rebounded with another strong performance this year. An above-average strikeout pitcher, Lopez has posted the best whiff rate of his career, while also getting a lot of grounders and soft contact (even if his low barrel-rate numbers suggest that batters can really capitalize on the few occasions they do connect).

Clayton Kershaw is only signed through the 2022 season, as the long-time Dodgers ace seems to be taking a season-by-season approach to the remainder of his career. Beyond Kershaw, Tyler Anderson and Andrew Hey are scheduled for free agency this winter, so trading for Lopez would give Los Angeles another controllable arm to go along with Julio Urias (arb-controlled through 2023), Dustin May (2025), and Tony Gonsolin (2026).

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