The Dodgers, who lost Dustin May to season-ending elbow surgery, Clayton Kershaw to left forearm tightness and Trevor Bauer to a Major League Baseball-imposed administrative leave in the wake of a sexual assault investigation into the right-hander, are in dire need of starting pitching.
So are the Angels, who could have a prolific offense when Mike Trout returns from a right calf strain but have a weak rotation that ranks 25th in the major leagues with a 5.06 ERA, 28th with 426 2/3 innings pitched, an average of about 4 2/3 innings a start, and 25th with a 1.38 WHIP (walks plus hits per inning).
With nine teams clearly out of playoff contention coming out of the All-Star break, there should be no shortage of “sellers” before the July 30 trade deadline.
But with five American League teams within 5 1/2 games of the second wild-card spot and two National League teams within 6 1/2 games of the second wild-card spot, there should be no shortage of “buyers,” which could make the competition for highly sought-after players fierce.
With that in mind, here’s a look at 10 starting pitchers, with varying degrees of availability, that the Dodgers and Angels could target in trades this month:
Jose Berrios (Minnesota Twins, RHP)
Berrios, 27, is 7-3 with a 3.48 ERA in 18 starts, with 114 strikeouts and 31 walks in 108 2/3 innings, and he has an electric four-pitch mix that includes an 83-mph curve and a 94-mph sinking fastball. He is signed for an affordable $6.1 million this season and is under club control through 2022, so it would take a highly attractive package of prospects for the Twins to part with him.
Kyle Gibson (Texas Rangers, RHP)
Gibson, 33, is having the best season of his nine-year career, going 6-1 with a 2.29 ERA in 17 starts, striking out 88 and walking 31 in 102 innings. He throws six pitches, leaning most heavily on a 92.5-mph sinking fastball and 83-mph slider. The 6-foot-6, 215-pound Gibson is in the second year of a three-year, $28-million deal that pays him $9 million this season and $7 million in 2022.
German Marquez (Colorado Rockies, RHP)
The Rockies will be reluctant to part with their ace because he is only 26 and in the third season of a relatively affordable five-year contract. The deal pays him $11 million in 2022, $15 million in 2023 and includes a club option for $16 million in 2024. But Marquez would be worth pursuing — he is 8-6 with a 3.36 ERA in 19 starts, striking out 114 and walking 42 in 112 1/3 innings, and mixes a 95-mph fastball with an 86-mph slider and 85-mph curve.
Michael Pineda (Minnesota Twins, RHP)
Pineda, 32, is 3-5 with a 4.11 ERA in 12 starts, with 55 strikeouts and 15 walks in 61 1/3 innings. He has pitched once since returning from a three-week stint on the injured list because of elbow inflammation, giving up five earned runs and 12 hits in 5 1/3 innings against the White Sox on July 7. His fastball velocity is down a tick, from 92.1 mph in 2020 to 90.9 mph this season, but he’s relatively affordable, with a $10-million salary, and will be a free agent after this season.
Tyler Anderson (Pittsburgh Pirates, LHP)
Anderson, 31, isn’t overpowering, his repertoire consisting of a 90-mph fastball, 85-mph cut-fastball and 81-mph changeup, but he is cheap — he is signed for $2.5 million this season and will be a free agent in 2022 — and reliable. Anderson is 5-8 with a 4.35 ERA in 17 starts, striking out 80 and walking 24 in 97 1/3 innings, and he has posted a 2.66 ERA in his last four starts, striking out 15 and walking four in 23 2/3 innings.
Danny Duffy (Kansas City Royals, LHP)
Duffy, 32, is 4-3 with a 2.53 ERA in 12 games, with 62 strikeouts and 21 walks in 57 innings, and he has a 68-68 career record and 3.95 ERA in 11 seasons. In five starts since missing five weeks of May and June because of a left flexor strain, he’s given up seven earned runs in 15 1/3 innings for a 4.11 ERA. Duffy makes $15.5 million and will be a free agent in 2022. He mixes a 92-mph fastball with a slider, sinking fastball, changeup and curve.
Jon Gray (Colorado Rockies, RHP)
Gray, 29, has bounced back from a rough 2020 season to go 6-6 with a 3.77 ERA in 16 starts, striking out 80 and walking 35 in 86 innings. He went 2-4 with a 6.69 ERA in eight starts last season. Gray mixes a 94.5-mph fastball with an 86.5-mph slider, 87-mph changeup and an occasional 76-mph curve. With a $6-million salary and free agency looming this winter, he shouldn’t cost too much to acquire.
Matthew Boyd (Detroit Tigers, LHP)
Boyd, 30, has been out since mid-June because of triceps tendinitis, but an MRI test revealed no structural damage. If he can return from the injured list or make a minor league rehabilitation start or two this month, he could be an attractive trade option. Boyd, who mixes a 92-mph fastball with an 81-mph changeup and an 81-mph slider, is 3-6 with a 3.44 ERA in 13 starts, striking out 56 and walking 19 in 70 2/3 innings.
Charlie Morton (Atlanta Braves, RHP)
The Braves are four games out in the NL East, but if a season-ending knee injury to slugger Ronald Acuna Jr. causes them to slip further in the standings, they could trade Morton, the 37-year-old veteran who is owed about $7 million on his one-year, $15-million deal. Morton is 8-3 with a 3.64 ERA in 18 starts, striking out 114 and walking 33 in 99 innings, and he has been dominant in his last five games, going 3-0 with a 1.91 ERA with 39 strikeouts and seven walks in 33 innings.
Max Scherzer (Washington Nationals, RHP)
This is a longshot, but if the Nationals, who are six games back in the NL East, fall out of contention, they could be tempted to kick-start a rebuild by trading the three-time Cy Young Award winner who is 7-4 with a 2.66 ERA in 17 starts, with 134 strikeouts and 22 walks in 98 innings. Scherzer, who turns 37 on July 27, is making $34.5 million in the final season of his seven-year, $210-million deal, and will be a free agent this winter. Another potential hurdle in a deal: Scherzer’s agent, Scott Boras, has hinted that the pitcher wants a contract extension in exchange for waiving his rights to veto a trade.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.