Dodgers Dugout: Who could the Dodgers get at the trade deadline?

Will Smith tags out Pittsburgh's Carlos Santana in a game last week.
Will Smith tags out Pittsburgh’s Carlos Santana in a game last week.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell. The second half of the season starts tonight for the Dodgers.

In mid-June, the Dodgers went 5-11, were swept by the Giants and tumbled to third place. If you had told fans then that the Dodgers would be in first place as the second half began, many would have laughed. Yet here we are.

With the trade deadline a couple of weeks away (Aug. 1 at 3 p.m. PT), you have to believe the Dodgers will try to acquire a decent name at the deadline to help them. But who?

Before we get to that, consider this:

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All the experts believe that the Dodgers are the leading candidate to sign Shohei Ohtani in the offseason. Many of those same experts believe he will get a salary in the neighborhood of $50 million a year (or more) since not only are you signing a power hitter, but you also are signing one of the top pitchers in baseball. You are basically getting two players and will be paying him the equivalent of what two players would receive.

So, if the Dodgers sign Ohtani at, let’s say $50 million a year, then next season’s payroll looks like this:

Ohtani, $50 million
Mookie Betts, $30.4 million
Freddie Freeman, $27 million
Chris Taylor, $13 million
Miguel Rojas, $5.75 million
Austin Barnes, $3.5 million
Tony Gonsolin, $3.4 million

That’s $143.05 million

Plus, you have the following contract options for next season:

Max Muncy, $10 million
Daniel Hudson, $6.5 million
Alex Reyes $3 million

That’s $19.5 million. Let’s say of that group, they bring back only Muncy. That’s $10 million, which brings us to $153.05 million.


Then there’s Clayton Kershaw. Let’s say he wants to come back, and the Dodgers already said they want him to be a Dodger for life. He is getting $20 million this season. Let’s say they sign him for the same amount next season. That’s $173.05 million.

Then there are the players eligible for arbitration, with the salaries they are making this season:

Walker Buehler, $8.03 million
Will Smith, $5.25 million
Dustin May, $1.68 million
Yency Almonte, $1.5 million
Trayce Thompson, $1.45 million
Evan Phillips, $1.3 million
Brusdar Graterol, $1.23 million
Caleb Ferguson, $1.1 million
Alex Vesia, $750,000

That’s $22.29 million.

It’s doubtful all those players will be back, but the ones who will are due for some raises. Smith in particular should double his salary. Let’s say that payroll goes from $22.29 million to $35 million. That takes the Dodgers payroll in 2024 to $208.05 million. The 2024 competitive balance tax threshold is $237 million. Using all of our guesswork, the Dodgers are only $28.5 million below that and they still need a starting pitcher or two (or three), more bullpen arms, two outfielders (unless you put Betts at second, then you need three outfielders), a shortstop, well, you get the picture. Some of those holes could be filled by players under full team control, such as James Outman and Miguel Vargas.

You may be wondering what this has to do with this year’s trade deadline.

Well, to get a quality player, such as a Lucas Giolito, you will need to trade quality prospects. And if you sign Ohtani next season, you may need those quality prospects to fill positions on your team. Because you may not be able to sign a David Peralta or a J.D. Martinez. The more you go over the salary threshold, the bigger your penalty gets, so the Dodgers won’t want to get too carried away.

So do you trade a Dalton Rushing or Diego Cartaya or Michael Busch to the White Sox for Giolito, or to another team for a different player?

The point being, there’s more that goes into the equation than just “how does this help us the next two months?” Andrew Friedman and company will have to keep an eye on the long game. Friedman has done a great job every year putting together a team that can reach the postseason. He has put together teams that should have won more than one World Series. He has made key trades almost every trade deadline. But the equation this year might be somewhat different. Ohtani changes everything.

Who is available?

Some of the top players rumored to be available at the trade deadline include one very interesting name: Cody Bellinger. The Dodgers are more in the market for a right-handed-hitting outfielder, but wouldn’t that be incredible?

The link in the player’s name takes you to their career stats page.

Starting pitchers


Shane Bieber, Guardians (5-6, 3.77 ERA, eligible for arbitration after season)

Paul Blackburn, A’s (1-1, 4.86, arbitration)

Jack Flaherty, Cardinals (6-5, 4.27, free agent)

Lucas Giolito, White Sox (6-5, 3.45, free agent)

Michael Lorenzen, Tigers (3-6, 4.03, free agent)

Lance Lynn, White Sox (5-8, 6.03, $18.3-million team option)


Jordan Montgomery, Cardinals (6-7, 3.23, free agent)

Marcus Stroman, Cubs (9-6, 2.96, $21-million player option)

Scott Barlow, Royals (4.09, 11 saves, arbitration)

Joe Kelly, White Sox (4.82, 1 save, $9.5-million team option)

Keynan Middleton, White Sox (3.09, 2 saves, free agent)

David Robertson, Mets (2.06, 12 saves, free agent)



Tim Anderson, White Sox (.223/.259/.263, $14-million team option)

Paul DeJong, Cardinals (.231/.302/.434, $12.5-million team option)

Third base

Jeimer Candelario, Nationals (.261/.337/.478, free agent)



Cody Bellinger, Cubs (.298/.355/.491, $12.5-million mutual option)

Mark Canha, Mets (.245/.345/.403, $11.5-million team option)

Tommy Pham, Mets (.277/.350/.485, free agent)

Your newest Dodger

The Dodgers signed center fielder Jake Marisnick on Thursday. He was a member of the 2017 Astros. I’m sure it’s total coincidence that 2017 was the only year he was an above-average hitter. Let’s see, he hit .308 at home that year, .187 on the road. Yes, total coincidence.

The 2024 schedule

The 2024 schedule was released on Thursday. The Dodgers open the season March 20-21 against the Padres. They then get a week off before the home opener March 28 against St. Louis. The season closes Sept. 27-29 at Colorado. You can see the entire schedule here.

Who is the greatest Dodger of all time?

We haven’t had much fun this season. With the recent skid, off-field issues and everything seeming heavier this year for some reason, it’s time to inject some fun back into this newsletter by bringing back something we haven’t done since 2018.


Who is the greatest Dodger of all time? Jackie Robinson? Sandy Koufax? Vin Scully? Clayton Kershaw? Lance Rautzhan? The list is endless. So, I am asking for your help.

I want you to send me your list of the 10 greatest Dodgers. They can be L.A. Dodgers or Brooklyn Dodgers. Managers count, as do general managers, owners and announcers. In short, anyone who has been connected with the Dodgers in some way is eligible. You and the rest of the readers of this newsletter will decide who is the greatest.

So, I need you to email me your list of whom you consider to be the 10 greatest. Please list them in order from 1-10. Points will be assigned based on their place in the ballot, with 12 points going to your No. 1 choice, nine points for No. 2, eight points for No. 3, seven points for No. 4, all the way down to one point for No. 10. And please, please, please don’t say “this is just in any order.” Give it some thought. Travel down memory lane and enjoy it. If you already sent me your list, I have it, so no need to vote again.

Voting will remain open through Saturday at 11:59 p.m. PT. We will count down the top 20 vote-getters soon after that. So, send your list to and please make sure the subject line says 10 greatest Dodgers.

Up next

Friday: Dodgers (*Julio Urías, 6-5, 4.76 ERA) at Mets (Justin Verlander, 3-4, 3.60 ERA), 4:10 p.m. PT, Apple TV+, AM 570, KTNQ 1020

Saturday: Dodgers (TBD) at Mets (TBD), 4:15 p.m. PT, Fox, AM 570, KTNQ 1020

Sunday: Dodgers (TBD) at Mets (Max Scherzer, 8-3, 4.31 ERA), 10:40 a.m. PT, SportsNet LA, AM 570, KTNQ 1020


In case you missed it

Jake Marisnick, member of 2017 Houston Astros, agrees to deal with Dodgers


How did Rangers’ sudden rise begin? It starts with Corey Seager

‘I’ve always considered myself a middle infielder.’ How Mookie Betts excels beyond right field

DJ Uiagalelei? Baseball? Why the Dodgers drafted the former five-star St. John Bosco QB

How the Dodgers’ Will Smith became one of baseball’s best catchers

And finally

Ross Porter chats with Johnny Podres. Watch and listen here.

Until next time...

Have a comment or something you’d like to see in a future Dodgers newsletter? Email me at, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.