The Los Angeles Dodgers are covering all their bases in free agency.
Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto — arguably the top free agents on the board — are both in Los Angeles' sights, according to Jack Harris of the Los Angeles Times. The Dodgers are "among the top contenders" for the Japanese superstars. Both want to play on the West Coast, and there's no denying the Dodgers' competitive ceiling as a 100-win team with two MVP candidates in Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman.
While the Dodgers have the financial backing to sign Ohtani and Yamamoto to massive contracts, there's no guarantee the stars actually land in LA. Ohtani has other suitors, with the Chicago Cubs and Toronto Blue Jays garnering heavy speculation. Yamamoto's list of potential homes is even wider.
If the Dodgers ultimately whiff on the offseason's big names, that won't stop the front office from making a splash. Per the Times, Los Angeles has been exploring the bargain-bin market for help on the pitching staff. Harris mentions Lucas Giolito, Jack Flaherty, and Seth Lugo as Dodgers targets.
Dodgers targeting multiple backup plans aside from Shohei Ohtani, Yoshinobu Yamamoto
The market for pitchers is positively robust at the moment. The Dodgers, like a number of contenders, feature a noticeable absence of top-shelf pitching. Los Angeles cannot rely on Clayton Kershaw, who may or may not come back. Walker Buehler and Bobby Miller offer some upside, but neither profiles as a bankable No. 1 starter in 2024.
If the Dodgers may land a top ace, but next best bet is depth. Los Angeles needs several quality arms it can rely on once the playoffs arrive.
Jack Flaherty started the season with the St. Louis Cardinals and finished with the first-place Baltimore Orioles, where he completely fell apart. After going 7-6 in 20 appearances with the Cards, Flaherty went 1-3 in nine regular season games with Baltimore. He finished the season with a 4.99 ERA and 1.580 WHIP overall, before going two innings with two hits, three walks, and an earned run in his lone postseason appearance — a loss to the Texas Rangers.
Seth Lugo profiles as the best option at first blush. He went 8-7 with the San Diego Padres, posting a 3.57 ERA and 1.203 WHIP. With three straight sub-4.00 ERA seasons, Lugo offers a measure of stability as a middle-rotation starter.
None of these options would inspire great confidence on their own, but if the Dodgers can add a couple solid starters, it would help lessen the sting of potentially losing out on Ohtani and (or) Yamamoto. If the Dodgers can lure one of the offseason's big stars and add another pitcher, however, that would qualify as a home run.