Juan Soto and Pablo López become top Dodgers trade targets

As the clock ticks to Tuesday afternoon MLB Trade Deadlinethere are two likely paths ahead of the Dodgers.

Complete a successful transaction for Washington Nationals Superstar Juan Soto.

Or bolster the pitching staff with the addition of a starter, with the Miami Marlins right-hander Paul Lopez emerging as a legitimate target for the Dodgers, according to multiple people with knowledge of the situation.

The Dodgers’ interest in Soto has been evident for weeks, ever since the 23-year-old outfielder rejected a 15-year, $440 million contract extension from the Nationals last month and was placed on the trade block by the club. .

The Dodgers would be one of Soto’s three draw favorites, along with the San Diego Padres and St. Louis Cardinals.

Acquiring the two-time All-Star and 2020 National League batting champion could come at an unprecedented cost. The Nationals have asked for up to six top prospects as well as young, productive MLB players.

For the Dodgers, such a package could include the catcher Diego Cartaya, their best overall prospect and one of the most touted minor leaguers in the sport; the young pitchers of Bobby Miller and Ryan Pepiot; promising hitters like Miguel Vargas, Michael Busch or Andy Pages; and maybe even second baseman Gavin Lux or pitcher Dustin May off the big league list.

Nonetheless, optimism of getting Soto has grown among some in the Dodgers organization in recent days, as other league contenders such as the New York Yankees and Seattle Mariners have seemingly dropped out of the race. .

Still, there’s a chance that Soto could end up with the Cardinals or the Padres – who each have their own impressive cadre of assets to bring to the table – or stay with the Nationals if the team doesn’t get an offer that’s right. she deems strong enough for the generational talent, which will be under the control of the team for two seasons after this year.

If the Dodgers don’t end up with Soto, they could pivot to López, who is one of the best remaining pitchers still potentially available at the deadline.

Miami Marlins pitcher Pablo López delivers against the New York Mets on Sunday.

(Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press)

A 26-year-old right-hander with a 3.41 ERA in 21 starts this season, López has been at the center of talk between the Dodgers and Marlins recently. Veteran Marlins reliever Anthony Bass was also mentioned in discussions between the teams.

López, another player with two seasons in team control after this year, wouldn’t come cheap.

The controllable starting pitch market has exploded after the huge gains the Cincinnati Reds have made from the trade Luis Castillo at the Seattle Mariners Friday, and the Oakland Athletics received Monday by dealing Frankie Montas to the New York Yankees.

But the addition of López could help stabilize the Dodgers’ pitching staff, which leads the ERA team majors but still isn’t sure what to expect from injured pitchers such as Walker Buehler, May and Blake Treinen on the section.

It’s unlikely the Dodgers could acquire both Soto and López, as several of the Dodgers’ top prospects would likely be desired by both teams.

There are also other alternatives the Dodgers could explore ahead of Tuesday’s 3 p.m. PDT deadline, with Chicago Cubs’ Ian Happ and Boston Red Sox’s JD Martinez the most notable of several other hitters who could be acquired at lower cost.

“I think we have learned to manage [the deadline rumors]when it comes to noise,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said before the team’s game. Victory 8-2 against the San Francisco Giants Monday, which was scored by Max Muncy’s two-run second-inning home run and a pair of RBIs each from Trea Turner, Freddie Freeman and Will Smith.

With the win, the Dodgers (69-33) have the best record in the majors heading into the deadline.

“It’s just sort of, at least you know now the day after tomorrow the guys within the organization that you’re going to have and then you move on with those guys.”

Who exactly the Dodgers could add remains unclear.

But on the eve of another trade deadline, they once again positioned themselves to take on some of the biggest names available in the market.

Cleavinger distributed to Rays

The Dodgers made a minor move on Monday, sending left-handed reliever Garrett Cleavinger to the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for 18-year-old outfield prospect German Tapia. Cleavinger was in triple-A, and his departure opens up a spot on the team’s 40-man roster.

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