Buzz in Dodgers' clubhouse: Trade for pitching

Players eager for team to strike deal for premium starter or strong reliever

Buzz in Dodgers' clubhouse: Trade for pitching

LOS ANGELES -- While Wade Davis is the rumor of the day for the Dodgers' trade targets, he's just one name mentioned by a cross section of Dodgers players who generally believe management should focus on acquiring a starting pitcher by Monday's 1 p.m. PT non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Not surprisingly, the win-now agenda in the clubhouse has players showing no hesitation trading teenage top prospect Julio Urias or underachieving outfielder Yasiel Puig if that's what it takes to improve the current club.

"For somebody like Chris Sale or Andrew Miller?" one player said when asked if he would include Urias or Puig. "Are you kidding? Of course you make those trades. We're trying to win, right?"

A similar canvas of the clubhouse a year ago labeled Cole Hamels as the preferred target, and holdovers are still in disbelief over management's refusal to make that deal.

The need this year is obviously even greater because there is no Zack Greinke in the rotation -- or, for that matter, a healthy Clayton Kershaw, who is out indefinitely.

Kershaw on rehabbing from injury

The Dodgers could have folded once Kershaw went on the disabled list. Instead, they are 16-9, have sliced the deficit in the National League West to 2 1/2 games and have shifted the pressure to the front office to get reinforcements.

"Clayton's not even throwing yet, so you have to go into the Deadline assuming we won't have him, and if he comes back, it's a bonus," said one teammate. "Right now, we need a starter that can go seven innings."

"But," added another player, "it can't be just any starter. If you're talking about playing in October, it has to be somebody serious, like Sale."

Only one player listed offense as the priority, offering Cincinnati outfielder Jay Bruce as the preferred target. But another player said not to be surprised if the Dodgers add Oakland's Josh Reddick, Toronto's Jose Bautista, Brett Gardner of the Yankees, Kole Calhoun of the Angels or even former Dodger Matt Kemp, with another fire sale ongoing in San Diego.

But pitching overwhelmingly is what Dodgers players think is needed. While Sale was the rumor du jour earlier in the week, the way Chris Archer cooled off hot Dodgers bats moved him up in their eyes. The presence of former Oakland exec Farhan Zaidi in the Dodgers' front office makes A's starters Rich Hill and Sonny Gray logical.

And the few Dodgers players who did not say a starter should be the goal -- because of the thin market -- focused on the bullpen.

Jansen notches the save

"You see what the Cubs just did with [Aroldis] Chapman," said one player. "Supposedly, that's what we were thinking when we were going to get him over the winter. Add to the bullpen and work backward -- add Davis or Miller to Kenley [Jansen] and shorten the game so we can get away with starts of five and six innings."

The Davis rumors have indicated the Royals would move the reliever only if the acquiring team also took starting pitcher Ian Kennedy and the remaining $64 million on his contract. Kennedy is five years removed from his best season.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.