As the MLB trade deadline approaches, the Pittsburgh Pirates are looking to make deals to help improve this team for 2024. A new rumor has come out regarding the pitching market and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Reports suggest that they are eyeing a couple of veteran rental pitchers in Justin Verlander and Jordan Montgomery, but their interest doesn't stop there. The Dodgers have also set their sights on Pittsburgh Pirates' young ace, Mitch Keller, who recently earned the honor of being named a 2023 All-Star pitcher.
According to Jack Harris and Jorge Castillo of the LA Times, the Dodgers are very interested in Pittsburgh Pirates starter Mitch Keller. Keller, an All-Star, is controlled through the 2025 season. The Pittsburgh Pirates have to consider if they deem Keller a part of this team's future core. If they do so, then they need to be looking at an extension with Keller. If not, then a trade should definitely be on the table.
The Dodgers' pursuit of starting pitching is fueled by their aspirations to solidify their rotation, which is crucial for success in the playoffs. The Dodgers seem to be in this position every year. Losing Dustin May earlier this year has definitely made starting pitching a bigger priority. Adding a pitcher like Mitch Keller to their ranks would give them a solid option for not just this year but next year as well.
Mitch Keller has emerged as a standout performer for the Pittsburgh Pirates, showcasing immense potential and growth since 2019. It is crazy that he has been up for that long. Keller has been one of the best pitchers in the National League compiling an ERA of 3.97 in 133.2 innings of work while striking out 145 batters. Keller is third in the National League in strikeouts among starters with just Spencer Strider and Blake Snell in front of him.
While the Dodgers may want to secure Keller's services, the Pittsburgh Pirates do not have to trade Keller. The return will need to be a major haul and the Dodgers have the pieces to make it work. The Dodgers have had some real trouble taking their success from the season into the post-season. This might be the year where they are willing to go that extra step to make a run. So who could the Bucs look for in return?