The July 31 non-waiver trade deadline is fast approaching and there will be a lot of talk about who the Dodgers should acquire to bolster their roster for October. There’s already discussion of them acquiring Justin Verlander, or Sonny Gray. The Dodgers currently have a 7.5 game lead in the NL West and the best record in baseball. They’re arguably in the most enviable situation.
The landscape in baseball has changed and according to the latest article from Peter Gammons, there are far more sellers than buyers on the open market than ever before. Gammons is correct. If you look at the standings you’ll see there are a lot of bad or mediocre teams this season. The National League is extremely weak this year. There are only five teams in the National League with winning records right now.
With all of the clubs ready to sell but so few buyers can create a situation where there are few deals that will get completed. Most of the sellers will ask for exorbitant prices for their star players. Veterans will require top prospects. Most of the sellers will just wait out the 2017 season and try to rebuild for next year.
The Dodgers are said to be in the market for a left handed reliever, and or another starter. They could definitely use another lefty in the bullpen as Grant Dayton has been up and down this season, currently he is on the disabled list with a stiff neck. Adam Liberatore has been battling injuries all season and Luis Avilan is starting to show cracks. Brad Hand, or Justin Wilson would both be a great fit for the Dodgers.
Another starter would be harder to acquire and cost considerably more in terms of prospects or cash. Justin Verlander is aging and in decline. He’s still a good pitcher and comes with plenty of postseason experience, but he’s also expensive. Sonny Gray would be a great pick-up as would Chris Archer. I think the most important thing for the Dodgers here is to acquire someone that is pitching well right now. Verlander is having a down year. Gray is having a down year as well. If the Dodgers are going to acquire someone, then it has to be someone that is pitching well this year. Otherwise it wouldn’t be much help in general.
Here are some things to consider about the trade deadline.
Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi are not known for acquiring huge expensive superstars. So don’t expect for them to acquire guys like Verlander or Archer. Especially if that involves parting with organizational prospects like Alex Verdugo or Willie Calhoun.
The July 31 trade deadline is about bolstering your roster for the stretch drive and playoffs. It’s about winning right now. It’s not about the future. If you can get someone that is under team control for several years of course you do that. However the short term rentals are more the norm for this. The front office shouldn’t be afraid of this.
As I mentioned above it’s important to acquire a pitcher or player that is pitching well this season. Acquiring a player or pitcher that is not performing well than that is likely to continue through the end of the season.
The Dodgers have a very strong club at this point. They need very little, but one additional starter and reliever would help. Preferably one that is left handed.
The Dodgers only need three starters once they reach the postseason. Clayton Kershaw, Alex Wood, and probably Rich Hill would be those three. They also still have Hyun-jin Ryu, Brandon McCarthy, and Kenta Maeda to consider in a deep group of potential choices. They also have Brock Stewart, and Ross Stripling to provide long relief and spot starts down the stretch. You could make an argument that the Dodgers might have enough starting pitching to make it through the postseason.
The Dodgers don’t have to part ways with Verdugo or Calhoun and obviously shouldn’t. They have other lower level prospects that they could use as trade chips if necessary. Guys like Trevor Oaks, Josh Sborz or someone like DJ Peters could be available if the price or need is right.