Dodgers Strategy Nearing The Trade Deadline

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.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Former Co-editor of Lasorda’s Lair. Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

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13 thoughts on “Dodgers Strategy Nearing The Trade Deadline

  1. I agree Scott totally, and those saying the Dodger should dump Joc or Puig do not understand the value those 2 have to the team. They are both still young players so why should the Dodger go after someone like Martinez or McCutcheon who obviously are gifted, but not all that young, and neither has the defensive skills Joc and Puig have. The bench is loaded with mediocrity as far as I am concerned. Kike, although a very likeable kid, is not really doing all that great. No, he is not getting regular playing time, but he is obviously not better than those already on the field. I believe from what I have read and heard that the Dodgers main target is a lefty reliever. I have to believe the FO thinks they have good pieces that can come up and do the job from OKC. I do think guys like Kike and SVS would probably benefit from a change of address, but I doubt there would be many takers unless they were throw in’s. Utley is there as much for his tutoring as anything else, and he still surprises sometimes with timely hits. A-gone, Gutierrez, Ethier, they are all after thoughts now. Gutierrez no where close to being ready, all I hear about Ethier is September at the earliest, and A-gone supposedly by mid to late August. As for starting pitchers, like you said, unless they are performing well right now, why trade down? Maeda and McCarthy both have winning records, Ryu has pitched well, and I think Stewart is a real sleeper. All in all, there really is not a whole lot of need except the LH relief and a good bench guy. It has worked so far, lets not screw it up by trading off pieces that have gotten them there.

    1. Michael

      If Puig and Joc could hit lefties like most major leaguers, there wouldn’t be such a need for Kike!

      Puig’s OPS is 777, and Kike’s is 760.

      And Kike doesn’t play everyday, but his OPS is very close to Puig’s!

      Puig hitting against lefties. 161/ 232/250/499

      And Joc is a platoon player.

      And Joc is not an elite defensive centerfielder, check his defensive metrics.

      1. Who are you going to platoon Joc with? Kike? Please. Thompson is not hitting either. Joc may not be the elite of the elite but he is by far the best CF on the team. You are right that Joc and Puig should be hitting LH better. But Kike is not killing them either unless you consider a .250 average all that. Puig should sit against lefty’s. Joc has only had 34 at bats against them, so yeah he should sit against lefty’s too. Since the majority of MLB pitchers are RH, Joc and Puig are going to get the bulk of the playing time. Yes, Kike’s OPS is close to Puig’s, but his OBP is low. His batting average is low. He is what he is, a talented kid and a sub. He is not the same Kike he was in 2015. If he was that guy, well maybe I would be banging the drum for him to play more. But facts are facts. he does not have the power of Joc or Puig, and he in all reality does not have a position. You have to admit the kid would be better off somewhere else where he could play more because he is never going to be an everyday player on this team.

        1. Michael

          If I went by a 250 average like you do with Kike, that is what Puig is batting, and he is getting consistent at bats.

          You know who plays for Joc because he doesn’t start against lefties as a rule, and Puig is actually hitting Lower against lefties then Joc, but neither one of these guys, are hitting lefties at all.

          And Kike has half the HRs that Puig has, but Puig has 80 plus more at bats.

          And a OPS in the 700s is not a very high productive OPS, like Puig and Kike have, but it isn’t to bad for a part time player..

          The problem is neither Joc or Puig are hitting lefties much at all, so it isn’t good to knock another player, that is on the team, to pick up for these two.

          And you are right if Joc could hit 250 a season the Dodgers would be happy, but Joc is in his third year, and he still hasn’t been able to hit 250 for a season.

          And that is the bottom batting average that is acceptable, and Joc still hasn’t hit that.

          I like all three players, but you shouldn’t put other players down, when the players you like, have their own deficiencies.

          And I think this team is a team effort from Kike to Barnes to Puig and Joc, and all the rest of the players.

          And we should want all of the players to do good.

          1. I understand what you are saying and I get the point. Kike hits lefty’s and should play against them. But he is hitting .215 over all, not .250. That is just his average against LH pitching. And Puig having 80 more at bats is because he is the better player. He is a much better option against RH pitchers. Joc hit .240 last year after a miserable start to the year. He hit over .260 in the 2nd half. His power never went down. It was consistent. Yes Joc is in his 3rd year. I have seen lots of players struggle through more years than that and very few average 26 HR’s a year. Joc may not reach that this year, but over the last few weeks since he came off the DL he has played and looked much better. Joc is hitting better against LHP than Kike is against RH pitching. Kike is hitting .186 against righty’s. Here is a weird stat, Joc is hitting .320 in day games with an OPS over 1.000… not even close to that in night games which tells me he is not seeing the ball at night. Kike’s splits are pretty much even home and road day and night. If you got down to it, Kike should not play against RH pitching. and he has more AB’s against RH than left. Joc and Puig should not play against lefty’s . And Joc should probably play everyday game and not at night. Point is this, Kike’s value is in his versatility. He is what he is. I am not knocking the guy and I like to see our players do well. But the fact remains and nothing can change the fact that he is not as good as either Joc or Puig, if he was, he would be starting everyday. I know where their deficiencies’ are. I watch almost every game. I know Puig still chases balls on the outside corner he can never hit and Joc over swings a lot. But I also notice when they make adjustments and things get a little better for them. Puig hit .298 in June. Kike, .188, he is hitting .063 in July. You produce you play, simple as that. Oh by the way, although Kike and Joc are the same age, Kike is in his 4th year in the majors. 2014 was his first.

      2. I know you like Kike MJ and I like the kid too. But can you honestly say that he is a better player than Puig or Joc? If he is, he has never shown it. He had a decent 2/3 of a season in 2015. He did a great job. But since, well his play is very underwhelming. If Joc hits .250, with 20 plus homers, the Dodgers will take that any day. Puig at .250 with 20 plus homers and his elite defense, they will take that too. Especially since he is doing it from the 8 hole. If Kike could do that consistently, they would probably take it. His value lies in his ability to play multiple positions, something Joc and Puig cannot do. So he is relegated to being a so called super utility player. That is his place on this team at this time. But there are players on this team who are doing it better than he is. Taylor is no outfielder, but has learned enough and hits enough to be out there everyday for right now. Barnes can do what Kike can except the outfield part. And he is at this point a better hitter. Utley will be gone next year. We all know that, we also know his value is in his mentoring as much as his play. He is just a smart baseball player and it rubs off. I think for now, the Dodgers will keep Kike right where he is. Giving guys a blow when they need it and pinch hitting. He will get starts when a lefty is out there, but major playing time on this team is not in his future. There are too many better players in front of him.

  2. I would hate to lose Puig, just for his fielding and rifle shot throws to nail runners is enough for me. He is a highlight film nearly every night. He has to mature a bit still, but he is getting there. His offense is improving also, leave him in the 8 hole and don’t get greedy with him. He is what he is, he is a legitimate 5 tool player.

  3. JD Martinez is a more consistent player offensively than Puig, but nowhere near Puig on the other side.

    I keep Puig in RF. If any impact hitter comes, he has to go to LF. But if that happens, one of CT3 or Forsythe has to sit.

    Like I said before, it’ll be a fun July!

  4. I’m on the fence with our young players. Joc and Puig are blocking guys like Verdugo, Dickson and what happens when Toles come back next year? Puig has 5 tools but can’t seem to get more than 3 working at the same time. I still like him over available options, but that’s the thing, we don’t know what available options really mean. If Verdugo makes as much splash as Bellinger then he’s forced the issue. I think that’s what Michael means by getting a look at Verdugo. If Verdugo can impress and improve this year when he’s called up, Puig is gone by ASB next year. But this year, I think the FAZ will hold onto him.

    Joc is a harder call. Taylor can play CF, but Joc is clearly improving. His HRs recently are off much more controlled swings. I think he’s finally progressing. Taylor is currently a better hitter, especially for this lineup, but right now we can and need to see them both in the lineup . But is there another CF in our system after 2018 that can take Joc’s spot? I’m not sure – I don’t think so unless Trayce makes a Taylor-like leap with his offense. (That may actually be possible).

    As for the bench bats. I’m thoroughly underwhelmed by Kike and Gutierrez. SVS’s leash as run out. I think we give Dickson and Segedin another chance to take Gutierrez’s spot. We need Kike and Barnes around because of their super utility status although I’m inclined, with Forsythe back, to just roll the dice and give more chances to Trayce, Segedin and Dickson. Or the likes of Culbertson, Fernandez, and the rest of the churn. I just don’t get the idea of a “super” utility player that bats near the Mendoza line. Barnes is a super utility player. Kike not so much.

    1. I get that and you make good points. But lets talk a few things here. First, have you checked Dickson’s stats? His BA is down to .240. His slugging and OBP are pretty good. But the guy is older than both Puig and Joc. Hitting .240 at AAA he is not being blocked as much as he is not as good as what they have or he would be here playing LF where there is no real everyday player. Verdugo is hitting a ton down there with no power. He only has 3 homers. But his OBP is over .400 so he really should get a look and from reports he has a great arm too. Puig has shown a lot this year, and if he gets it going against lefty’s, which he and Turner Ward have been working on, he could turn into a monster. But we all know his maturity level is just now getting to the point where he gets it. I think that great start he had when he first came up was probably the worst thing that could have happened to him because it made him think this is going to be easy. Had he struggled, he might have had to work much harder to get back. Personally, I like Taylor, but the guy is no OF, and in my mind the 4th option in CF because Kike, Thompson and Joc all are much more comfortable out there. He is ok in LF for now, but he is a much better infielder and at some point I believe that is where he will get most of his time. For now his versatility is needed. Remember, he did not even make the team out of spring training. Verdugo is playing CF in the minors and sometimes Eibner is out there. As for Segedin, the guy is on the 60 day DL and his injury is not any better. His chances of playing this year anywhere are slipping down the tubes. Gutierrez is pretty much done. His disease has flared up and is not being controlled like before, that’s why he went back on the DL. I never understood why they signed Fernandez, a 29 year old, but he is not even playing at AAA. He is down at Tulsa. There are maybe 5 middle infielders playing at OKC rotating positions. Culberson has more MLB experience than any of them, and is more versatile. Charlie is more and emergency type guy. The Dodgers know he can give them decent play if needed. They have Muncy and Maggi down there, both are hitting well. Edwin Rios was just promoted to AAA. But I am not sure any of those guys is ready. Kyle Farmer, a catcher, has been doing the Barnes routine and playing multiple positions. He has even played SS. So what you say has merit. But the players you suggest giving time to, Segedin, Dickson, are not really options at this point in time. Oh, by the way, the Dodgers traded for a left fielder yesterday……..Todd Cunningham of the Cardinals. They got him for cash……..and the picture gets more muddled. Yes the same Cunningham who used to be an Angel

  5. We all have our opinions on who should stay and who should go. Needless to say we are all probably wrong. The FO is not conventional as it were and they have never really traded for an A type player at the break. I doubt they will this time as the needs are more defined than widespread. I do think they make a serious effort at a lefty reliever.

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