Hopefully, a different take on the Dodger trade deadline
The trade deadline has always been an exciting time for fans as the buyers hope to acquire the piece that will give their team the edge come October, while the sellers hope to acquire the prospects or major league talent to change the fortunes of a team already out of a playoff run.
It also cuts both ways for the players. If you are on a team seeking another player and you are a key component of that team, you herald the front office search to add another piece to your October run, however, if you aren’t a key component the trade deadline could be maddening. What if you love being a Dodger but to make the current Dodger team better, you might be the price they have to pay to make it happen.
It isn’t always prospects that get traded in these in-season deals. Molly Knight of the Atlantic wrote about every single Dodger July deal since their last World Championship.
The Dodgers have made 74 transactions in the month of July since they last won a championship in 1988. Each one has failed to put them over the top. I went and looked back at all those moves and wrote about why this time might be different: https://t.co/mM2aqPriO9
— Molly Knight (@molly_knight) July 22, 2019
These are the Dodgers who were on the 25-man roster when the deals were made as they attempted to strengthen their team.
Mariano Duncan, Tim Leary, Hiram Bocachica, Juan Encarnacion, Paul Lo Duca, Guillermo Mota, Sandy Alomar Junior, Willy Aybar, Danys Baez, Odaliz Perez, Cesar Izturis, Boom Boom Betemit, Andy LaRoche, James McDonald, Nathan Eovaldi, Matt Guerrier, Paco Rodriguez, and Logan Forsythe.
If you go through all the July trades that Molly documents you will find that over 95% of the deals are the Dodgers buying not selling. Sometimes that buying involved moving major league Dodgers. The biggest major league player to be traded was their starting catcher in 2004 Paul Lo Duca. It caused a big uproar at the time and Molly covers that in her story. Heck, just last year the Dodgers traded 2nd baseman Logan Forsythe for 2nd baseman Dozier.
Dodgers on the current 25-Man Roster or who have played in the majors this year that might be trade bait could be:
Austin Barnes or Russell Martin to open up a spot for Will Smith. Neither would bring back much, Martin could be moved to a contending team that wants a better backup, Barnes to a team willing to see if that 2017 magic can come alive again while knowing he’s a catcher that pitchers love having behind the plate. I think the Dodgers would be fine with a duo of either Smith/Barnes or Smith/Martin but they may not think so. We will find out in nine days. Keibert Ruiz was promoted to AAA which means the Dodgers have their two top catching prospects at the same level. That is a bit weird and hard to imagine that stays the case.
Kiké Hernádez which would open up a spot for uber-prospect Gavin Lux. With Chris Taylor hurt and not due back until September I feel this might be a reach, but if Chris Taylor was here I think this would be in play.
Joc Pederson is the odd man out right now. To try to get him in the lineup the Dodgers have used him at 1st base but the Dodgers have already said he won’t be playing 1st base come October. With a healthy outfield of Bellinger / Pollock / Verdugo and none of them needing to be platooned, he’s only going to get at-bats if someone gets hurt or when Dave Roberts makes room for him. The Dodgers have several minor league options to take his spot on the roster. Matt Beaty has shown he can play the outfield. Zach Reks is a left hand hitting outfielder who has hit 23 minor league home runs to go with his .935 OPS over two levels this year. At 25, he’s ready to show what he can do. Right-hand hitting OF Kyle Garlick has torn up AAA to the tune of a 1.105 OPS and already had a decent run with the Dodgers a few weeks ago. At 27 years old his time is also now. The surprise name on this might be DJ Peters who just a few weeks ago was having a sub-par season at AA. The Dodgers promoted Peters to AAA on June 27th and he’s done nothing but crush since his promotion. Peters hit eleven home runs in 250 at-bats in AAA but has already hit eight in only eighty at-bats at AAA. His strikeout rate has dropped significantly while increasing his walk rate. If you didn’t have his AA numbers staring at you, and you only saw his AAA numbers, you’d think he’s one of the top hitting prospects in AAA. Anyway, the point is that none of them are as good as Joc Pederson but if Joc can help bring in a piece that would help the team more than he would, he might be someone who will be playing on another team come August 1st.
Matt Beaty is already a Dodger legend even though he’s only had 123 major league plate appearances. He’s never been a highly-touted prospect. He barely squeezes into top 20 Dodger prospect lists. He’s blocked everywhere you look by Muncy, Verdugo, Joc, and Turner. I’m not sure what he’d bring back in a trade. I’m not sure you should even think of trading him. What a major league hit tool.
Kenta Maeda’s name never comes up in trade conversations. I don’t get it, he’s got a fantastic contract, he’d be a great addition to any rotation that isn’t the Dodgers. He doesn’t appear to have a no-trade clause. Eric Stephen said when he was signed that
In addition, Maeda receives a $1 million bonus each time he is traded.
He has worked well out of the bullpen but when he does pitch out of the bullpen he loses money. It has always made more sense to simply trade a great contract like Kenta for a better bullpen piece. In a normal year, you would hate to trade a rotation piece like Kenta but right now the Dodgers aren’t playing for the Western Division, that is in the bag, they are creating a roster for October. Kenta will not start in October, he hasn’t made a postseason start since 2016 and I doubt that would change in 2019. He’s headed for the bullpen but maybe he would bring back a better bullpen piece. Just saying.
Ross Stripling is another pitcher who is better suited to the rotation than the bullpen. He’s cheap and solid and might be the better option for a team looking to get younger, but still have an actual major league arm in the return
Caleb Ferguson probably has to be on this list which is really annoying. If Caleb had pitched this year like he did last year maybe the Dodgers aren’t searching for that other kickass relief arm. He hasn’t, and the price may be his to pay, which is to bad because I really like this guy.