The trade deadline is coming up in 2 1/2 weeks. What are the Dodgers greatest needs? Who is available? Who should be “untouchable”?
The Dodgers had a great first half of the regular season. They are seen as a shoo-in to make the playoffs. But what moves should they make to ensure the greatest possible success throughout the playoffs and in the World Series?
First, who are the young players they could use as trade pieces? My opinion is that Walker Buehler is the only “untouchable”. He’s got a 99 mph fastball and a wicked curve ball. He won’t help the Dodgers this season, but will likely come up sometime in 2018. Alex Verdugo is a potential trade chip. He has hit well in AAA, so he could come to the Dodgers and replace Joc Pederson or Yasiel Puig. But Verdugo has not shown the power nor speed that would make him a regular in the Dodgers lineup. Willie Calhoun has the power and the hitting, but doesn’t have the glove to stick at second base. He will be a left-fielder or designated hitter for someone.
Now let’s get into the Dodgers’ needs for the playoffs. We’ll split this up by starting pitching, relief pitching, and position players.
The Dodgers are all set for the playoffs with their starting pitchers, starting with Clayton Kershaw and Alex Wood. What’s that? You can’t have a two man rotation in the playoffs? Oh, okay. The next two that could be in a four man rotation are Rich Hill and Brandon McCarthy. The problem with Rich Hill is that he had an awful start to 2017 and only recently has shown he can pitch well – just in his last two to three starts. The problem with McCarthy is that he is subject to the yips, meaning that sometimes he just pitches about 10 feet wide of home plate.
Who could be added as a starting pitcher through a trade? Looking at potential sellers at the trade deadline has led the rumor mill to Sonny Gray of the A’s and Justin Verlander of the Tigers. I would trade for Sonny Gray, who could help us this year and many years beyond.
Looking at the current bullpen, it is scary to think that Luis Avilan is our best left-handed reliever. We cannot go into the playoffs without an effective left-handed reliever. We may or may not like to also add another effective right-handed reliever. Left-handed relievers who are “available” include Sean Doolittle of the A’s, Justin Wilson of the Tigers, and Zach Britton of the Orioles.
As far as position players go, the weakest area looks to be the outfield. Chris Taylor is doing a good job filling in at left field. But Joc Pederson and Yasiel Puig are not offensive powerhouses. It would be great to add a high-impact bat in the outfield. That person could be JD Martinez of the Tigers. The other possibility would be to trade for a first baseman, and move Cody Bellinger back to the outfield.
What are your thoughts regarding potential trades between now and July 31st?