July 31st is the Major League Baseball Trade Deadline. New to 2019, there will no longer be a trade waiver deadline. Every trade, regardless of waivers and straight up trades, must be completed by July 31st. I’m sure that MLB did this as a way to speed up the trading process and to not have potential trades have some sort of hiccups because of waiver issues. With that being said, what do the Dodgers need to do?
Like previous seasons, the Dodgers are strong in almost every category but certain categories could use some upgrades. These categories include the starting rotation and the reliever corps. Pointing your finger at the Dodgers bullpen is always the easiest thing to do and sometimes, not all the time, it would be the right move. While the Dodgers have a few relievers that are solid (Jansen, Kelly, Baez, Urias), they have some pitchers that are not as affective (Chargois, Floro, Garcia). Mind you, the pitchers that I listed as not being as affective, are still good pitchers. They are currently not pitching that well. So what does that mean for the Dodgers and their trade deadline plans? The Dodgers will look to add a pitcher or two to the team via trade.
There are a few names that are being thrown around via Twitter and the baseball world. Those names include: Felipe Vasquez, Matt Boyd and Will Smith. Another pitcher that can be looked at is Shane Greene from the Detroit Tigers. However, with those names listed above, there are some obstacles the Dodgers would have to overcome. For starters, the Pittsburgh Pirates are still in the playoff hunt and if they are willing to contend for a Wild Card spot, they’ll need to hold on to Felipe Vasquez. If by the July 31st Trade Deadline, the Pirates do not see themselves as contending, they may make Vasquez available but their price may be very high. It has been reported that the Pirates would want 2 of the Dodgers Top 10 Prospects. That list includes: Dustin May, Gavin Lux, Will Smith and Keibert Ruiz.
Another obstacle that could potentially stand in the way of the Dodgers acquiring Felipe Vasquez would be the interest he has received from other contending teams. Whichever team is willing to part with top level prospects will surely end up acquiring Vasquez (if he is made available).
The second pitcher that I mentioned was Matt Boyd. I also mentioned Shane Greene. Both players, Boyd and Greene, currently play for the Detroit Tigers and both players are having above average seasons. The Dodgers could possibly land a package deal for both players, the cost would be high but at least the Dodgers would get a player with multiple years of control and a solid piece to add to the bullpen. Why does this trade make sense for the Dodgers?
Rich Hill will be a Free Agent after the 2019 season and will most likely not receive another long term deal with the Dodgers. Hill, 39, may even consider retiring if the Dodgers were able to win the World Series this season. In addition to Hill, Hyun Jin Ryu is also a Free Agent after the 2019 season. If both pitchers were to leave, that would leave two holes in the Dodgers rotation. Adding Matt Boyd this season would eliminate one of those vacancies since he has multiple years of control left. Then, the Dodgers would more than likely move Julio Urias to the starting rotation permanently. However, this whole theory is built on “what ifs”.
The final pitcher that I mentioned was Will Smith. Smith is the closer for the San Francisco Giants and is having a terrific season. With San Francisco being in the middle of a massive rebuild, they will have to start trading off players and try to replenish their depleted farm system. That being said, the Giants will likely gauge the Dodgers just because they are division rivals. If that were the case, the Dodgers might as well walk and pickup another strong reliever. No point in trading a top prospect to a division rival.
All in all, the Dodgers will be aggressive at this trade deadline. They have been aggressive for the past few seasons but this season is different. Andrew Friedman knows that the Dodgers have been to the Playoffs six years in a row and to the World Series two years in a row but they have nothing to show for it. Los Angeles knows that this is the year to add whatever pieces they need in order to bring home a World Series Trophy.