With the All-Star game over, it’s time to turn our attention to the trade deadline. The Dodgers have 21 days to make some moves to get ready for the playoffs and, hopefully, a World Series championship.
I don’t need to tell you this, but the Dodgers’ Achilles heel this season has been the bullpen. Even though the ERA has gotten better each month, the bullpen still isn’t, and won’t be, ready for the playoffs.
The Dodgers’ lineup is stacked and doesn’t need, nor have room for, anyone else. Corey Seager has been reinstated on the roster and A.J. Pollock and David Freese are not far behind. This will leave rookies, Matt Beaty, Kyle Garlick, and Will Smith in Triple-A, ready to rejoin the Dodgers if there’s ever a need.
The starting rotation isn’t bad, but I think it could use at least one more arm. Rich Hill is on the 60-day IL with a forearm strain and I’m doubtful that he will return this year. The Dodgers will also need to find a way to keep Walker Buehler‘s innings down and to keep Hyun-Jin Ryu and Clayton Kershaw healthy.
It takes 3 things in order for teams to make a trade at the deadline. First, the selling team must be out of contention (unless they’re doing a rare and complicated buy and sell at the same time). Second, the buying team must think the player they’re acquiring will help them in October. Third, the buying team must be willing to give up prospects they’re fond of. When these are all in place, teams will begin trading.
Ken Giles (RHP, Blue Jays, Under Contract Through 2020)
Ken Giles is an interesting option for the Dodgers to trade for. He’s had a really good season in the time he’s played this year. In 31 relief appearances, he owns a 1.45 ERA, a 1.00 WHIP, and a first percentile K% at 34.4%. My one concern is that he spent time on the IL this season with elbow inflammation. It appears he’s better, but we can never know for sure.
Giles is under team control through the end of the 2020 season. This would raise his price tag, but it would also raise his value as he would be there for not just the end of this season, but all of next season.
Will Smith (LHP, Giants, Rental)
Will Smith has been one of the few bright spots for the Giants this year. He owns a 2.75 ERA with 24 saves this year and a 0.89 WHIP. With just the end of the season left on his contract, it would seem his price tag wouldn’t be too high. But also, because Farhan Zaidi knows the Dodger organization and has promised to ask for 30% more from the NL West, the Dodgers may be forced to part with some highly prized prospects.
Tony Watson (LHP, Giants, Under Contract Through 2020)
Wouldn’t it be interesting if the Dodgers re-acquired Tony Watson? Watson was with the Dodgers in 2017 and was a big part of why they made it to the World Series. He has a 3.03 ERA with a 1.14 WHIP this season. It would be a risky move, but with great potential. Watson is under team control through the 2020 season but will make just $2.5M next year.