The Approaching Trade Deadline:
July 31st is quickly approaching. Whether you are a die hard baseball fan, or simply a far away spectator this date has a lot of significance. This date represents the trade deadline for Major League Baseball.
The emergence of July 31st usually shows the contenders versus the pretenders. It signifies the buyers versus the sellers. The Los Angeles Dodgers need to be buyers in this trade deadline. This trade deadline needs to be used as an opportunity to get better. The Dodgers need depth in their bullpen to get over the hump of World Series Runner-up.
Starting pitching has been lights out for the Dodgers to date. Hyun-Jin Ryu has been the clear cut ace all year with his 11 wins. However, Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler have been a close second in terms of numbers this season; they both have notched eight wins this year. Kenta Maeda has struggled a bit this year but still accounts for seven wins over the course of the season.
Ross Stripling has stepped into a starting role after Rich Hill went down with an injury and has notched four wins this year. Starting pitching has been a strength of the Dodgers during 2019. However, they could acquire a starting pitcher and move Maeda to the bullpen. It still seems highly unlikely unless they can get a starter rather cheaply.
It seems highly unlikely that the Dodgers will be looking to deal for any position players at the deadline. Their lineup has been highly effective this year. In fact, the Dodgers are third in the Major Leagues in runs scored with 548 on the year. They are also second in the league in home runs with 170 round trippers on the year.
Their lineup has loads of depth with Joc Pederson moving to first base. This allows A.J. Pollock, Alex Verdugo, and Cody Bellinger to man the outfield. Matt Beaty has also been very effective in big situations for the Dodgers in pinch hit situation. It would be very surprising if the Dodgers utilized the trade deadline to obtain another position player.
The bullpen is where the question marks lie when it comes to the Dodgers. The bullpen has accounted for 17 of the 35 losses this year. Kenley Jansen and Joe Kelly have been inconsistent to start the year. In fact, there is not an era below 3.00 by a Dodgers bullpen pitcher that has logged at least 12 innings pitched.
It is blatantly obvious that the Dodgers need help in their bullpen. The issue the Dodgers will run into is getting a game changer without selling too much. With this in mind: Will Smith of the San Fransisco Giants, Brad Hand of the Cleveland Indians, or any of the other high profile relievers could be out of the question. The Dodgers do not want to give up: Gavin Lux, Dustin May, Keibert Ruiz, or Smith
Mychal Givens of the Baltimore Orioles may be a possible target at the deadline. Although his overall stats for 2019 are not super impressive: 1-4 record with a 4.34 era in 37.1 innings pitched. Givens has been pitching well as of late, only allowed one earned run in his last 7.1 innings pitched. In fact, Givens era is 1.98 since May 31. In that stretch he has 13 2/3 innings pitched, 21 strikeouts, and only three walks. He would give the Dodgers a submarine arm that could pitch multiple innings late in games.
Mychal Givens has a 1.98 ERA since May 31, totaling 12 appearances, 13 2/3 innings pitched, 21 strikeouts (13.83 K/9), 7 hits (4.61 H/9) and 3 walks (1.98 BB/9).#Orioles
— Dillon Atkinson (@DillonTAtkinson) July 18, 2019
Tony Watson of the San Fransisco Giants may also be a possible target at the trade deadline. Watson has been somewhat of a bright spot for the Giants this year. He carries a 2-0 record and a 2.95 era in 39.2 innings. Watson has also struck out 29 while only walking five. The Dodgers are no stranger to Watson as he was a member of their bullpen in 2017. Watson would be a great left-handed arm to get key outs in the middle/late innings of close games.
Shane Greene may be another option for the Dodgers come the trade deadline. The Tigers are well out of playoff contention and are looking to become sellers. Greene has been a bright spot for the Tigers this year. He has posted a 1.03 era in 35.0 innings. Greene has also notched 22 saves during the course of this year. Greene would give the Dodgers another right handed arm that has shown the ability to get outs late in ball games.
Felipe Vazquez of the Pittsburgh Pirates would be a possible trade for the Dodgers as well. However, the Pirates have a high asking price for him because of the year he is having. Vazquez is currently 2-1 with a 1.96 era in 41.1 innings pitched. He has also notched 21 saves on the year. Vazquez may be worth the asking price as he is averaging 98.1 miles per hour on his fastball. This type of dominance is something that the Dodgers are looking to acquire to make a deep postseason run.
Felipe Vázquez, Painting with Flames. 💯 pic.twitter.com/hisQHScF1W
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 17, 2019
Los Angeles Dodgers President of Operations Andrew Friedman needs to make a move to upgrade the bullpen. The bullpen is something that will win or lose games in the postseason.
There are so many things going right for the club this year. The city of Los Angeles knows that this years team has a great chance of winning a championship. The Dodgers need to become aggressive buyers to acquire some additional weapons out of the bullpen. If they can win the trade deadline there is a good chance they will win a World Series trophy as well.
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images