It’s easy playing armchair general manager; operating in a real front office is a tad more challenging.
For the last month, names such as Chris Sale and Chris Archer have been connected to the Dodgers. What about the controversial acquisition of Ryan Braun or adding his teammate Jonathan Lucroy? Are Yasiel Puig’s days in L.A. ending (well, apparently so)? How about putting Evan Longoria’s or Carlos Gonzalez’s bat into the lineup? Fans invest time talking about numerous trade scenarios only to end up with none of them.
Andrew Friedman and the Dodgers organization again withheld from the temptation of making a major splash. Instead the franchise opted to take the safe route, acquiring pitcher Rich Hill and outfielder Jose Reddick from Oakland, as well as relievers Jesse Chavez from Toronto and Josh Fields from Houston.
While not flashy, those moves improve the roster for the stretch run. Hill was one of the best pitchers in the American League. He sports a 2.25 ERA and 2.53 FIP. The journeyman is having the best season of his career and the Dodgers are banking on it continuing in Southern California. He’s on the disabled list (seriously, what’s up with this team’s fetish for injured pitchers?) but should be inserted as the No. 2 starter when he returns. If Clayton Kershaw gets healthy, a Kershaw-Hill duo will be dangerous in a playoff series. Of course, given both of their current situations, there’s no guarantee things play out as the Dodgers assuredly are hoping.
As for the cost, it was an overpay, and we all had our hot takes. Pitching prospects Grant Holmes, Frankie Montas and Jharel Cotton were all in the deal with the A’s. The move won’t severely damage the organization’s depth, but surrendering so much talent for two rentals isn’t optimal. That said, Friedman upgraded the team without moving any “core” pieces, so small props are due there. But was any team willing to come close to the Dodgers’ offer? Hard to say without being in the room, but on the surface one would think Los Angeles could’ve gotten the deal done cheaper. How Hill and Reddick perform, and if they are retained, will be the true determiner of the move.
The other two trades are minor transactions. Mike Bolsinger will be hanging pitches in the A’s organization now, having been dealt for Chavez. Bolsinger’s chance in L.A. was already over. If Chavez provides any positive impact, it was a solid trade. Otherwise the Dodgers were just rearranging chairs.
Fields is a more interesting piece. He was stellar (3.55 ERA, 2.19 FIP) for the Astros during a 2015 playoff run, but has fallen off a cliff this season and settled in the minors. Yordan Alvarez, one of many Cuban acquisitions by the Dodgers, was the cost. He’s an unknown 19-year-old but has a 6’5,” 220-pound body and scouts praise his power. Maybe he develops down the line, but L.A. obviously didn’t think highly enough of him being that he was moved for a lottery ticket. Such as the Chavez deal, this could easily be a wash.
It was an underwhelming deadline, but mostly because of fans’ hopes. When one hears Sale and Archer for weeks and ends up with Hill, it’s going to be a letdown. The Dodgers made moves to help them make the playoffs this season, but added nothing to help the future. If Hill and/or Reddick perform well down the stretch, the team is in the playoffs and they’re probably interested in re-signing. If the players don’t produce, Friedman and company will be under more pressure than ever to make a massive impact deal this winter.
Perhaps the highlight of the deadline was a deal that never happened. Puig wasn’t traded, but it appears his time with the team is nearing its end. The organization will hope he regains value by winter, because a divorce seems imminent. Dodgers Nation will bring plenty on content on him, so stay tuned.
The long debate of acquiring a bat versus a starter versus a reliever has ended with Los Angeles adding in all three areas. In a nutshell, that sounds like a good deadline. The price for Hill and Reddick was steep, but they’re upgrades who could be difference makers in October. It’s hard to judge the deal until they get that opportunity.
Overall, L.A. made out decently. Nothing spectacular, but moves to fortify the team’s postseason standing. If the Dodgers come up short again, it’s time to stop marginally improving and execute a mega deal. But we’ll cross that bridge if we get there.
Trade Deadline Grade: B