With the Trade Deadline just a little more than a week away, many names will be in the rumor mill. There are some names on the Dodgers that people are beginning to speculate about their tradeability. We already discussed the prospect untouchables. This article will take a look at some current Dodgers on the 25 man roster that have been discussed as trade bait on “the Internet Machine”.
Personally, I don’t buy into any rumors that are published but they do cause discussion. Here’s one that has caused a stir:
Sources tell NBC LA, that in trade talks, some opposing teams have asked for #Dodgers MLB talent in addition to prospects. LA is reluctant to include any MLB players, but could be willing to move someone on their roster for the right player(s).
— Michael J. Duarte (@michaeljduarte) July 19, 2019
Expect to see more rumors like this. We’ll take a look a look at some players people have been discussing and put most of those ideas to rest. Of course, there are very few truly untouchable players on the roster and almost any player can be had at the right price.
Probably the number one player on the Dodgers that people discuss is Joc Pederson. He’s a player who can crush right-handed pitchers but can barely hit lefties. Joc is primarily a left fielder but the Dodgers have been working him at first base and that is not working well at all. The biggest issue that I see with Pederson is his lack of consistency. When looking at the totality of Joc and the fact that the team is not as strong against left-handed pitching then trading Joc might make some sense.
Probability of Being Traded: 10%
What is the demand on a player that makes $5M this season and who has one more year of control before hitting free agency after 2020? I’d expect Joc to get $8-9M next season so how many teams that are selling what the Dodgers want would want less than one and a half years of control of Pederson? To be honest, Joc would be excellent on a team like the Yankees who need a hitter like him. If there is a team that is selling that thinks they can be in contention next year then Joc would be a possibility. I just don’t see anything that makes sense.
Another one of the inconsistent players is Kiké Hernández. He is also a very versatile player and probably the best defensive second baseman on the team. In the post-season last year he was horrible on offense (4 hits in 41 at-bats) after earning a starting position in September. Kiké is a fan favorite but some are starting to wonder whether he should be on the roster. Gavin Lux is on fire in AAA and people are wondering if he should be the starting second baseman.
Probability of Being Traded: 5%
Like Joc, Hernandez can be a free agent after the 2020 season and is making $3.725M this season. My guess is he will make $5-6M next season so how many teams are looking for a utility player that has less that one and a half years before free agency? At the same time, I think Hernández is more valuable to the Dodgers than any other team. His versatility is very valuable and even more in need with Chris Taylor out until sometime in September. I don’t expect Lux up until September so any impacts he makes are completely unknown.
The struggles of Austin Barnes have been well documented. I even pointed out some options for him. Many are clamoring for getting rid of Barnes so that Will Smith could be the starter. He has been bad at the plate for more than one and a half seasons. The Dodgers were not expecting their catching duo of Barnes and Russell Martin to match Yasmani Grandal on offense, but they did not expect a slash of .199/.288/.333 (AVG/OBP/SLG) out of Austin. They were hoping for something closer to his slash of 2017, .289/.408/.486. Believe it or not, he is also 29 years old.
Probability of Being Traded: 1%
Even if the Dodgers were to send Barnes to the minors (yes he has an option) they would have Smith and Martin as catchers. We know that catchers are frequently getting hurt and rushing Keibert Ruiz or bringing up Rocky Gale are not good options. They need three catchers, including one of them being in the minors. He is cheap at $575M this season and will not get a huge raise in arbitration. I fully expect him to be the backup catcher in 2020.
Probably the main reason Barnes stays though is that it would be very disruptive to the pitching staff if he is traded or even optioned. According to FanGraphs he is the 9th best overall defensive catcher (minimum 300 innings played), 7th in Pitch Framing and 6th in Defensive Runs Saved. Despite my wishes, he isn’t going anywhere. Let’s hope he can figure out his hitting before the Post Season.
Many fans seem to think Ross Stripling is just an extra piece without a spot on the Post Season roster. They don’t see him as a starter and contend that he’d not very good in the bullpen. He had a brilliant first half of the 2018 season as a starter and made the All-Star team. However, he, self-admittedly, was “gassed” and was not even on the Post Season roster. Like Barnes, Stripling is 29 years old.
Ross Stripling, Nasty 81mph Curveball. ? pic.twitter.com/C4INTrP04Z
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 20, 2019
Probability of Being Traded: 1%
With the health issues that many of the starting pitchers have faced their are too many risks. Stripling has spent the 2019 season as both a reliever and a starter. With Rich Hill down until at least September, Stripling seems to be in the starting rotation for the next two months. He has started 11 games this season and thrown 56 innings, giving up 53 hits, walking 13, striking out 58 with an ERA of 3.54. As a reliever in 14 games and 14.2 innings he’s given up 15 hits, walked 6 and struck out 16 with a 4.02 ERA. If Hill cannot come back then Stripling could be the 4th starter on the playoff roster. Julio Urías and Kenta Maeda must be in the bullpen for the playoffs. “Chicken Strip” is just too valuable to trade.
It is not without precedence for the Dodgers to trade a key member of the 25-man roster as they did with A.J. Ellis in late August of 2016. They were going for a clear upgrade in their offense for the backup catcher spot. Are there opportunities for history to repeat itself? Sure but the odds are quite small. However, nothing this front office does will surprise me. Most of their trades, other than the Manny Machado trade, come right out of the blue so don’t be surprised with anything they do. I just think that the odds are very low that a key 25-man roster player gets traded.
Once the season is over, I expect at least two of these players to be traded.