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Dodgers: The Case For and Against a Trade for Detroit Pitcher Matt Boyd

Why the breakout lefty would be a smart acquisition for the Dodgers… and why he wouldn’t be.

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - JUNE 02: Matthew Boyd #48 of the Detroit Tigers pitches against the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park on June 02, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)

Tigers’ ace Matt Boyd is on the trade block. There’s a good chance he is the best player traded by the July 31 deadline and the Dodgers are no strangers to making a splash.

After acquiring the best player traded in each of the past three deadlines (Rich Hill in ’16, Yu Darvish in ’17 and Manny Machado in ’18), Andrew Friedman will again look for ways to improve what is already a World Series favorite.

They are among the teams showing interest in the 28-year-old left-hander and there are strong cases for and against acquiring Boyd. They could also expand a deal to include closer Shane Greene. With that said, let’s take a look at the case for and against a trade for Boyd.

The Case for Matt Boyd

Boyd is in the middle of a breakout season. He has posted an above-average 3.95 ERA, which would likely improve pitching in front of a non-Tigers’ defense. What’s most impressive is he has struck out 32 percent of hitters while walking only five percent. Boyd has also been above average at limiting hard contact while pitching to a 3.47 FIP, 3.34 xFIP, and 3.02 DRA with 3 WAR in 114 innings. Stats like those make him a legit top of the rotation arm.

Even though Boyd has a career ERA close to 5 at 4.84, there is a good chance his breakout is legit. Over the off-season, he started working with Driveline and made a change in his arm slot that created more depth on his slider. It has become his best pitch and he could continue to improve with advice from a team as analytically savvy as the Dodgers.

Boyd is under contract through the 2022 season so his cost wouldn’t be cheap. But he would be a fixture in the rotation over the next 3 and a half seasons while providing an upgrade now. Even though rotation help isn’t a need this season, acquiring Boyd would strengthen the bullpen in October by allowing the team to use Kenta Maeda out of the pen instead of as the fourth starter.

A pitcher with the talent and team control that Boyd has don’t get traded often, so the Dodgers should try to get him in blue.

The Case Against Matt Boyd

The case against acquiring Boyd is pretty simple. Starting pitching is not a need for the Dodgers so they shouldn’t pay the high prospect cost to get a pitcher who might be a fluke.

As previously mentioned, Boyd is a career 4.84 ERA pitcher who is having his first good season at the age of 28. There is a chance this season has been a fluke and if he regresses, he wouldn’t be an upgrade over any of the Dodgers’ best eight options when they’re healthy. Just last year he was getting lit up pretty consistently.

The Dodgers are also perfectly fine with a playoff rotation that includes Hyun-Jin Ryu, Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, and one of Maeda, Hill, Ross Stripling, or Julio Urias. Instead of trading all the prospects to get what might be just a small upgrade, they could try to bring in an elite reliever.

Boyd would purely be a luxury and wouldn’t end up making a major impact as the fourth starter in October so the Dodgers should look to fill their real needs.

My Opinion

I would love if the Dodgers acquired Boyd. I fully believe in his breakout and I think he would be even better away from the Detroit Tigers.

Yes, he probably wouldn’t make as big of an impact this season as he would in the future, but he still does help them now. Having a rotation of Ryu, Buehler, Kershaw and Boyd in the playoffs with Kenley Jansen, Joe Kelly, Pedro Baez, Urias and Maeda in the pen is a very strong group. They would still need to bring in a left-handed reliever but that could be the best pitching staff they’ve had in years.

I wouldn’t go all-in for Boyd and he is far from a must-get. Gavin Lux and Dustin May should be off the table and I’d hesitate to include Keibert Ruiz, although the emergence of Will Smith has made him more expendable.

If the Dodgers and Tigers can agree on a fair package to bring Boyd to Los Angeles, it’s a move they should make.

Written by Blake Williams

I graduated with an Associate's Degree in Journalism from Los Angeles Pierce College and now I'm working towards my Bachelor's at Cal State University, Northridge. I'm currently the managing editor for the Roundup News and a writer for Dodgers Nation. Around the age of 12, I fell in love with baseball and in high school, I realized my best path to working in baseball was as a writer, so that's the path I followed. I also like to bring an analytics viewpoint to my work and I'm always willing to help someone understand them since so many people have done the same for me. Thanks for reading!

15 Comments

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  1. Blake everybody in the baseball world knows that because of having team control through 2022, they will want a KING’S RANSOM for Boyd, certainly more than they would even consider expecting from any other MLB team. And BP upgrades now is where it’s at…NO BP no WS.

  2. I’m beginning to think Keibert Ruiz is overrated as a catching prospect as he is not doing as well at AA(Tulsa) as he was at A(Rancho Cucamonga). I’m sure someone will tell it is too early to give up on Ruiz.

    • seems like you already know judging a 20 year old playing against competition much, much older than him is overreaction 😉

  3. Its funny that a lot of teams want Boyd. But allways the top prospects are off the table. Maybe the tigers should just give him away.

  4. Why? Why? Why? They have serious depth for starting pitching.
    What is wrong with you?
    They need left-handed relief! Are you writing articles just to make things up?
    They are not going to trade blue chip talents for a position they don’t need!! Could Boyd crack a starting rotation of Kershaw, Buehler, Urias, Maeda and hopefully they sign Ryu? The answer is No!! So Why??

    • Well since Boyd is better than Maeda and they probably don’t re-sign Ryu, yes, yes he would. Trading for him also doesn’t remove them from the hunt for a lefty reliever. It’s also an editorial which is an opinion piece of me analyzing a deal for and against him because there was a report saying they were interested.

  5. I’m surprised you didnt mention that after this year, Hill is gone and its unlikely we give Ryu the contract he is earning this year.
    I like Boyd, if we can make trade for some of our lower level minor leagues, id be all for it.
    But… if we can get Felipe Vasquez or Brad Hand for similar package, get the reliever!

  6. Lux would be the reason Detroit considers a trade. Without him included in the prospect package there is no deal.

  7. And our Dodgers’ bull pen woes continue…..the end of tonight’s game against the Phillies was very difficult to watch. We had it but, sadly, could not hold onto a 2-run lead in the bottom of the 9th inning. I honestly don’t know what pitcher (s) to acquire to help remedy this deficit. But something MUST be done by deadline because these blown saves are absolutely gut-wrenching……

  8. I think acquiring another starter right now would be a luxury not a necessity. The very REAL problem is the Dodger bull pen, which lacks a reliable closer and has multiple problems for their earlier inning choices as well. Should the Dodgers pass the deadline without adding a quality reliever, no one should not be surprised to find out later, that this club will have a fatal weakness in the playoff games.

  9. Dodgers have players that match up with the Tigers including Boyd and Closer Shane Greene.
    Dodgers have players the Tigers need for their rebuild including SS Gavin Lux and others.
    Putting a “lock box” on top prospects will not get a deal done.
    Dodgers have a great core of players now.
    At some point, the Dodgers have to stop being cheap, stop hoarding prospects and “go for it” to win a World Series.
    Without Lux & May headlining a package, the Tigers have zero incentive to do a deal with the Dodgers.
    If Boyd and Greene can help the Dodgers win their 1st WS since another former Tigers Kirk Gibson in the 1980’s, then the Dodgers have to go for it.

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