This is the third part of my look at possible trade targets. The focus is on teams that should be deadline sellers. My first two articles cover the American League East and Central. Nothing that I’ve seen since those last two articles has changed my mind; the bullpen needs real help. Again, my number one — along with our Blake Williams — target is Sean Doolittle with the Nationals, but there are some interesting candidates in the American League West.
I do think that the Dodgers need another right-handed bat as some of the trends against left-handed pitchers are not where they need to be. My preference is that A.J. Pollock gets healthy and fills in that gap. Of course, the Dodgers keep all the health information extremely close to the vest. That means he could be back in a month or be out the rest of the year. By the time the July 31 Trade Deadline comes around we’ll know more about Pollock’s future in the 2019 season.
The Astros are going to runaway with the division and the A’s are starting to perform a bit better. I don’t see the A’s winning the division but should still be in Wild Card contention. The rest of the teams should be sellers sooner or later.
The Angels are near the bottom of the division and are in place where they won’t totally sell but can’t figure out a way to break through. So far, their season has been bad and they should be selling soon. One issue is, I’m not sure how willing they are to trade with the Dodgers.
Hansel Robles – Right-Handed Reliever, 28 y/o
Robles started his career in 2015 with the Mets and was decent enough, until 2017. From that point until he was claimed off of waivers by the Angels in June of 2018 he struggled with too many walks. His FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) was off the charts in a bad way. Once he left the Mets his FIP went way down and his control has gotten much better. What I like about him is that he can strike guys out and limits hits. If his control can stay improved he could be interesting. According to FanGraphs he throws over 60% fastballs (averaging 96.4 MPH), over 30% sliders and the rest are changeups. It shouldn’t take too much to get him.
Robles can be a free agent after the 2021 season and currently makes $1.4M.
Hansel Robles, Triple Leg Pump 98mph Fastball. pic.twitter.com/OVlHStKf7Z
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 25, 2019
Ty Buttrey – Right-Handed Reliever, 26 y/o
I doubt Buttrey is going to be available but he’s worth looking at. He strikes out a lot of guys and doesn’t give up a ton of hits or walk many. The Angels acquired him from the Red Sox in the Ian Kinsler trade and it looks like they have a good one. He throws a bit over 55% fastballs (at 96 MPH), 33% curveballs and a little over 10% of changeups. He’s different from a lot of relievers I’ve mentioned in my articles in that he doesn’t throw a slider. Buttrey would be tough to get but he might be worth the cost. He’s not even arbitration eligible until after the 2021 season and makes the league minimum.
Every year, it seems, the Mariners give their fans a false hope that they will be a playoff team. A hot start did that for them this year but they are the bottom dwellers of the AL West. They’ve been in “sell mode” since the end of the 2018 season so now is a good time to strike. Even though I’d love the Dodgers to get him, Mitch Haniger is not included. It is not happening during the season.
Brandon Brennan – Right-Handed Reliever, 27 y/o
If the Mariners are smart, they’d consider selling high on Brandon Brennan. He’s a 27 year-old rookie who won’t be very useful by the time the Mariners are ready to contend. He throws mostly fastballs (95 MPH) and changeups with a slider mixed in every once in a while. He’s not eligible for arbitration until after 2021 so he would be cheap on the payroll.
— Ryan Rowland-Smith (@hyphen18) May 31, 2019
Roenis Elias – Left-Handed Reliever, 30 y/o
The only reason I have Elías on this list is because he is left-handed. Other than Julio Urías (who’s status is questionable) the lefties in the bullpen have been awful. Elías strikes out more than a batter per inning and allows under a hit an inning. Like so many pitchers, his problem is walks, walking almost one for every two innings. He used to be a starter but has settled in to being a decent reliever. He’s making a little under $1M and can be a free agent after 2021. The cost for him should be very cheap.
Surprisingly, the Rangers have been playing close to .500 ball this season. However, they really don’t have a chance at the division championship and their Wild Card chances are slim. By the time the Trade Deadline comes around the Rangers should be sellers, if not earlier.
Shawn Kelley – Right-Handed Reliever – 35 y/o
Kelley has had some decent seasons and was available for trade after he melted down during a rout.
He was a better option than Ryan Madson and John Axford but the Dodgers passed. He signed a $2.75M contract with the Rangers, which has paid off well for them. Contrast it with the 3/$25M contract the Dodgers gave to Joe Kelly. He throws a 40/60% mix of fastballs to sliders and averages a little under 92 MPH on his fastball. Unlike most pitchers I’ve listed, he doesn’t walk a lot of batters. Once the Rangers are out of the race, Kelley should be cheap.
Hunter Pence – Right-Handed Hitting Outfielder – 36 y/o
Yes, I am going “there”. The Dodgers could use a right-handed bat off the bench if Pollock doesn’t recover. During the playoffs the Dodgers always seem to carry an extra bench player so there could be room for someone like Pence. He’s hitting well with a slugging percentage over .600 and is making just $2M this season. I know he’s a long shot and there may not be a need for him but the Dodgers should keep an eye on him.
The numbers Hunter Pence is putting up this season at 36 years old are incredible. https://t.co/c9IPHjsndj
— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) May 30, 2019
The American League West doesn’t seem to have too many good options for the Dodgers. If they keep trying to build a bullpen on the cheap, then some of the relievers in this article would be candidates. Personally, I’m tired of the on-the-cheap and dumpster diving options. My other two articles had some better options like Ken Giles, Alex Colome and Shane Greene. I’ll also get to Sean Doolittle in my next article covering the National League East options.