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Dodgers: Trade Targets from Potential Deadline Sellers – NL Central

Exploring the NL Central in the fifth part of this series.

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 31: Felipe Vazquez #73 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in action during the game against the Milwaukee Brewers at PNC Park on May 31, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

This is the fifth part of my look at possible trade targets. The focus is on teams that should be deadline sellers. My first four articles cover the American League East, Central and West, along with the National League East.

Nothing that I’ve seen since those last three articles has changed my mind; the bullpen needs real help.The left-handed side of the bullpen concerns met the most. Dave Roberts continues to use Scott Alexander as a LOOGY (left-handing one-out guy) and with runners on base.

As of this writing he had allowed 10 of 18 inherited runners to score. Now we got the news about Tony Cingrani, that he’s probably out for the season. The status of Julio Urías is also up in the air as Major League baseball is still determining if he will be suspended.

I had originally thought that the Dodgers might need a catcher but we have now seen that they have three Major League catchers. Will Smith has shown, in his short time, that if Austin Barnes or Russell Martin goes down that he can produce. The biggest question would be if A.J. Pollock can come back and contribute before the Trade Deadline on July 31. If he can’t then they need to keep their eyes open for a right handed bat.

Even though they aren’t far back I expect the Pirates and Reds to be ready to sell by the Trade Deadline of July 31.

Pirates

The Pirates are a team who is stuck in the middle. They are destined to hover around .500 this season but in a division with the Brewers, Cubs and Cardinals they aren’t going to even be in the Wild Card race by the time the Trade Deadline rolls around. They gave up a lot of talent to get Chris Archer and that helped set them back. They have some nice bullpen parts that could be a big help to the Dodgers. It’s just a matter of time before they realize they need to sell.

Francisco Liriano – Left-Handed Reliever, 35 y/o

Liriano is having an excellent season for the Pirates as he’s purely a reliever now. His only issue is he does walk a batter about every two innings. Even at the age of 35 he’s throwing 92-93 MPH fastballs. His pitch mix includes 42% fastballs, 32% sliders and 26% changeups. He’s been better against right-handed batters so he doesn’t fit the bill as a LOOGY. However, he limits hits and still gets plenty of strikeouts. He makes $1.8M and is a free agent after this season.

Felipe Vazquez – Left-Handed Reliever, 27 y/o

Vazquez is my absolute number one target but I don’t know if the Pirates are trading him. They signed him to a team-friendly contract of 4 years for a total of $22M. From a competitive balance perspective he costs $5.5M per season. The Dodgers would have to overwhelm the Pirates to get him. He throws a 98 MPH fastball 64% of the time. Vazquez also throws a slider (16%), curveball (11%) and changeup (9%). He averages about 1.5 strikeouts per innings pitched and would be an excellent shutdown pitcher for the Dodgers. This is one pitcher that might even make this #ProspectHugger let go of some key prospects.

Kyle Crick – Right-Handed Reliever, 26 y/o

The Pirates got Crick from the Giants in the Andrew McCutchen trade after the 2017 season. He’s been very good for the Pirates and would be a quality addition for the Dodgers. The price would not be as high as it would to acquire Vazquez but it would be painful. He’s not eligible for arbitration until after 2020. Crick throws 63% fastballs (95 MPH) and 37% sliders. Let’s hope the Pirates are selling soon and that the Dodgers are willing to go after either Vazquez or Crick.

Reds

The Reds made some attempts to improve their team as they’d lost 90 or more games over the last 4 years. Their trade with the Dodgers was a big swing and miss (thanks for Jeter Downs and Josiah Gray) but some of their other trades for pitching seemed to work out. They should be selling soon but I believe they might want players who can contribute in 2020.

Amir Garrett – Left-Handed Reliever, 27 y/o

Garrett is a long-shot so it will take a major trade package to get him. He’s changed his pitch mix this year at he went from 63% fastballs, 33% sliders and 4% changeups in 2018 to 48% fastballs (95 MPH) and 52% sliders. He strikes out a lot of batters and limits the number of hits but is walking almost a batter every two innings. Still, this is a guy who can dominate out of the bullpen and is worth a look. He’s not even eligible for arbitration until after 2020 and can’t be a free agent until after 2023.

Raisel Iglesias – Right-Handed Reliever, 29 y/o

Iglesias would be an instant upgrade to the Dodgers’ bullpen but his contract might keep the Dodgers from biting as he counts as $8M towards the luxury tax penalty. He would also cost a lot in terms of prospects as Iglesias has been a very good reliever for the last three years. His pitch mix is 49% fastballs (95 MPH), 28% sliders and 24% changeups. He’s a doubtful candidate and I almost didn’t put him on my list.

Scooter Gennett – Left-Handed Hitting 2B, 29 y/o

Gennett doesn’t fit a glaring need for the Dodgers but he might be very cheap to acquire. He’s missed all of 2019 so far with a groin injury but could be back by mid-July or earlier. He’s a left-handed hitter who’s been excellent in both 2017 and 2018. He will be a free agent after 2019 but if the Dodgers feel they need an upgrade to second base, then Gennett could be a cheap cost.

Final Thoughts

I believe the Dodgers need two strong bullpen additions and the NL Central has some excellent candidates. I’d like to see a major trade with the Pirates to acquire Vazquez and Crick. For now the Dodgers have to wait for these teams to go into sell-mode. These NL Central teams will probably let the season play out until close to the Trade Deadline before making some trades. The Dodgers aren’t in any rush so they can afford to wait with their double digit divisional lead.

Written by Tim Rogers

A fan of the Dodgers since 1973 since I got my first baseball cards while living in Long Beach. I came to San Diego for college and never left nor did I ever switch my Dodgers' allegiance. Some know me as the "sweater guy". #ProspectHugger

One Comment

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  1. 1. Dodgers don’t need any more LHB, and I realize Scooter Gennett would be ideal at 2nd but Dodgers are too LH heavy as it is.
    2. For the Dodgers to get any one of those elite relievers ya mentioned they will cost the team WAY more than they would cost any other team so WSS.

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