This is the fourth part of my look at possible trade targets. The focus is on teams that should be deadline sellers. My first three articles cover the American League East, Central and West. 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.
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.
By the Trade Deadline I expect only the Phillies and Braves to be in contention in the overrated National League East. We’ll cover players from the teams that should be in sell mode by the Trade Deadline.
The Mets had an off-season that got all the East Coast-based writers excited because of the acquisition of “big names”.
Robert Gsellman – Right-Handed Reliever, 25 y/o
Gsellman wasn’t very impressive in his appearances against the Dodgers. He has been giving up more than one hit per innings pitched but is a player I can see the Dodgers looking at. According to FanGraphs he throws a 95 MPH fastball almost 50% of the time. His other pitchers area slider (27.5%), curveball (13%) and a change-up (10%). The Mets are not one of the very advanced teams in terms of technology and the Dodgers could make him better. He is not a savior-type but could be a good person to be the 7th or 8th guy in the bullpen. He’s eligible for arbitration after this season is a free agent after 2022.
Seth Lugo – Right-Handed Reliever, 29 y/o
Seth Lugo, Filthy 79mph Curveball. ? pic.twitter.com/alTneGDABR
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 25, 2019
I’ve been a fan of Lugo ever since I watched him in the 2017 World Baseball Classic when he played for Team Puerto Rico. I liked his pitch mix as he has a starter’s repertoire and I believe the Dodgers would bring him to a much higher level. He’s already pretty good with limiting hits and walks. His pitch mix consists of a 93-94 MPH fastball (54.5%), curveball (23.4%), slider (15.2%) and changeup (6.9%). Just like Gsellman, he’s eligible for arbitration after this season is a free agent after 2022.
The Nationals are a team that keeps thinking they are a team that constantly thinks they are in the race so they sell at the wrong time. Maybe the early Trade Deadline will make them consider selling when they should.
Sean Doolittle – Left-Handed Reliever, 32 y/o
As has been stated multiple times by multiple writers at Dodgers Nation, Doolittle brings all sorts of valuable experience to the team as he’s excelled in multiple bullpen roles. He’s had a few recent rough spots but he’s a proven commodity. There aren’t many relievers that are available that can change the Dodger bullpen drastically, but Doolittle would. The cost in prospects will be high.
He throws almost 92% fastballs (93-94 MPH) and mixes in a slider and changeup a little. He makes $6M this season and there is a team option of $6.5M. The team option is another thing that makes Doolittle attractive to teams trading for him but might also cause the Nationals to keep him. No matter what, Doolittle should be a price target for the Dodgers.
Howie Kendrick – Right-Handed Hitter, 35 y/o
Kendrick is currently slashing .326/.364/.585 (AVG/OBP/SLG) and can play left field, first base, second base and even some third base. If Pollock can’t come back then he’d have to be considered. He probably would not cost much in terms of prospects and only makes $4M this season.
One issue I do see is that it didn’t seem he bought into what the Dodgers were doing in terms of shifts, versatility and analytics. He’s getting near the end of his career and I bet he’d like to make a World Series run and earn another contract.
The Marlins are in sell-mode now and will be that way for quite a while. Unlike the Mets and Nationals, they know they aren’t winning anything so they are hoarding cheap prospects.
Adam Conley – Left-Handed Reliever, 29 y/o
There are two reasons I have Conley as a considerations. First off, he’s a lefty. Second, he’s hitting 96 MPH on his fastball this season. His numbers are bad this year, starting with a 6.75 ERA. Conley is a dumpster dive but should be very cheap to trade for. He’s making $1.125M this season and is eligible for arbitration after 2019 and is a free agent after 2022.
He’s one of those cases where you hope that the analytics and pitching coaches can help him. Currently, he throws 65% fastballs, 20% sliders and 15% changeups.
Tayron Guerrero – Right-Handed Reliever, 28 y/o
Guerrero is a wild card as he averages almost 99 MPH but is walking a batter almost every two innings. He throws 81% fastballs and 19% sliders and nothing else. He would have to improve quite a bit in order to crack into the top 8 of the bullpen. However, the talent is there and could surprise. I doubt the Dodgers go after him but they might see something they can fix. He just smells Josh Fields / Yordan Alvarez trade mistake.
If the Dodgers were to get Doolittle and Lugo that would significantly upgrade the bullpen immediately. Most other options are projects and might not even crack the playoff roster. Both Doolittle and Lugo would cost some pretty decent prospects but they’d also have them in 2020 also. Next article, we’ll take a look at the National League Central and there are some good options over there.