This is the sixth and final part of my look at possible trade targets. The focus is on teams that should be deadline sellers. My first five articles cover the American League East, Central and West, along with the National League East and Central. Nothing that I’ve seen since those last few 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. At least Caleb Ferguson is doing well in AAA.
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. Pollock should be starting a rehabilitation assignment soon.
Right now only the Giants are in sell-mode and I’m not convinced the Dodgers can get a fair deal with them. I think the Diamondbacks are next to sell but they will not help the Dodgers at all. The Padres will soon be sellers also and there could be a deal with them. I will also have a couple of go-backs on some other possible trade candidates in this article.
Sam Dyson – Right-Handed Reliever, 31 y/o
Sam Dyson, 89MPH Change/94MPH FB, Movement. pic.twitter.com/JJUv50Uwn4
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) March 27, 2017
I put Dyson on the list but I’m not convinced he’s someone that I trust in the post-season. He lost his mojo in Texas and was dumped on to the Giants and I still don’t know what happened. With the Giants he is much better so maybe there are some hard lessons that were learned. Dyson would make the bullpen a bit better as he’d slot in somewhere as the 5th or 6th best member of the bullpen. He throws mostly fastballs (61% at 94 MPH) and cutters (21%) while mixing in some sliders (5%) and changeups (13%). Dyson has another season after this before he becomes a free agent and he currently makes $5M. I don’t see this one happening unless the Giants want to just dump the contract.
Will Smith – Left-Handed Reliever, 29 y/o
This Will Smith is one of the true prizes this season for helping a bullpen. He would be a key part in any bullpen in the Major Leagues. He makes $4.23M and is a free agent at the end of this season. Smith underwent Tommy John surgery in 2017 and has come back very strongly. For the Dodgers, he would fill a huge need as a left-handed batter killer as they’ve only slashed .148/.188/.295 (AVG/OBP/SLG) and is almost the same against righties. Smith mixes his pitches well with 48% fastballs (93 MPH), 39% sliders, 12% curveballs and 5% changeups. He will cost a ton and is not very tested in the post-season with just 2 appearances. Working a trade with Farhan Zaidi but there might be some players in the Dodgers system he really wants.
Tony Watson – Left-Handed Reliever – 34 y/o
Many of us wanted the Dodgers to keep Tony Watson after the 2017 season but the front office decided to go with Scott Alexander instead. Our own Marshall Garvey wrote about a possible reunion with Watson and he’d be a nice fit. There might be some issues with his contract though as he has some incentives and options (player option for next year at age 35) on top of his $3M contract. The details are not well known so the Dodgers need to decide if he is worth it. He’s also not putting up LOOGY type numbers as lefty opponents are slashing .333/.333/.500 but he’s doing much better against right handers. He has a slowly decreasing fastball that he throws 45% of the time (92 MPH) and throws a lot of curveballs (44%) and some sliders (11%). He would help but he’s not someone that fixes the “get out the lefties” problem.
Kirby Yates – Right-Handed Reliever – 32 y/o
Kirby Yates, Fastball/Splitter Overlay. pic.twitter.com/uriPlPcm82
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 4, 2018
The last time the Dodgers made a major trade with the Padres was the Yasmani Grandal/Matt Kemp trade. If the Padres front office is still reeling from that trade then it is doubtful they will trade the Dodgers Kirby Yates. He’s come from being mediocre to an excellent pitcher after starting to use a split-fingered fastball (42%) along with a 93 MPH fastball (57%) which keeps the batters off balance. The only team to get to him this year has been the Dodgers. He makes $3.06M this season but will get a huge raise in arbitration. Before Brad Hand was traded, he was a setup reliever, so setting up for Kenley Jansen would be perfect. He can become a free agent after 2020 and, with all the spit-finger throwing, he might not last too many years.
Extended Bonus Material
Brad Hand – Left-Handed Reliever, 29 y/o
The Padres traded Hand to the Indians last year for Francisco Mejia, one of the top catching prospects in baseball. Hand is one of the best relievers in baseball and gets all types of hitters out with an almost equal mix of fastballs (92-93 MPH) and sliders.His contract counts as almost $6.9M towards the luxury tax numbers and goes through 2021. That’s a commitment I’m not sure that the Dodgers would want to take on but I think it’s a good bet. My biggest problem with acquiring him is that it will cost either of our top Minor League catchers, Keibert Ruiz or Will Smith. However, it must be considered.
Whit Merrifield – Right-Handed Hitting Second Baseman, 30 y/o
With the Royals in full sell mode and neither Kiké Hernández or Chris Taylor owning second base, maybe the Dodgers take a look at Merrifield. This is a very good ballplayer with a contract that averages about $4M through 2022. He would be a huge upgrade and would also bat leadoff against left-handed pitching. It would take a lot to get him and the bullpen is still the highest priority.
I’m still a big believer they need two more strong bullpen pieces. That would knock some others down on the bullpen rankings but would also cause more competition for the remaining spots for the playoffs. They also need to be better against left-handed starters, even though they are a little over .500 against them. Their offense is not as good against lefties and in the Playoffs and World Series they will be facing ones like Jon Lester, Cole Hamels, Wade Miley, David Price and Chris Sale. Pollock should help but someone like Merrifield might make the offense almost unstoppable.
This does end my 6-part series on possible trade candidates. There will be a bunch of rumors coming until the Trade Deadline and Dodgers Nation will be covering the ones that are substantiative and everything else during that time. What are your thoughts on what the Dodgers should do by the Trade Deadline? Feel free to comment below.