Enough about Felipe Vazquez, Brad Hand, and Will Smith. I want those guys too, but what is to say that Andrew Friedman ships out meaningful farmhands for bullpen help for the first time? Nothing. So in this piece, let’s take a look at some Friedman-like acquisitions and see who fits.
Friedman tends to like veteran relievers to add to the bullpen for the postseason (i.e. Axford and Madson) and picks up guys who have partial usage rate issues (i.e. Cingrani).
All of the guys below have some issue, but could potentially be a cheap gold mine:
Jake Diekman, LHP, Royals
Diekman strikes dude out. Like a lot of dudes. Diekman is third in K% amongst all lefties who are not closers. Get past the 4.89 ERA. The better indicator of his true ability, or any reliever’s ability, lies in DRA. His DRA of ranks amongst the league’s elite. He is also only allowing an 80th-percentile hard hit rate.
Liam Hendriks, RHP, A’s
This is no longer an under-the-radar pick considering Hendriks was just named the American League Reliever of the Month. Hendriks has a 1.29 ERA with a 31.7 K%. Enough said. He is surrendering a 97th-percentile xwOBA.
He’s also now an AL All-Star.
A’s Liam Hendriks named to the AL All-Star team, has lowest ERA among AL relievers.
— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) July 5, 2019
Seth Lugo, RHP, Mets
A longtime under-the-radar bullpen target of teams around the league, Lugo possesses an elite skillset and a plus-plus pitch with his curveball. He is striking out 30.5 percent of batters this season. His curveball spin ranks in the 100th-percentile. Yes, his curveball has the most spin in the league.
Aaron Bummer, LHP, White Sox
A guy the Dodgers already had reported interest in in the off-season for Joc Pederson, Bummer is showing out this year. 1.72 ERA and a 3.26 SIERA to go along with a solid 26.0 K%. He is limiting hard contact. evident by his 90th-percentile hard hit rate.
Cam Bedrosian, RHP, Angels
Once viewed as the Angels’ ‘closer of the future’, Bedrosian has fallen off a bit since then, but is still a more than capable arm. 2.41 ERA and a 27.1 K%. An 83rd-percentile xwOBA against him will play.
Giovanny Gallegos, LHP, Cardinals
The long-time Yankees farmhand has put it together in the Cardinals’ bullpen this year and while it depends on how well the Cards play down the stretch, he is a guy to look at. A 2.79 ERA and 2.21 SIERA will play. He strikes out a lot of guys, too: almost 40%! His 38.8 K% places him first among non-closer lefties in baseball. His 17.2% swinging strike rate is also a top-tier mark. 95th-percentile xwOBA.
Nick Goody, RHP, Indians
Not far removed from a 2017 campaign where he put up a sub-3.00 ERA, Goody is having a great season so far. The walk rate is a little high, but he is still striking out 35.2 percent of batters across 13 innings of work. The Indians continue to shuttle him back and forth between Cleveland and Triple-A and he could be a target. A 2.77 ERA and 3.46 SIERA will play.
David Phelps, RHP, Blue Jays
Once a member of the fearsome Yankees bullpen, Phelps has had injury issues in recent years. He has only thrown 8 2/3 innings this season, but has looked like the David Phelps of old. Too soon to tell at this point, but he was elite in 2016 and 2017 before missing all of 2018.
Knowing the way Andrew Friedman tends to operate around the trade deadline, someone is coming. In years passed he’s gone out and picked up some of the top available trade targets on the market — see Manny Machado or Yu Darvish.
For more on trade possibilities for the Dodgers, see our Tim Rogers’ “Trade Targets from Potential Deadline Sellers” series.