The Dodgers’ bullpen has been a position of strength for the last few years and this season is no different. Entering play on Thursday, the bullpen corps leads the Major Leagues in earned run average and batting average against. However, as the trade deadline approaches on July 31st, many expect the front office to make at least one move to fortify the back-end of the bullpen even more. The Dodgers may choose to hold onto their prospects, as they have some intriguing internal options that could emerge to take on an even bigger role as the season progresses. Brandon Morrow, Walker Buehler, Wilmer Font and a healthy Adam Liberatore come to mind. However, in this breakdown, we will look at a wide range of relief pitcher options outside of the system that the Dodgers could conceivably acquire and what the cost would be to acquire said player.
Below are a few considerations to keep in mind.
- Teams do not necessarily sell low on players that have a track record of success but are having a subpar year.
- The past few years have proven to be a seller’s market where the prospect return has been substantial for the established player. Because of this, a trade suggestion that includes “throw in Van Slyke” is not going to happen. In addition, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Scott Kazmir have very little trade value. In order to make a deal for one of the impact arm options below, the Dodgers will most likely have to overpay.
- The American League is so jumbled at the moment that it is hard to predict which teams will end up being sellers at the deadline. Guys like Kelvin Herrera, Alex Colome and Dellin Betances would be perfect setup men for Kenley Jansen but are unlikely to be moved as their teams are competing for a playoff spot. In addition, Felipe Rivero is untouchable for the Pirates with his age and years of control remaining and Brad Ziegler has been terrible in Miami this year so the Dodgers will most likely stay away.
- The Dodgers are in a unique situation where they not only have the money to absorb a large contract, but also have the prospects required for bringing in a young, up and coming arm to Los Angeles.
Trade Candidate #1
Veteran Left Hander Sean Doolittle of the Oakland A’s
Contract Situation: Owed about 7 million through 2018 with a team option for 2019
2017 Stats: 3.31 ERA, 2.29 FIP, 12.67 K/9, 0.73 WHIP
Why he fits: He has experience as a closer with a career ERA around 3. He creates a perfect righty-lefty-righty trio with Pedro Baez and Kenley Jansen.
Trade Proposal: Mitchell White and Josh Sborz for Doolittle
Trade Candidate #2
Veteran Right Hander Addison Reed of the New York Mets
Contract Situation: Free agent after this year. 7.75 million through this year
2017 Stats: 2.59 ERA, 3.55 FIP, 9.07 K/9, 1.10 WHIP
Why He fits: Reed is a strike throwing machine that has found a career resurgence in New York the last few years. He would bring veteran leadership into late game situations in Los Angeles.
Trade Proposal: Jordan Sheffield and Trevor Oaks for Reed
Trade Candidate #3
Young Left Hander Tony Cingrani of the Cincinnati Reds
Contract Situation: 2 years of team control after this year.
2017 Stats: 2.35 ERA, 5.17 FIP, 8.8 K/9, 0.978 WHIP
Why he fits: Cingrani has been equally tough against lefties and righties this year and brings along a 45% ground ball rate. He could be counted on for an inning of relief or longer.
Trade Proposal: Brock Stewart and Josh Sborz for Cingrani
Trade Candidate #4
Young Right Hander Tommy Kahnle of the Chicago White Sox
Contract Situation: Under team control through 2020
2017 Stats: 2.20 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 15.15 K/9, 0.92 WHIP
Why he fits: Kahnle has been absolutely dominant this year. He is striking out 43% of right handers he faces this year and 43.4% of lefties. He does not have a long track record of success at the big league level but he would be a perfect 7th inning or 8th inning guy setting up Kenley Jansen.
Trade Proposal: Mitchell White and Willie Calhoun for Kahnle
Trade Candidate #5
Veteran Left Hander Tony Watson of the Pittsburgh
Contract Situation: Free agent after this year. 5.6 million this year
2017 Stats: 4.03 ERA, 4.96 FIP, 6.87 K/9, 1.53 WHIP
Why he fits: Although Watson is having a down year, he has a track record of success. Though he has allowed a higher batting average against left handers than right handers (.327 to .299), he has allowed much higher power numbers to right handers (7 home runs against righties and 0 against lefties). He would slide into important role of facing left handers in pressure situations.
Trade Proposal: Trevor Oaks and Jordan Sheffield for Watson
Trade Candidate #6
Veteran Right Hander Pat Neshek of the Philadelphia Phillies
Contract Situation: Free agent after this year. 6.5 Million this year
2017 Stats: 1.39 ERA, 2.40 FIP, 8.63 K/9, 0.87 WHIP
Why he fits: Neshek has been absolutely dominant against right handed hitters this year. In fact, he’s been pretty terrific against left handers as well. He uses a funky delivery to help limit hard contact this season. Neshek could be trusted in many different roles; facing right handers only or even pitching a full inning in a high leverage situation.
Trade Proposal: Mitchell White and Jordan Sheffield for Neshek
Trade Candidate #7
Young Left Hander Justin Wilson of the Detroit Tigers
Contract Situation: Team control through 2018
2017 Stats: 2.64 ERA, 3.01 FIP, 13.5 K/9, 0.98 WHIP
Why he fits: Wilson basically strikes out everyone. Well not everyone, but his strikeout rate of 37% against righties and 40% against lefties would make him the perfect addition to the bullpen. In addition, a report recently came out that the Dodgers were in Detroit scouting Wilson.
Trade Proposal: Willie Calhoun and Trevor Oaks for Wilson
Trade Candidate #8
Young Right Hander Kyle Barraclough of the Miami Marlins
Contract Situation: Under team control through 2021
2017 Stats: 3.13 ERA, 4.03 FIP, 10.13 K/9, 1.45 WHIP
Why he fits: Barraclough has put up solid numbers this year after his dominating 2016 season. It is unlikely that the Marlins would move him now when they have so much team control left, but the Dodgers buying high on him would add another dominant late inning reliever to the equation.
Trade Proposal: Mitchell White and Alex Verdugo for Barraclough
Trade Candidate #9
Veteran Left Hander Jerry Blevins of the New York Mets
Contract Situation: 5.5 million this year, 7 million option next year.
2017 Stats: 3.21 ERA, 3.36 FIP, 12.54 K/9, 1.27 WHIP
Why he fits: Blevins has been especially effective against left handers this year allowing just a .380 OPS. He would come into the bullpen as a specialist facing mostly lefties.
Trade Proposal: Edwin Rios and Dennis Santana for Blevins
Trade Candidate #10
Veteran Right Hander David Robertson of the Chicago White Sox
Contract Situation: Owed 25 million through 2018
2017 Stats: 3.00 ERA, 3.04 FIP, 13.20 K/9, 1.0 WHIP
Why he fits: Robertson is one of the few proven closers that would seem to be available this trade deadline. Because he is owed so much money, the amount of teams able to meet the White Sox demand will be limited. Robertson has been attached to the Washington Nationals for some time and they might be the biggest threat to the Dodgers. He would bring late game experience to the 8th inning for Los Angeles.
Trade Proposal: Mitchell White, Imani Abdullah, Edwin Rios for Robertson
Trade Candidate #11
Young Left Hander Brad Hand of the San Diego Padres
Contract Situation: Under team control through 2019
2017 Stats: 2.47 ERA, 3.01 FIP, 10.92 K/9, 0.96 WHIP
Why he fits: Hand would be the perfect addition to the bullpen. He is a first time All Star that has been putting up dominant numbers this year. Since arriving in San Diego, he has been especially effective using his slider. He would slide directly into an 8th inning role with the Dodgers.
Trade Proposal: Padres’ General Manager A.J. Preller has already said that they want a “Chapman type return” for Hand. Because they are also a division rival, the price might be even higher for the Dodgers. Yadier Alvarez, Ross Stripling and Yusniel Diaz for Hand
Trade Candidate #12
Young Right Hander Raisel Iglesias of the Cincinnati Reds
Contract Situation: Under team control through 2020
2017 Stats: 1.59 ERA, 2.69 FIP, 10.44 K/9, 0.93 WHIP
Why he fits: Many remember Iglesias as the man that gave up the 8th inning grand slam to Corey Seager on June 18th. Many people don’t realize how dominant he has been for the Reds this year. In addition to being a lockdown closer this year, Iglesias was the Reds’ opening day starter in 2016 so conceivably he can counted on for more than one inning in the playoffs. Iglesias and Jansen would be an absolutely dominating combination at the back end of the bullpen.
Trade Proposal: Yadier Alvarez, Gavin Lux, Ross Stripling for Iglesias
Final Prediction: Acquiring Hand and Iglesias could turn the Dodgers bullpen from a strength, into an absolutely dominating force. Of course, this would take slight modifications to the trade proposals. However, a more low-key acquisition such as Justin Wilson would create a late inning situation of Pedro Baez pitching the 7th, Wilson the 8th and Kenley Jansen in the 9th. That would put the Dodgers in great position to make a deep run in the postseason.