Dodgers trade deadline targets: Left-handed specialists

Chasen Shreve (Via)

With the trade deadline less than a week away, I feel we’ve covered the individual players pretty well. Sorry, there won’t be an Andrew McCutchen and Felipe Rivero/Tony Watson post because the Buccos are making a late push in the Central and the price for them would be astronomical (and rightfully so). But there might be a Justin Verlander post in your future. Stay tuned.

Instead, I’m going to look at a group of left-handed specialists who haven’t already been profile.

Previous entries:

There are a number of interesting left-handed pitchers who might be available, and these are the guys I’ve come up with.

Alex Claudio, 25, Rangers

Claudio is currently serving as the Rangers’ closer because their bullpen has been an outright disaster this season. He has a 2.42 ERA, 3.51 FIP, 70.6 GB%, and a 16.6 K%. Obviously, he isn’t going to miss a ton of bats, but he makes up for it by getting a lot of grounders, and he also walks just 5 percent of the hitters he faces.

Stuff & Usage

  • 2FB: 86.5 MPH, 58.3%
  • SL: 77.4 MPH, 13.3%
  • CH: 71.1 MPH, 28.3%

His numbers against lefties are much better: 2.94 FIP, 69.4 GB%, 20 K%, .129 BAA. The cost for him might be along the lines of a B/C-level prospect package, but it wouldn’t be prohibitive (and maybe he could be part of a Darvish deal).

Daniel Coulombe, 27, Athletics

Look familiar? Yes, that is the former Dodger prospect who was designated for assignment a couple years ago. Since he hooked on with the A’s, he has been a somewhat respectable left-handed reliever. This season, he has a 2.65 ERA, 3.94 FIP, 53.6 GB% and a 19.4 K%. The strikeouts and ground balls are down from last season, but his other peripherals are about on par with what they’ve been in his career. On the whole, he’s getting fewer swings on pitches outside the strike zone, which has resulted in fewer swinging strikes overall.

Stuff & Usage

  • 4FB: 90.7 MPH, 29.5%/li>
  • CB: 80.5 MPH, 35.5%
  • SL: 85.9 MPH, 35.1%

But if you look at Coulombe’s numbers against lefties, he’s a bit better: 3.60 FIP, 18.6 K%, .238 BAA. The Dodgers could probably do better, but there’s no reason Coulombe, 27, wouldn’t be available for a relatively cheap price. Think low-level, Grade-C prospect.

Sam Freeman, 30, Braves

Freeman made a strong impression in Los Angeles over the weekend, pumping 95-plus MPH fastballs and nasty sliders out of the Braves’ bullpen. He’s a former Cardinals’ farm hand who, after a somewhat rough 2015-16, seems to be back on track. He has a 3.78 ERA, 3.69 FIP, 59.8 GB% and a 22.5 K%. He’s a little wild at times (11.9 BB%), but he has some premium stuff.

Stuff & Usage

  • 4FB: 94.8 MPH, 58.5%
  • SL: 84.0 MPH, 23.0%
  • CH: 86.6 MPH, 18.6%

Against left-handers, Freeman steps up to the tune of a 2.82 FIP, 51.4 GB%, 29.5 K% and a .218 BAA. Like the ones before him, the cost should be minimal. Since the Braves like young power arms, perhaps a guy like Oscar Arzaga, Jose Chacin, Angel German and/or Elio Serrano could be of interest them.

Aaron Loup, 29, Blue Jays

On the whole, Loup’s numbers aren’t terribly impressive. He has a 5.09 ERA, 4.17 FIP, 55.9 GB% and a 21.7 K% in 35 1/3 innings. His career 3.53 FIP suggests that maybe he’s just having a down year (or two), however, and he has continued to strike hitters out, which is at least a bit of a silver lining.

Stuff & Usage

  • 4FB: 91.9 MPH, 68.6%
  • SL: 77.5 MPH, 7.7%
  • CT: 85.3 MPH, 9.3%
  • CH: 79.8 MPH, 14.4%

If you break down his numbers against lefties, he looks a lot better: 3.35 FIP, 60.0 GB%, 25.0 K% and a .283 BAA. The last number is a bit high, but the other numbers are solid. He should be one of the cheapest players of any listed here to acquire. Think rookie-level thrower or position player.

Mike Minor, 29, Royals

A former promising starter with Atlanta, injuries have relegated Minor the bullpen, and he’s thriving in the role for the Royals. With their recent surge, a guy like Minor might not even be available, but if he is, he’d be a good target. He has a 2.23 ERA, 2.61 FIP, 42.7 GB%, 27.5 K%. He has a better-than-average walk rate, making him a premium reliever in this market. Their acquisition of Ryan Buchter on Monday probably means they aren’t selling, but if you want to go down conspiracy theory road, acquiring that lefty from the Padres would make it easier to trade their current, more expensive lefty.

Stuff & Usage

  • 4FB: 94.2 MPH, 46.2%
  • CB: 82.0 MPH, 5.8%
  • SL: 88.4 MPH, 38.0%
  • CH: 86.6 MPH, 10.0%

He has solid numbers against lefties: 1.48 FIP (4th-best in MLB left-on-left), 54.3 GB%, 35.5 K% and a .123 BAA. He also has a mutual $10 million option for 2018 with a $1.2 million buyout. It’s hard to gauge his value, but it probably isn’t going to matter because the Royals are probably going to hold onto him. If he is for sale, I’d expect one or two guys from my Midseason Top 30 who rank anywhere from 10-30 to at least get KC interested.

Adam Morgan, 27, Phillies

Morgan’s numbers are downright ugly, but some of his peripherals show there’s potential in him as a lefty reliever. He currently has a 6.29 ERA, 6.31 FIP, 42.3 GB% and a 25.0 K%. He is a converted starter and just scratching the surface of his potential as a lefty reliever.

Stuff & Usage

  • 4FB: 93.9 MPH, 33.4%
  • CB: 76.4 MPH, 10.7%
  • SL: 82.9 MPH, 36.3%
  • CH: 82.0 MPH, 19.7%

What piques my interest is his numbers against lefties: 2.97 FIP, 56.0 GB%, 37.8 K% and a .209 BAA. He also walks just 4.4 percent of the lefties he faces, so you can see why he’s a bit exciting. The Phillies shouldn’t be in a rush to trade him, but if they package him with a Pat Neshek, perhaps they could up their prospect return slightly.

Wandy Peralta, 26 (on Thursday), Reds

Peralta is a hard-throwing kid who has done much better in the Reds’ bullpen this season than last. He pitches in a hitter’s park, so he’s given up a few homers, but that could change if he gets to a more neutral park. Overall, his numbers solid: 2.80 ERA, 3.55 FIP, 56.4 GB% and a 24.9 K%.

Stuff & Usage

  • 4FB: 96.3 MPH, 52.6%
  • SL: 85.9 MPH, 28.8%
  • CH: 85.9 MPH, 18.7%

And against lefties, he has been solid: 3.99 FIP, 57.4 GB%, 26.0 K% and a .179 BAA. As a younger, hard-throwing guy, the Dodgers might have to trade a bit more than some of the guys above, but I imagine Rick Honeycutt could turn this guy into an incredible reliever.

Chasen Shreve, 27, Yankees

First, yes, that’s a real name. Second, Shreve might be available from a playoff-contending team like the Yankees because they strengthened their bullpen just last week. He was optioned to Triple-A after they acquired Tommy Kahnle and David Roberston. Couple those two with Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman, and there isn’t a ton of room in the Yankee ‘pen for a guy like Shreve. Still, he has a 2.77 ERA, 3.38 FIP, 40.6 GB% and a 27.2 K%.

Stuff & Usage

  • 4FB: 93.0 MPH, 46.0%
  • SL: 84.7 MPH, 9.4%
  • SF: 83.7 MPH, 44.6%

A lefty with a splitter! Fantastic. There’s a lot of talent in his left arm. Against left-handed hitters, Shreve has been even better: 3.04 FIP, 39.1 GB%, 32.5 K% and a .222 BAA. Not sure what the Yankees would want in return, but assume a low-level prospect or two could get the job done.

Jose Torres, 23, Padres

The youngest player among these options, he’s the non-Brad Hand option the Padres could consider moving. His overall numbers don’t tell the whole story: 4.47 ERA, 4.49 FIP, 37.0 GB% and a 23.3 K%. He limits the walks, too, in his first full MLB season (6.2 BB%), so there’s some potential in this youngster.

Stuff & Usage

  • 4FB: 95.0 MPH, 78.6%
  • SL: 83.0 MPH, 16.4%
  • CH: 88.9 MPH, 5.0%

Strong profile here, with the plus-plus fastball velo and a decent slider. Against lefties, his some of his numbers improve: 3.59 FIP, 52.5 GB%, 19.8 K% and a .237 BAA. He might be one of the more costly pitchers here, and if A.J. Preller is going to hold out for multiple top prospects for Hand, perhaps Torres can still be a bargain (but not as much as you might think).

Eric O’Flaherty, 32, Free Agent

Okay, so this isn’t a trade target, but it’s worth mentioning. O’Flaherty was one of the best lefty relievers in baseball from 2009 through 2014: 2.00 ERA, 3.26 FIP, 58.0 GB% and a 19.5 K%, but since then, he has struggled with injuries. From 2015-17, he hasn’t been the same pitcher: 7.60 ERA, 4.79 FIP, 54.4 GB% and a 15.3 K%.

Stuff & Usage

  • 4FB: 90.4 MPH, 63.1%
  • SL: 84.4 MPH, 36.9%

Despite his struggles with shoulder (rotator cuff tendinitis) and back injuries (lower back strain) in 2017, he has still been really good against lefties. He has faced 39 of them and posted the following line: 2.77 FIP, 51.9 GB%, 25.6 K% and a .184 BAA. The Braves released him last week, so I’m guessing he isn’t terribly healthy right now. He might be worth a flyer on a minor-league deal, but if the medicals are as bad as it seems, then it might be a hard pass.

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Here’s how I’d rank them in terms of most- to least-attractive potential acquisitions:

  1. Minor
  2. Shreve
  3. Freeman
  4. Claudio
  5. Peralta
  6. Morgan
  7. Torres
  8. Loup
  9. Coulombe

If O’Flaherty has anything left, I’d probably throw him in as high as No. 3 and low as No. 5. Of course, if he had anything, he’d definitely be on the trading block.

——

If the Dodgers can’t land a Blevins, Britton or Hand, adding one of these guys to the bullpen would be beneficial given that Adam Liberatore is still injured and Grant Dayton is struggling in a major way. Luis Avilan could use some help, and I think one way or another, this bullpen will be upgraded before Monday.

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler
Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosts a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He is a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif., and has yet to be shot.