Putting Dodgers’ expectations into focus leading up to trade deadline

Addison Reed (Via)

Tomorrow is the non-waiver trade deadline. After 1 p.m., teams won’t be able to make trades without first putting players through waivers. This is a pretty significant day for the Dodgers, as they’re looking to upgrade in a couple areas.

Yes, they could use another starting pitcher. Yes, they could use another reliever from the left side. But a team that is playing .702 baseball doesn’t exactly need to make a move. I’m not saying this to defend the front office if they don’t make a move, but don’t be shocked if nothing happens today. Also don’t be shocked if the guy or guys they acquire aren’t big-time names.

Having said that, the Dodgers should absolutely be buying. They should be in on big-time names. They should do everything they can to not only improve their odds of getting to the World Series, but to make sure Clayton Kershaw isn’t required to throw on short rest before late in the NLCS or Series.

Molly hits the nail on the head here. Of course, she said today that she’d trade “whatever it takes” to get Yu Darvish or Sonny Gray, and I’m not fully on board with that, but I get the sentiment.

Here’s what we can deduce:

  • The Dodgers aren’t trading Walker Buehler for anyone available.
  • The Dodgers won’t trade Alex Verdugo for anyone short of Gray.
  • The price for relievers is high.
  • Barring anything unforeseen, the Dodgers won’t be adding a bat.

There is always a chance — especially with this front office — that there could be a deal no one saw coming, which would make the Buehler and/or Verdugo declaration moot, but there are enough quality players available that I don’t see them going off the board too much for a guy like Sean Manaea, Felipe Rivero, Marcus Stroman or someone like that.

Here’s how I’d break down the trade deadline for the Dodgers:

Ideal

A trade for Darvish or Gray and Brad Hand or Justin Wilson.

This would be the A+ deadline, provided they still have Buehler and (hopefully) Verdugo. That’s why it’s “ideal.” Darvish would slot in as the Dodgers’ No. 2/3 starter and Hand or Wilson would help form a strong back-end of the bullpen with Kenley Jansen and Brandon Morrow.

Realistic

A trade for Hand or Wilson.

This really does seem like the priority. Getting a lock-down left-handed reliever (who can also get righties out) would be quite the boost to an already good ‘pen. And since most starters don’t go more than 5-6 innings in the postseason, adding to the bullpen seems like the most realistic course of action. The cost is sure to be significant, though.

Acceptable

Trade for Zach Britton and/or trade for Addison Reed and Jerry Blevins and/or trade for Justin Verlander.

A lot of this would depend on price. Reed/Blevins would be cheap enough, but their impact isn’t as great as the others. Britton would be in the “ideal” or “realistic” category if there weren’t significant concerns about his health coming back from the DL and his inability to throw on back-to-back days since then. Verlander would depend on the cost in terms of money and prospects. One has to wonder if this iteration of Verlander is better than Rich Hill, though.

Disappointing

Trade for Dan Straily or Francisco Liriano or Tony Watson or any other left-handed specialist or standing pat.

Straily isn’t better than Brandon McCarthy. In fact, the only thing he has on McCarthy is strikeouts, while McCarthy bests him in almost every other category. Just getting a lefty reliever who isn’t Hand or Wison would be disappointing as well since it’s not going to be a back-end type of arm. I’m not sure Liriano is a good gamble to be your shutdown lefty seeing as he’s been a starter for virtually his entire career. His acquisition seems more like an offseason kind of thing if you’re intending to convert him to the ‘pen full-time. Watson has taken a step back this season, so the Dodgers should probably stay away.

——

If you missed any of our pre-trade deadline coverage, get caught up here. They made three trades on deadline day last year, so expect some kind of movement. And while I’m looking forward to tomorrow, I’m also very ready for the deadline to pass.

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.