Can you believe it’s July already? It feels like the season just started yesterday. I guess you could argue that it did, since you can’t go back and change the past, so the season starts over every single day. Some teams just get a hell of a good head start. Head explode dot gif.
Anyway: July! Trade season is here! And before you say that nothing will happen until July 31, remember that last year’s shocking Jeff Samardzija / Jason Hammel / Addison Russell deal came over the July 4th weekend. Though the second wild card makes more teams think they can stay in the race longer, it also provides incentives for someone to break off and sell early, getting out in front of the market.
We know the Dodgers are going to make some moves, probably in the rotation, but we also don’t know exactly how this new front office is going to handle the deadline, their first in Los Angeles. Sure, we could look back at the deadline histories of these execs with previous teams, but I’m not sure it’s that instructive. No one’s ever had a payroll like this.
So the question before you today is: How different will the 25-man roster look like on August 1, after the trade deadline? For a reminder, here’s what it looks like today:
C (2) — Yasmani Grandal, A.J. Ellis
IF (6) — Adrian Gonzalez, Howie Kendrick, Jimmy Rollins, Justin Turner, Enrique Hernandez, Alberto Callaspo
OF (5) — Joc Pederson, Yasiel Puig, Andre Ethier, Scott Van Slyke, Alex Guerrero
SP (5) — Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Brett Anderson, Mike Bolsinger, Carlos Frias
RP (7) — Kenley Jansen, J.P. Howell, Pedro Baez, Yimi Garcia, Adam Liberatore, Juan Nicasio, Joel Peralta
Also on the DL but either out for the season or not likely to be available until late in the year, and therefore not relevant right now: Hyun-jin Ryu, Brandon McCarthy, and Paco Rodriguez. As to the four with chances to contribute, Crawford began his rehab on Tuesday night, and must be activated by July 31. Beachy must be activated by July 17. League’s rehab is probably done, and a decision on him almost certainly comes by the time the team kicks off a homestand against the Mets on Friday. Hatcher will probably be ready before July is up. Olivera is on the minor league DL, and hasn’t returned from his injured hamstring yet.
So you have 25 active players, 6 more with various cases to be added before July 31, and anyone who comes over in a potential trade. How in the world do you make all that fit? You can probably assume someone pulls something and lands on the DL, but you can’t count on that or know who right now.
Also complicating matters: the lack of optionable players on offense. Hernandez is the obvious choice to yo-yo back and forth as needed until rosters expand on Sept. 1, but he’s the only real backup shortstop to Rollins on this team. (Darwin Barney started one game, but he’s no longer on the 40-man. Turner started one game too, and no one ever needs to see that again.)
I’m guessing most of you want to see Callaspo gone, though he’s been better than you think (109 wRC+, acceptable defense) and with Guerrero essentially out of the third base picture, probably isn’t expendable until Olivera comes up. We’re all assuming that Johnny Cueto or Mike Leake or Scott Kazmir or Jeff Samardzija or someone arrives to help the rotation. Maybe Frias gets optioned out, but Bolsinger’s pitched well enough to keep his job. How do you make it all fit?
One man’s completely speculative guess:
- League comes back, Liberatore goes down. (Or Garcia does. Or League gets DFA’d. I’m still not sure on this one.)
- Seager doesn’t appear before July 31.
- Neither does Olivera.
- Beachy comes up, Frias gets optioned or DL’d. (He’s reportedly got a tight lower back, so there’s at least a pretense.)
- Crawford comes back, Hernandez heads to Triple-A, they suck it up as far as Rollins’ backup, knowing Kiké isn’t far away. I know, I don’t love this either.
- Hatcher’s rehab, which hasn’t started yet, is extended to a full 30 days, pushing a call on him into August.
- Van Slyke, Hernandez, or (less likely) Guerrero gets included in whatever trade is coming.
Knowing how quickly these things can turn, especially with injuries — I still won’t believe Anderson is staying healthy all year until at least Christmas — and how good this front office is at coming up with clever ideas we’ve never considered, if I hit on even one of these, I’ll be happy. Can you do better? Let’s hear it.