As you may have heard, there’s now only one trade deadline that’s on July 31 at 4 PM EST. Thus, it’s time to get an early start to the Dodgers rumor mill, but also because … well, #Content.
One of the more popular rumors going around is from Jon Morosi regarding the Pirates initial ask from the Dodgers for Felipe Vazquez, which is apparently two of Keibert Ruiz, Gavin Lux, Dustin May, and Will Smith.
Many, including me, saw this as something that was not ever going to be happening. That’s mainly because it’s almost impossible to envision a scenario where either Lux or May get dealt, and they certainly aren’t going to trade both catching prospects.
Still, as a starting point it could be interesting. The Trade Deadline Targets feature Dustin did on Vazquez did involve Ruiz, and I could definitely see a package built around him that would also include a few other top prospects who aren’t likely to be significant contributors in the near future (Lux/May).
Perhaps most interesting, though? Morosi reporting on the likelihood of the Dodgers and Giants hooking up on a trade.
Sources say Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman is genuinely willing to talk trade this month with Giants counterpart Farhan Zaidi — and vice versa. Sources say the Dodgers have varying levels of interest in multiple Giants relievers, including the aforementioned Smith, former Dodger Tony Watson, Sam Dyson and Reyes Moronta.
Makes sense, though obviously the Dodgers would probably have to be careful since Farhan knows the system.
Fortunately, it doesn’t seem like Friedman will lose his mind.
For now, at least, the Dodgers are highly unlikely to part with one of their top four prospects according to MLBPipeline.com — Keibert Ruiz, Gavin Lux, Dustin May, and, yes, Will Smith — for a rental reliever, even one as exceptional as Smith.
Yeah, Dustin figured the same in the Trade Deadline Targets feature on Smith, but a deal with the Giants for him definitely seems most likely at the moment.
Aside from Smith, there’s also old friend Watson (LHP/3.38 ERA/4.48 FIP/5.03 DRA), Dyson (RHP/2.30 ERA/2.93 FIP/3.05 DRA), and Moronta (RHP/2.72 ERA/3.13 FIP/3.68 DRA). I could that trio as fallback options if the cost is reasonable, but I’m guessing there’s a reason they were mentioned in passing instead of centering a report around them.
Shane Greene of the Tigers is another relief option that the Dodgers have checked in on, according to Anthony Fenech, but he feels like a fall-back option more than anything.
Greene’s All-Star appearance won’t hurt his cause, but given how good he has been — and how quickly things could change — the Tigers would be wise to move quickly. The Dodgers have inquired with the Tigers on Greene’s availability.
Alex did a Trade Deadline Targets feature on Greene, in which the prospect cost was relatively cheap, which reflects the fact that none of us are all that interested in him being a Dodger.
Greene isn’t bad, but his 1.09 ERA is misleading, as he carries a 3.69 FIP and 3.47 DRA while also lacking a track record of success. So he’s more of a Joe Kelly or Pedro Baez type that’s a solid option in middle relief than the kind of elite shutdown arm the Dodgers likely would want and need.
Greene isn’t the only Tigers pitcher rumored to be on the radar of the Dodgers, as they’ve joined the Matthew Boyd sweepstakes, according to Chris McCosky.
Boyd, with three years of team control remaining, is the Tigers’ most valuable trade chip. There are a lot of teams that like, want and need Boyd. Interestingly, among those tracking Boyd are the analytically savvy teams like the Dodgers, Braves, Astros and Tampa.
That’s interesting, because it would certainly seem like Boyd is being looked at by the Dodgers as a pitcher who can not only help them this year but also as a potential replacement for Rich Hill and/or Hyun-Jin Ryu in 2020 and beyond.
Boyd is having a breakout year in 2019, posting a 3.87 ERA in 107 innings. That doesn’t look like much, but his strikeout rate is up ~10% from last year to 32.0% and his walk rate has halved from two years ago to 4.5%. The home-run problem is worrying (19 allowed this year), but a 3.53 FIP and 3.00 DRA indicate a potential front-end rotation arm is emerging.
Obviously the Tigers seem to know this as well.
You can’t fault the Tigers for shooting for the stars, but their ceiling in a Boyd deal is likely a similarly projectable prospect to what Torres was three years ago, when the Cubs traded him to New York for closer Aroldis Chapman. Problem is, teams began shying away from similar trades shortly thereafter: The prospect return in the June 2017 Cubs-White Sox trade — the White Sox received Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease for veteran lefty Jose Quintana — has yet to be matched in recent years. Houston has not included top prospect outfielder Kyle Tucker in their packages, Morosi reports. Tucker is the type of young offensive player the Tigers would like to receive for Boyd.
If not used for a reliever, then perhaps Ruiz might be dangled for Boyd, as that might be what it takes even if I’d prefer they not.
A Boyd acquisition would seem like overkill in the rotation, but if the Dodgers aren’t confident Hill will be ready to start in the playoffs and they want to keep Julio Urias in a sort of Josh Hader relief role for the rest of the year, then perhaps this makes more sense than it seems to on the surface.
Of course, there’s about three weeks left to go before the deadline, so all of this stuff is preliminary. However, I thought it would be good to check in on who the Dodgers are being connected to before things truly get underway.