2023 Trade Deadline Targets: Primer

Once again, we’ve entered the trade deadline season, as it is a little more than two weeks away at 3 p.m. on Aug. 1. While the Dodgers are still in first in the National League West through 92 games, this is probably one of the more flawed teams during the Andrew Friedman era.

Sitting at 51-38 through the 89 games at the 2023 All-Star Break, that’s the Dodgers’ worst record to that point of the season since 2018, when they finished 92-71. That’s a 93-win pace for the Dodgers, with the 89-game record being a decent indicator of the end of the season. The Dodgers have either outperformed the pace at the point, by as much as eight wins in 2021 when they finished 106-56, or were under by as much as five when a 60-29 start led to a 104-58 finish in 2017.

Those are the outliers though, so realistically the Dodgers are looking at a finish between 90 and 97 wins depending on the moves that are made over the next few weeks. And there’s plenty of needs between the starting pitching injuries, bullpen issues, the team currently not having a true second baseman and the need for a right-handed hitting … something somewhere in the field.

As Dustin has said in the past, these series is supposed to be realistic. That might mean the picture above seems like it would be more of a dream for this post, and yet…


It doesn’t seem likely that Shohei Ohtani will get traded, and most will likely say the Dodgers should just wait until the offseason to try to add him. However, the needs are clearly stated above and Ohtani would fill two of them, sort of, as J.D. Martinez would end up becoming a right-handed outfielder the team needs (and be an entertaining experiment).

There will be plenty of more realistic options written in this series over the next few weeks, but Ohtani’s status with the Angels over the next few weeks will be worth monitoring.


The series is probably going to start with starting pitching, and rightfully so as the Dodgers have needed 23 starts combined from Michael Grove, Bobby Miller, Emmet Sheehan and Gavin Stone already this year.

With Dustin May gone again until at least next summer, Noah Syndergaard essentially unstartable the last time we saw him, Julio Urias having an up and down season ahead of free agency, Tony Gonsolin transforming into some sort of an enigma and Clayton Kershaw now out until the start of August (at best) now … all of that speaks for itself.

Here’s where all of those starting pitchers rank in the league so far this season:

  • 4.46 ERA (17th)
  • 4.36 FIP (16th)
  • 14.3 K-BB% (17th)
  • .238 BAA (T-5th)
  • 6.3 fWAR (15th)

Kershaw is responsible for 2.2 of the fWAR, which is better than May’s 1.2 fWAR and Miller’s 0.9 fWAR combined, with Gonsolin fourth among the team’s starters at 0.8 fWAR. Bluntly, the staff is a long way off of last year’s run with Tyler Anderson and Gonsolin stepping up to have All-Star seasons while Kershaw and Urias were dominant at the top of the rotation.

It’s been so bad for the rotation, the bullpen has actually been better in a few ways:

  • 4.34 ERA (23rd)
  • 3.90 FIP (8th)
  • 16.0 K-BB% (9th)
  • .245 BAA (T-23rd)
  • 3.4 fWAR (5th)

Of the 24 relievers the Dodgers have used in 2023, Yency Almonte is second on the team with 37 2/3 innings at a 5.02 ERA/4.56 FIP/4.11 SIERA after 2022’s 1.02 ERA/3.17 FIP/3.25 SIERA in 35 1/3 innings. Phil Bickford‘s 5.82 ERA/4.31 ERA/3.91 SIERA in 34 innings this year is another step the wrong way from his 2022 season (4.72 ERA/4.26 FIP/2.96 SIERA) in 61 innings compared to his 2.50 ERA/3.57 FIP in 50 1/3 innings back in 2021. That accounts for about 20% of the team’s bullpen innings in 2023. While Almonte has been much better since May 20, with a 1.37 ERA/2.57 FIP in 19 2/3 innings compared to a 9.00 ERA/6.73 FIP in his first 18 innings this year, Bickford has been significantly worse since the Dodgers needed him to go three innings on May 18 against the Twins. After a 4.58 ERA/2.77 FIP for his first 19 2/3 innings, Bickford has a 7.53 ERA/6.42 FIP in 14 1/3 innings since.

Given that Shelby Miller, who is now on the 60-Day IL and out until late August, is sixth on the team at 30 innings out of the bullpen behind Brusdar Graterol (38 innings), Evan Phillips (36 1/3 innings) and Caleb Ferguson (33 1/3 innings), the bullpen needs some help either from outside the organization or through moving some of the younger starters into the bullpen to finish out the season. With Daniel Hudson back on the 60-Day IL alongside Jimmy Nelson, Alex Reyes and Blake Treinen, who knows if those four combine for even an inning the rest of the year.

The starting pitching market likely includes Lucas Giolito, Jordan Montgomery, Jack Flaherty, Rich Hill, Michael Lorenzen, Eduardo Rodriguez, Lance Lynn and maybe/probably Marcus Stroman, Drew Smyly and Shane Bieber (though he just landed on the IL). For the bullpen, Scott Barlow, David Robertson and Jordan Hicks are probably among the top options.


As for the offense, I started to dive into the issues when I looked at the signing of Jake Marisnick, but here’s an update on the Dodgers batting splits for 2023:

vs. RHPvs. LHP
PAs2,629 (12th)916 (17th)
AVG.249 (16th).229 (28th)
OBP.334 (T-3rd).325 (16th)
SLG.449 (4th).466 (3rd)
OPS.783 (3rd).791 (4th)
ISO.200 (2nd).238 (2nd)
K%22.5% (15th)23.5% (20th)
BB%10.3% (2nd)11.4% (1st)
wRC+113 (T-4th)114 (5th)
HR103 (4th)48 (1st)

With David Peralta and Jason Heyward essentially starting every game against right-handed pitching while Mookie Betts moves to second base and James Outman in center, the Dodgers’ focus is probably on adding a piece for the lineup against left-handed pitching. Add Chris Taylor and replace one of Peralta and Heyward against lefties, but for now Marisnick has taken the spot of Jonny Deluca in the outfield. Theoretically, the Dodgers could add an option in the middle of the infield or in the outfield given Betts’ versatility.

Some outfield options could include Brent Rooker, Tommy Pham, Teoscar Hernandez (depending on where the Mariners are), Adam Duvall and Lane Thomas as they all are hitting at least 108 wRC+ against lefties in 2023 and four of the five are at least 114 wRC+ against lefties for their careers. With the Dodgers’ bench against right-handed hitting currently consisting of Marisnick, Yonny Hernandez and Austin Barnes while Michael Busch, Miguel Vargas and Deluca are the only options in Triple-A, there’s clearly a need for a little more depth at the plate.


There should be plenty more here over the next few weeks with trade profiles on a few of the options listed above.

About Cody Bashore

Cody Bashore is a lifelong Dodger fan originally from Carpinteria, California (about 80 miles north of Dodger Stadium along the coast). He left California to attend Northern Arizona University in 2011, and has lived in Arizona full-time since he graduated in 2014 with a journalism degree.