(Photo Credit: Jon SooHoo)
While the 2016 non-waiver trading deadline has come and gone without the overwhelming amount of traditional flair, there are still several weeks remaining for the Dodgers to make waiver trades with other teams in one final attempt to polish the 25-man roster for the stretch run of the season.
Besides clubs having the chance to expand rosters in the beginning of September, there’s really not much else a team can do to tinker with the roster from here on out except perhaps consider a waiver deal. It’s entirely possible that one or two blockbusters can be done during this time frame, as many Dodgers fans remember quite vividly the waiver deal with the Red Sox that brought Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto to Los Angeles just four short years ago.
Yesterday, we took a look at the Dodgers’ outfield dynamics, and while this particular area is considered one of the deeper areas of the organization, the front office may be actively pursuing other areas to upgrade, considering the high number of injuries the squad is suffering at this point of the year — at least to hold down the fort until team ace Clayton Kershaw is healthy enough to headline the starting rotation once again.
It’s utterly plausible that this interval may come and go without any action at all from the Dodgers, but at the same time, there should be at least several opportunities for Los Angeles to do a bit of shopping. Below we charted four players who, based on their financial statuses and contract obligations with their current clubs, just may wiggle through the cracks and become available on the waiver wire by the end of August.
#4 — Ervin Santana (Minnesota Twins)
(Photo Credit: twinsdaily.com)
While Ervin Santana is signed through the 2018 season at a hefty $13.5 million AAV, he still has all the tools to be a quality mid-rotation piece for a contending club, and could profile well into the Dodgers rotation should good health not fall upon the key pieces by the end of August.
Some pundits may argue that Santana is well past his prime, yet the 33-year-old righty still averages over 96 MPH on his fourseam, and the spin on his slider and cutter can be classified as among the craftiest in the game when he’s throwing well.
Although he’s nowhere near the workhorse he was a handful of years ago, his ERA and FIP are still trending downwards compared to last year, and he could be a steal for a club looking to bolster their rotation for the playoffs in 2016.
#3 — Brandon Kintzler (Minnesota Twins)
(Photo Credit: Anthony Gruppuso/USA TODAY Sports)
Next, we take a look at another member of the Twins‘ pitching staff, right-handed reliever Brandon Kintzler. The 32-year-old Kintzler, a former key setup man for the Brewers, was signed to a minor league deal over the winter, and the fact that he’s under team control through next season makes him a very attractive option to the Dodgers’ front office.
Kintzler has always been known as a ground ball machine. Over his career, he has averaged about 2.7 groundouts per fly out. He coaxes a ground ball about 58% of the time. He throws a lot of sinking fastballs, while mixing in an effective slider with an occasional change up.
In 2015, his number deteriorated due to injury, but between 2013 and 2014 he pitched in 135 games, posting a 2.93 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP while walking just 2.1 per nine innings. This season he has tallied a 1.91 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP with 10 saves in 38 overall appearances with the Twins.
#2 — James Shields (Chicago White Sox)
James Shields is a pitcher who’s name has seemingly been dropped amidst Dodgers circles in trade rumors almost annually. After being dealt to the White Sox in the offseason, Chicago may have grown impatient with the 34-year-old veteran, especially when considering the $42 million he’s owed through the 2018 season.
Despite a 6.68 ERA and a 6.82 FIP in 12 ugly starts for Chicago this year, Shields has been known as an innings eater for much of his career, going a combined 129-104 with a 3.76 ERA for the Rays, Royals and Padres.
Shields helped pitch the Rays into the 2008 World Series and the Royals into the 2014 Series. He made the AL All-Star team in 2011. He can still crank his heater up into the mid-90s, and brings to the table a very versatile repertoire that features the fourseamer, a sinker/cutter, a slider, along with a potentially nasty curve and change.
#1 — Jeremy Hellickson (Philadelphia Phillies)
(Photo Credit: philly.com)
The Dodgers had the opportunity to check out Jeremy Hellickson firsthand on Wednesday at Dodger Stadium when the 29-year-old righty threw five innings of three-hit, one-run ball while racking up seven strikeouts.
Before his 2011 rookie season, he was ranked the #6 overall prospect by Baseball America, #9 overall by Baseball Prospectus, and #14 overall by Keith Law at ESPN. Early on, scouts raved about his pin-point command, stellar changeup, solid fastball, and plus curveball.
Hellickson has been healthy all year, as indicated by his 24 starts and 143 innings of work. He’s tallied a 9-7 record, with a respectable 3.65 ERA and 1.14 WHIP, considering that at least half his starts occurred at home in a somewhat friendly hitter’s ballpark.
The most appealing aspect of Hellickson is that he becomes a free agent after the 2016 season, and could be a handy pitching piece while not being bogged down with any future contractual obligations.