Should Dodgers Pursue Offensive Help at 2017 Trade Deadline?

Cain
(Mandatory Credit: John Sleezer/The Kansas City Star)

With less than two months remaining until MLB’s 2017 non-waiver trade deadline, we knew it would be only a matter of time before the Dodgers surfaced among clubs that are likely to show trading activity during the coming weeks. In Wednesday’s column, we made note of how several media outlets believe that Los Angeles will be aggressive on the pitching market, yet based on the squad’s recent propensity to fall into frequent offensive stupors, the management crew could be interested in seeking offensive help as well.

There’s certainly no shortage of potential on the existing 25-man roster, however, the team is loaded with names who haven’t quite lived up to lofty expectations. Outfielder Yasiel Puig has shown a few glimpses of hope by featuring a new, more compact swing, but his .233 average is much less than desired as far as overall production goes. The same can be said for Joc Pederson, who was hovering right around the Mendoza line before being sent to the shelf with a concussion.

Rookie Cody Bellinger has been tremendously beneficial in the power department with 12 long balls and 31 RBI, but his .242 average and 57 strikeouts suggest that he’s still learning the nuances of big league pitching. Many believe that Adrian Gonzalez‘s numbers will improve as the season progresses, but his age will probably prevent him from seeing another season of 30+ home runs and 100 RBI. And while catcher Yasmani Grandal is always good for more than 20 long balls per year, his career average of .241 certainly limits his overall offensive abilities.

Shortstop Corey Seager and third baseman Justin Turner are the two players who may be shouldering most of the load for the Dodgers at the dish in the near future, while anything that utility man Chris Taylor continues to contribute will be an added bonus. Although the club still ranks sixth overall in the NL in team batting, Los Angeles seemingly fell asleep in the batter’s box during Turner’s final days on the DL. In the four games leading up to the Reds’ series, the Dodgers scored a total of five runs. In three games before it’s 10-8 victory over Milwaukee on June 3, the team scored a total of three runs, suggesting the club has a tendency to drift into an offensive lull at any point in time. And it isn’t always against stellar pitching from their respective opponents. On some days, the Dodger bats have a tendency to make even a young Double-A farmhand look like a Cy Young candidate.

If the Dodgers do indeed decide to seek help with the lumber, there’s no question that any prospective move will require some serious roster restructuring. The club will need to make decisions on the shape of the core moving forward — whether it wants to retain the existing components or move in a new direction. In addition, the management crew will need to address other questions, like the organization’s willingness to sacrifice stellar defense in exchange for better production offensively.

As far as players from the outside who may interest the Dodgers, outfielder Ryan Braun‘s name seems to come up on a perennial basis. However, if the Brewers are still in the running for a divisional title in late July, it will be unlikely that they’ll shop the veteran, even if he does return from the DL completely healthy.

One player who could provide a boost on offense without missing a beat with the glove is Kansas City outfielder Lorenzo Cain. He owns a career .285/.337/.413 slash line, and has double-digit stolen base numbers in each of the past six seasons, suggesting he’d be a productive piece at the top of the lineup. Cain wouldn’t be anything more than a rental, though, as his contract runs through the remainder of the current campaign. Still, his $11 million yearly paycheck indicates a very economical price tag — a sum that the Dodgers could easily afford.

A few other players who may be on the market that could pique the Dodgers’ offensive interests are Marcell Ozuna of the Marlins, Andrew McCutchen of the Pirates and Nick Markakis of the Braves.

Looking at the short term, there’s no doubt that the return of Turner to the three-hole in the lineup will spark the Los Angeles offense to some degree, but the question that will linger through July is whether or not the entire squad has enough offensive firepower to produce a successful run through October.

(FOLLOW DENNIS ON TWITTER: @THINKBLUEPC)

 

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13 thoughts on “Should Dodgers Pursue Offensive Help at 2017 Trade Deadline?

  1. I agree that we probably need an upgrade and that it should probably be an outfielder but I don’t think Markakis is enough to bother with and McCutchen is way too much of a gamble, especially considering what they would probably ask for him. Ozuna is interesting but there are rumors the Marlins would consider trading Yelich. That would be my choice. It would take a heavy load of our prospects but we would have him for 4 years and he’s really good. I would make Buehler, Alvarez and Urias and Bellinger off limits but everyone else would be in play.

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    1. Personally, I like Cain the most, but for some reason the whispers about Yelich are gaining a bunch of momentum. In a conversation earlier this afternoon, we laid out a potential blockbuster involving Yadi Alvarez, Alex Verdugo and Kyle Farmer in exchange for Yelich and Dan Straily. Thoughts?

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      1. Although Straily is certainly a decent pitcher, the only way I trade for a starter at this point is if I can get someone like Archer (and that would take half the farm system). I don’t see the point in trading for another decent starter when we’ve already got Hill, Ryu, Wood, McCarthy, Urias, Maeda and Stripling if we need him. It might actually make sense to do tandem starters such as what they did last night. So now your rotation is Kershaw, Wood, Hill-Maeda, McCarthy, Ryu and eventually Urias to make up for the first guy or guys who falter.
        I’d really like to hang on to Alvarez, at least until we get a little more exposure to what his talents really are. Hard to think of trading a very young starter who can hit 100 on the gun. And I agree with those who feel Buehler will be something special.
        So please just send me Yelich and I’ll give you Verdugo, Farmer, Sheffield and your choice of Oaks or Stewart. Too much, not enough?

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      2. Me too. Problem is I don’t think the Marlins do that. I don’t even think they’d do it if you substitute Stewart (whom I think is better) for Oaks. Someone would offer more.

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    2. With those four off the table, a yelich trade is gone as well. Unless they decide to ship a major leaguer with calhoun, verdugo and another mid lvl prospect

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      1. Not sure the Marlins have any need for Calhoun. I think he’s better off being saved as a trade chip for something from an AL team. I’m happy to let the Marlins have Joc as part of the deal. Yelich can move into center and I think Mattingly is fond of Pederson.

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