While some fans of the Dodgers believe the club should pursue offensive help as the summer trade deadlines approach, I’m still among those who believe that pitching—most specifically several upgrades in the bullpen—are necessary to make a run at the 2018 postseason. Yes, the team has struggled with the lumber in the weekend series against the Rockies, but I still feel there’s enough firepower on the 25-man roster to do the job scoring runs.
And while the relief corps is the biggest need, the team could also benefit greatly from a top-of-the-line starter. When considering all of the arms that have recently become healthy, the best combination still may not be good enough to advance deeply into the playoffs, should the club advance that far. As we all know, starting pitching goes a long way in the postseason, and even if the best four starting arms on the Dodgers are healthy, they still may not be good enough to run the entire gamut.
Just in case you missed it, a few weeks back I jotted down five players whom I thought could potentially fit in with Los Angeles, and since that time, one of those players—former Royals’ closer Kelvin Herrera—has been snatched up by the Nationals. Today, I’m going to focus mainly on the bullpen and reveal another set of players that could conceivably fit in well with the Boys in Blue.
Blake Treinen—One of our most loyal readers, Manuel, has brought up Oakland closer Blake Treinen multiple times this year, and there’s no doubt that the Dodgers would benefit tremendously by gaining the services of the 30-year-old righty. The problem is that I’m really not sure if the Athletics intend to be sellers at the deadline. Right now, they’re sitting at 46-38, and although the Astros are running away with the division, Oakland may still be in a good spot to contend for a Wild Card berth. Regardless, Treinen’s ridiculous 0.89 ERA and 1.98 FIP make him one of the best closers in baseball, and there’s no doubt he could fit well into the setup role the Dodgers so desperately need—if Oakland decides they want to sell.
Keone Kela—In the basement of the AL West with a 3-46 record, things are not looking bright at all for the Rangers. We’ve already mentioned they’re likely to deal veteran starter Cole Hamels, but if the team is serious about scoring a slew of blue-chip prospects, they may also consider dealing closer Keone Kela. The 25-year-old righty has posted 20 saves in 20 chances with a 2.65 FIP and 36 punchouts over an even 29 innings this year, but, most importantly, his salary is just $1.2 million in 2018 and he’s under team control through 2021—all factors which should sound appealing to Andrew Friedman and his troops. Undeniably, the price would be high, but the Dodgers definitely have the resources to deal.
Brad Brach—Brad Brach‘s numbers aren’t overwhelming by any means, but when considering about half of the Dodgers’ internal options right now, he’s probably a significant upgrade, especially in a middle-inning capacity. Through May 1, the 32-year-old righty posted a 6.55 ERA, but in his 22 appearances since, he has tallied seven saves with a respectable 2.11 ERA and 20 punchouts over 21-1/3 frames. At $5.165 million, his salary is a bit lofty for the Dodgers to absorb while staying under the threshold, but if Los Angeles could send back a few million dollars in salary to the Orioles by way of another player, a trade could work.
Jeurys Familia—The Mets have said in previous seasons that they were unwilling to deal hard-throwing righty Jeurys Familia; however, things have gone so bad for them recently that they may want to consider their personnel strategies. Indeed, there are quite a few factors that flash red flags, though, most specifically the shoulder soreness that kept the 28-year-old on the DL for almost 10 days earlier in June. Furthermore, his salary is nearly $8 million this season, which would be tough for the Dodgers to fit under the threshold. His recent implosion against the Pirates last Wednesday may deter rival clubs even more from pursuing him, but considering his arsenal and how well he’s capable of throwing, a meaningful venue could be enough for a team like the Dodgers to roll the dice.
With exactly four weeks left on the clock before the non-waiver deadline, things on the trade front are about to get crazy, and the Dodgers are likely to be right in the middle of it. Stay tuned tomorrow as we plan to discuss several of the possible candidates which Los Angeles may conceivably trade away in efforts to upgrade the roster.