Mixed Signals Coming from Dodgers Weeks Before Trade Deadline

MLB: Miami Marlins at St. Louis Cardinals
Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

If there’s one thing that can be said about the management crew of the Dodgers during the weeks leading up to the 2018 non-waiver trade deadline, it would be the fact that there are not many clues being left behind as to what intentions the club truly has in terms of upgrading the team. Several weeks ago, we heard about a possible interest in Mets’ ace Jacob deGrom, but that prospective deal was nixed when the New York brass requested young right-hander Walker Buehler in return. Next, the Manny Machado talks gained heavy momentum, as the Dodgers actually appeared as favorites to land the All-Star shortstop at one point. Finally, we heard whispers of the Los Angeles front office contacting the Marlins to prospectively gain the services of one of their young relievers.

It’s hard to tell exactly what management has in mind, and most specifically what their priorities are. We heard that the Orioles once asked for a package of righty pitcher Dustin May and young shortstop Gavin Lux, but we later learned that the Dodgers have since expanded their search for infield help. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the front office crew has widened their pursuit of a position player beyond Machado. Passan reported that Los Angeles representatives have had conversations with the Reds about Scooter Gennett, the Twins about Brian Dozier and even the Mets about Asdrubal Cabrera. Because of the versatility of players like Chris Taylor, Enrique Hernandez and Max Muncy, the Dodgers are necessarily locked into one particular position when it comes to a roster upgrade, providing them the flexibility to shop around even more.

At the beginning of the month, we heard that the Dodgers have had preliminary dialogues with the Marlins about some of Miami’s best relief pitchers. In particular, the list included Kyle BarracloughDrew Steckenrider and Adam Conley. And on Tuesday, Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors noted that Los Angeles has even been linked to 38-year-old Brad Ziegler. Todd indicates that the veteran righty has turned things around of late, having allowed just two earned runs on ten hits while recording a 19:3 K/BB ratio over 21 innings since June 1.

And, as we discuss the Dodgers acquiring multiple players from perhaps multiple teams, the question lingers of exactly how many prospects or players the club is willing to sacrifice in order to upgrade. We’ve already discussed that the Dodgers have an abundance of outfielders to conceivably barter, but if the rival club is seeking quality starting pitching in return, it may be tough for the front office crew to put together a desirable package. Furthermore, the Dodgers have one of the better farm systems in baseball (at least from a position player standpoint), and it’s tough to comprehend that management will deal away a slew of prospects to make a few upgrades, especially if those upgrades are rentals.

Then there’s the issue of remaining under the luxury tax threshold, which could limit the team’s pursuit of a player with a higher priced contract. There’s always the chance the Dodgers could deal away somebody to create the money needed to pay out a higher incoming salary; but generally, the teams who are looking to deal are attempting to shrink their own payrolls, not increase them. Everyone seems to be talking about Logan Forsythe in this scenario, but it’s tough to imagine the teams who are selling having an interest in paying out the remainder of the veteran infielder’s 2018 salary, even if the Dodgers send along a few attractive prospects.

My opinion is that while it would certainly be nice to bring in Machado, there are other roster needs that should be seen as higher priorities. Everyone agrees the bullpen needs some work before it can be considered playoff worthy. And, personally, I’ve already stated that while I believe the current cast of starting pitchers is good enough to cruise to the postseason, it may not be effective enough to secure a World Championship. Ultimately, I feel the offense is good enough to succeed without Machado, and if the Dodgers are willing to sacrifice several of the organization’s top prospects to upgrade the roster, it might as well be on the pitching front.

It’s almost impossible to predict if an offensive upgrade is absolutely necessary for the Dodgers to have a successful postseason, or if one significant bullpen upgrade will be enough to push Los Angeles to the next level. Regardless, we’re currently inside the three-week mark before the deadline, and the next few weeks should provide some answers in terms of the team’s direction.

For now, though, the front office continues not to reveal their true hand in the least.

 

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29 thoughts on “Mixed Signals Coming from Dodgers Weeks Before Trade Deadline

  1. This front office is very good at playing things close to the vest. I never expect the moves they make, and am wrong on moves I think they will make, but it sure is fun to talk, and speculate about. Pitching, pitching, pitching that’s were we need to spend our assets, machado if its an equitable deal, we could probably do just fine with Muncy at second for the rest of the season.

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  2. You guys are correct. This front office could work for the Mueller team. Nothing gets out unless they want it to get out. Then they strike! For those who didn’t see it, the Astros sent Giles down to Fresno today. Maybe they’d take Baez for him and then each new team could try to fix their new guy. And no, I don’t really think they would trade Giles straight up for Pedro, but it would be tempting to at least propose it to the Astros. Anyone know anything about the new guy we got on waivers from the Rox today, Zac Rosscup? He was in AAA so I assume he’ll stay there for the time being.

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  3. Tonight’s lineup is out. Same guys starting as last night but Forsythe has been moved up to 6th in the order. He had three at bats last night. He struck out three times. If he strikes out four times tonight maybe they’ll bat him cleanup tomorrow. Are they really telling us that no matter how badly Toles hits lefties, that we’re better off with this lineup than with Toles in left and Kike at second? Maybe this is Doc’s way of showing the front office just how crappy his lineup, as presently constituted, is against southpaws and he’s forcing them to go out and trade for Machado or a second baseman by game time tomorrow. If things stay like this, teams will continue to throw left handers against us as often as possible and if we don’t watch out, we’ll be 6-8 games behind the D’backs by July 31st. Mr. Friedman, sir. Please do something. Do it soon. Logan Forsythe is now batting .199. He should not be starting baseball games for your team (actually he shouldn’t be on the bench either).

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      1. Is that an actual well-documented fact or do they just throw all kinds of numbers at Doc and let him make up the lineup? I have never heard either of them admit that Friedman makes out the lineup.

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      2. Andrew, I hereby “recommend” that you remove Forsythe from the roster. Stripling deserves it but, as big a Muncy fan as I am, I think Aguillar deserves it more so I’m not upset about that.

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      3. Either way, I don’t think Forsythe makes the postseason roster, if the Dodgers do indeed clinch a playoff berth. And I agree with you that Tolesy should be getting some looks against LHP. Maybe management is afraid of him actually having success.

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      4. Maybe they’re afraid of his getting injured because the plan to trade him. I need to just calm down until the deadline. Then I can ride off into the sunset screaming.

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  4. It seems like,with Baez, and Forsyth, doc and Andrew, are trying to show some kind of faith in them, so they can build their confidence, but how can you show confidence in .199? There goes another k for Forsyth, as I’m typing.

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  5. Don’t look now folks, but highly touted C prospect Will Smith just cracked his 16th HR for AA Tulsa today and is currently four points away from reaching the .300 mark again this season. What makes it even more amazing is that he’s put up those offensive numbers despite missing nearly an entire month with a thumb injury. Coaching staff currently has him moonlighting at 3B just so they can keep the “other” top C prospect Keibert Ruiz behind the plate more often as he lacks the defensive versatility that Smith possesses. What they should be doing is readying Smith along with OF prospect Yusniel Diaz for AAA OKC real soon because they’re the only ones on that Tulsa squad that have no business sticking around down there anymore. Like I said before on here about Smith, he’s the ONLY C prospect the Dodgers should indeed hold on to…unless he’s included in a potential trade package for Realmuto, that is. Geez, he’s putting up way better numbers this year than he did last year at Rancho and now projects to be a legit middle-of-the-order bat at the big-league level if he maintains his current trajectory. Almost like what’s happened to Max Muncy dating back to last year when he finally broke out for OKC and carried it over into this season for the Dodgers…

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    1. Giving you credit Manuel. You’ve been touting Smith since before he went on this homer binge. No reason not to have him at OKC immediately and if he conquers that he can be in L.A. for 2019 (or maybe even September 2018). Speaking of giving credit, I take credit for Forsythe’s homer today. If I hadn’t gone on my rant earlier blasting him into eternity, he would never have hit it. Let’s see now, who should I help tomorrow?

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      1. No need to give me credit, Jeff. I’m purely objective in my prospect observations and it has been a blast for me so far this year. Personally, I’d rather have Smith come up in September rather than wait for him in ST next year. Defensively, he’s MLB-ready right now. and at the very least should leap-frog Kyle Farmer on the depth chart as soon as he makes his way to OKC at some point this season. Smith a great example of why I love comp picks so much as he was one due to pitcher Kyle Funkhouser not signing as a 1st round pick back in the 2015 draft. So was Clayton Kershaw for that matter, come to think of it…

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      2. Hadn’t realized that Smith was the comp pick for Funkhouser. I hope we do that well on the pick for Ginn next year.

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      3. Yup, Smith made Funkhouser a long-forgotten memory already (haha). Besides, I already got the feeling the Dodger brass was more enamored with how they made out in the international draft this year as opposed to the MLB one. Can’t say that I blame them, either. Cartaya I would put up against any of the other top 30 “stateside” draft prospects MLB had posted on their site. Next year should indeed play out much better for the Blue Crew on the draft front, just as long as they don’t forget to make sure the 1st round pick(s) they end up selecting next time actually WANT to play for them!

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  6. Zach Pop continued his phenomenal pitching at Rancho last night. Another scoreless inning. ERA now at 0.33 through 19 appearances. WHIP is 0.70. Batting avg. against is .149. This is excellent pitching, even in little league. No reason not to move him up to Tulsa and there’s a spot for him since Spitzbarth has now been promoted to OKC. Kasowski also continues to be spectacular with 31 k’s in 17 innings and he might as well be on the same flight to Tulsa. Lots of things can happen between A ball and the majors, but these two guys are really worth keeping an eye on.

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      1. Sounds like a good gig for Manuel. But if he’s going to do it on minor league affiliates he has to promise not to mention the name Realmuto. 🙂

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      2. I make NO promises, Jeff!
        ;-p

        Still, I’ll do what I can on here in terms of what’s going on with the Dodger farmhands (even down at Great Lakes where they’ve been having a nightmare season so far, poor guys). Some interesting prospects I’ve been seeing down there at the lower levels, too. Btw Dennis, don’t forget to dig up whatever you can on that Miguel Vargas kid. I swear, he’s showing more elite-level hitting ability than Miguel Cabrera ever did at the same age and what’s even more scary about his offensive potential is that HE RARELY STRIKES OUT BY COMPARISON! Un-believable…

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      3. Sounds like a proposition, Dennis. Fine, I’ll bite. Summer tends to bring out my lighter side anyway…

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      4. Done, Dennis. Finally gave me an long-overdue excuse to set up a Gmail account, but I have a good feeling it’s gonna be worth it.
        🙂

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  7. Glad to hear you jumped in Manuel, can’t wait to read an article from you. Jeff’s realmutto comment gave me a good laugh, but I wanted to tell you, last night, my future son in law brought up the same idea, about the team acquiring realmutto, so you are not the lone voice in the wind. Thought you might get a laugh about that. Good luck with the writing.

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    1. Thanks, Keith. Your future son-in-law appears to have good sense as well when it comes to what the Dodgers really need right now outside of mandatory late-inning bullpen help (NOT laughing about it, btw; just simply acknowledging an obvious truth was more than enough for me ;-)). And yeah, I can hardly wait to get started on here! Ought to be pretty fun for a welcome change…

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