Dodgers Bullpen: 3 Relief Arms to Consider at 2019 Trade Deadline


Whether the management crew of the Dodgers is prepared to admit it or not, the bullpen is continuing to prove itself as the weakest link on an otherwise very talented ballclub. Monday night’s loss to the Angels was another example of how the relief corps imploded, as it surrendered four combined runs in the seventh and eighth innings, spoiling a very fine outing by Hyun-Jin Ryu.

While they certainly won’t be advertising it openly, Andrew Friedman and his troops will be performing their due diligence regarding this summer’s trade market. Friedman always makes at least a few minor moves,  and this summer should be no different. It’s imporatant to remeber that this year, waiver trades will no longer exist through the end of August, setting up the July 31 non-waiver deadline to be highly momentous for many teams around the MLB.

Without beating around the bush, here are three relief arms the Dodgers could conceivably target, and all three just conveniently happen to be left-handers:

Will Smith—Giants In the past, many general managers have shown tendencies to avoid trading within their respective divisions, but rival and former Dodger GM Farhan Zaidi recently went on record explaining why it may be advantageous (read Andy’s column from last week here).

One may think the Dodgers are already stocked with plenty of lefty relievers (see Scott Alexander, Julio Urias and Caleb Ferguson); however, the problem is that Los Angeles lacks an elite southpaw reliever.

Will Smith could be that guy.

So far this season, Smith has thrown 24-2/3 innings over 25 appearances, producing an impressive 2.19 ERA, a 1.97 FIP, a ridiculous 0.730 WHIP and a 12.8 K/9. The problem is that while the 29-year-old journeyman will become a free agent at the end of this year, Farhan might still demand a extremely hefty return.

Brad Hand—Indians Cleveland lefty Brad Hand wasn’t necessarily on my personal radar, but those who come here regularly for the commenting dialogue have certainly been talking about Hand in a big kind of way.

Arguably, Hand’s performance this year has been even better than Smith’s. Through 29 appearances, the 29-year-old Hand has posted a 0.97 ERA, a 1.70 FIP and a 13.0 K/9. Furthermore, Hand’s current contract is much more team-friendly. He’s under control through 2020 with an optional team buyout in 2021.

Hovering right around the .500 mark, the Indians currently trail the Twins by 10-1/2 games in the AL Central; yet, if The Tribe is able to wiggle itself into Wild-Card contention near the deadline, Hand will likely be a name that quickly disappears from the rumor mill.

Felipe Vazquez—Pirates Felipe Vazquez was one of the relievers we were mulling over when we put together our first hypothetical trade proposal last November at the beginning of the 2018-19 offseason.

The 27-year-old Vazquez made his first-ever All-Star squad in 2018, posting 37 saves, a 2.43 FIP, and an 11.4 K/9 after throwing an even 70 innings over 70 appearances. He’s under control through 2021, including team options for both the 2022 and 2023 seasons. This year, the native of Venezuela is earning $4,5 million, which includes a partial payment of his signing bonus.

So far in 2019, Vasquez has thrown 27-1/3 innings over 25 appearances, posting a 2.30 ERA, a 2.52 FIP and a 14.2 K/9.


23 thoughts on “Dodgers Bullpen: 3 Relief Arms to Consider at 2019 Trade Deadline

  1. AF needs to pull the trigger. This is our best shot. As Epstein said when he signed Chapman back in 16. If not now then when? And they won a championship!


  2. I don’t mean to be picky Dennis, but would you mind explaining this sentence, “Without beating around the bush, here are five relief arms the Dodgers could conceivably target, and all three just conveniently happen to be left-handers”. Are you possibly counting Smith’s and Hand’s right arms as well, thereby giving us a total of five arms to consider. 🙂
    I’m on board for any of those three guys. I would feel slightly better if AF would make a deal in the next couple of weeks, even overpaying if necessary, so that we don’t get into a bidding war in July, because we all know that Andrew rarely decides he wants to win a bidding war. If we get a major asset early, that will put us in position to be picky when it comes down to the end of July, but if an opportunity arises, we could snag a second good arm. If not, at least we have the guy we got in June.


      1. Get rid of your job (or jobs). Drop out of school (if you’re still doing that). Stop campaigning for the Gov. And devote all your time to what’s really important………………………..this blog!
        All kidding aside, you seem like an incredibly busy guy and I, for one, would like to thank you for still paying attention over here. I don’t know how you do it.


      2. I’m only taking one class during the summer—it will be finished on Aug 6. My PR project with the governor’s office will be finished on August 9. At that point, I will be able to breathe easy for a few weeks!


    1. There. The problem that Andrew didn’t have is solved.

      Any of those guys is going to take a haul of prospects. They’re prospects. As is we are not a complete team. Go for it


  3. Maeda doesn’t have it tonight. The answer? Score More!

    At this point might as well leave him in there for 100 pitches. Maybe we score 9 by the 9th.


  4. Ferguson looked much more aggressive in his first time back, after his demotion. Hope he can keep this up, he looked scared to throw a strike before he was sent down.
    Dennis, you had me sold on the Vasquez/cervelli deal in November, make it so. I’m with you Jeff go get someone now, and see if somebody else falls in your lap at the dead line.


  5. Although we don’t need the cervelli part of the deal, I’ll still take Vasquez.
    I hate to look a gift horse in the mouth, but we have got to be leading the league in solo HRs.


    1. Well Larry, prepare for more disappointment. Initial diagnosis on Seager is a grade 2 hammy strain, 4 to 6 weeks on the shelf. Reports are saying that Taylor will become the Dodgers primary SS. 2 for 13 with RISP is not going to cut it.


  6. We just took a huge step backward with Taylor at short instead of Seager. Sure are a lot injuries in baseball. Have to wonder why.

    We didn’t score enough. Bullpen looked ok though. That’s a good thing. And there are times I wonder if Maeda warms up properly. His first inning ERA is 4.95 and innings 1-3 it’s 4.47. Innings 4-6 it’s 2.6. Work up a sweat in the bullpen Kenta. Don’t wait until the game starts.

    It’s not that we aren’t scoring runs WRISP, ranking 8th. Not great, but not as bad as one might think. Our batting average is .263. We rank 12th in that stat, 3rd in our Division. Colorado and Arizona hit higher with RISP. Yankees lead, hitting .286. Remarkably Houston ranks 19th. As of today odds have us playing them in the World Series. Hitting with runners in scoring position apparently isn’t as important a stat as I believe it is. Add it to the list of “things change”.

    It remains to be seen how effective Seager will be the rest of the year. He’s young, hopefully he’ll recover for the finish. But the question begs to be asked…. he’s young, why is he injured so often?


    1. And as for looking back on that Alvarez trade it’s always hindsight of course but as one writer put it – Fields was “not necessarily a disappointment, he just never lived up to the prospect capital in the trade.” Fields helped us get there, but he wasn’t good in post season and he’s now gone. Alvarez, according to most accounts, has DH written on him but it’s my belief, based on years of my own experience, if you can hit a baseball you can catch it. He has experience at first and in the corner outfield spots. With work he can be adequate out there. So…. if he continues to hack, it’s an easy call on that trade – advantage Houston.


    2. So, does AF keep both Garlick and Beaty now or feel he needs to have another guy come up who can play shortstop if necessary? I don’t see any candidates who are ready (I don’t believe Lux is ready yet).
      Nightengale says we’re in on Brad Hand. That’s a fairly safe statement considering that anyone still in contention is probably at least checking with Cleveland and, of course, it hasn’t yet been determined if they’ll be sellers. Maybe we can throw enough at them that they’ll let us borrow Lindor when we trade for Hand. And it’s out of the box ideas like this that has Andrew begging me to come work in the Dodger front office. I’ve told him “no” because that would cut down on my ability to comment here.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Unlike last year when there were several players at AAA with MLB time, not so this year. No one down there is doing all that great. If they need a versatile player who seems to be able to hit, I would go out of the box and bring up AA SS Omar Estevez. Kid was impressive in his spring games and he is hitting well over .300 at Tulsa. Doubt Ol Andy goes the trade route for a temp replacement. Lux is good, but I would not rush him in there.


  8. I am delighted to report that we no longer need Hand, Vazquez or Smith.
    We have just signed Zac Rosscup to a minor league contract!
    He’ll report to OKC and be ready to solve all our bp problems in L.A. shortly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rosscup may look like a bad signing, but his BB to K ratio is off the charts. K’s a lot more than he walks. He misses bats which is something Alexander has yet to learn. At least he is a career reliever and not a converted starter aka, Ferguson and Urias.


      1. When you’re wishing for Smith, Vazquez, Hand, Iglesias, etc., Rosscup seems like a massive letdown. On the other hand, he didn’t cost us anything and we might still wind up with one of the above.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. yes we could…not holding my breath for Andy to do anything anytime soon. Of more interest, who comes up and takes Corey’s roster spot???


  9. Furthermore, for those of you who might have wanted us to get Giles (I wasn’t in favor), he’s just been put on the IL with elbow inflammation. Not likely he’ll be going anywhere any time soon.


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