Dodgers Will See Roster Upgrades After Trade Deadline, Regardless of Deals Made

Corey Seager
Los Angeles Dodgers’ Corey Seager reacts after striking out during the first inning of a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies in Los Angeles, Monday, June 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

Even if the Dodgers don’t make a huge splash before next month’s trade deadline, the club’s 25-man roster will take a different look before big league active rosters expand in early September.

It seems to happen almost every season—one or two impact players who have been on the shelf for quite some time return from injury. This year’s duo is Corey Seager and A.J. Pollock, a pair of position players that could provide the Los Angeles lineup with an instant boost of offense.

David Freese, perhaps the squad’s most valuable bench piece, should also be returning in very short order. Freese has been battling a mild hamstring issue, but skipper Dave Roberts has recently indicated the veteran corner infielder may be activated as soon as July 1.

As far as the pitching staff goes, Scott Alexander should be healthy enough to return at some point in July. He’s not a dynamic upgrade, but at least he’ll provide decent depth. Rich Hill conceivably isn’t anywhere near returning, but the hope is for the veteran southpaw provide an extra starting arm down the stretch-run of the regular season, giving management the option of resting the horses of the rotation before the playoffs begin.

Seager was sizzling offensively before his injury occurred. In the 18 games before his placement on the IL, he slashed an impressive .397/.461/.721 with 10 doubles, four homers and 18 RBI over 76 PA. Furthermore, he was often placed much lower in the batting order, extending the lineup even more. With Alex Verdugo now fitting nicely into the two-hole, the batting order may turn out to be as potent as ever as August approaches.

From a defensive standpoint, a regular outfield consisting of Cody Bellinger, Pollock and Verdugo doesn’t get much better. All three are extremely solid when it comes to grades in most of the critical areas of defense.

Perhaps the biggest challenge will be finding a way to keep Chris Taylor on the field in some shape or form.

Before the Seager hamstring strain, Taylor was hitting .218/.283/.391 over 193 plate appearances. Since then, he’s slashing an insane .426/.476/.741 with eight doubles, three homers and 16 RBI over 63 PA, so to say he has stepped up his game would be an understatement. The good news, though, is that CT3 can theoretically handle all three outfield spots as well as short, second and third base. Moreover, it’s a given that Taylor will appear any time an opposing lefty pitcher is on the mound.

All that said, it still doesn’t address the club’s woeful bullpen issues. Alexander will not make a huge impact, and it’s totally unreasonable to bank on the fact that Joe Kelly will morph into the force he was during the 2018 postseason. To boot, should anything prevent Pedro Baez or Kenley Jansen from seeing regular action, the relief corps may find itself in a ton of hot water.

The good news is that the organization may have some viable trade pieces to offer rival clubs, especially when considering the emergence of rookies like Matt Beaty and Kyle Garlick. What’s more, it seems like Will Smith is soaring above Keibert Ruiz, so the club may have to consider a decision regarding the long-term future of the team behind the dish. Nevertheless, it still makes some sense to keep both, but when factoring in the high demand for young, MLB-ready catchers, a prospective return on a trade could be huge.

Either way, the action surrounding this year’s trade deadline should be incredibly hectic, being that waiver deals have been taken off the table completely.

Front office boss Andrew Friedman almost always makes one or two impact deals before time runs out on July 31, and this year should be no different.

 

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27 thoughts on “Dodgers Will See Roster Upgrades After Trade Deadline, Regardless of Deals Made

  1. It would seem as though the bullpen is the only area where we need an upgrade so any good prospects we have that AF would consider trading need to be used for that purpose.
    Smith has shown (albeit a very small sample size) that he is ready to take his spot with the big club. Some think Cartaya is the best of the three. That means Friedman must at least be thinking of including Ruiz in a trade for Vazquez. Ruiz will not be ready for the majors until at least 2021 and we can’t really consider going with Barnes as the number one catcher next year the way he is hitting right now.
    As much as the Pirates maintain they aren’t all that interested in trading Vazquez, if we let them know Ruiz is in play, they’ll definitely have to consider it.

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  2. Right now with where this team is and the VERY FEW holes the roster has you have to strongly co wider giving Ruiz up for Felipe Vazquez. I have no doubts that Ruiz would be the first player demanded by Pittsburgh and I’m ok with that now that I know Will Smith can handle big league pitching. Yes it will suck to lose an uber-talented switch hitting young catcher with improving defense but the blow is softened knowing we have a young stud who has the ability to one day be the very best defensive catcher in the game. The Cartaya kid is only 17 so we do t know what will happen with him but all indications are he’s going to be a good one. This team is dying for a nasty lefty strikeout pitcher in the pen and Vazquez may be the best of the best in that regard. If they will agree to Ruiz for Vazquez straight up you do the deal and don’t look back. Something tells me AF wants to try to swing a deal with Farhan for Will Smith instead in the hopes he won’t have to give up Ruiz and instead possibly headline the deal with someone like Dustin May. As it stands now only Gavin Lux is completely untouchable but I believe it would take a lot for AF to trade young Cartaya or his two Reds pickups Downs and Gray also.

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      1. I don’t see elite Dennis. You may be right but I see a middle of the rotation starter in the big leagues who relies on his sinker to get ground balls. Still a good pitcher, just not Buehler or Urias level. For once the farm is loaded with position players and starting to thin on pitching. Hopefully they try to rectify that and build up the pitching depth soon but they clearly valued offense in this draft.

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  3. Interesting name DFA’d this morning you might want to research a bit. Casey Sadler DFA’d by the Rays. Kid has been stellar out of the pen for the Rays, but they are loaded with relievers. Pitchers seem to be figuring out Beaty and Garlick. Neither has done much the last few games. But they are just holding spots on the bench warm for Pollock and Seager. I think Roberts learned a lesson last night. Floro is a one inning pitcher, do not try to stretch him out. Typical Coors game though, no lead is safe. Bellinger crushes two pitches that Blackmon catches against the wall and Dahl hits a wall burner for a homer,…go figure. Well Kersh goes after win #8. Ryu gives up 7 runs and his ERA is still below 2.

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  4. Wow, just realized that we are forgetting an important part of this team who also will be returning in late July. David Freese will be back sometime next month. He is the Dodgers RH power off of the bench. Carlos Gonzalez DFA’d by the Cubs.

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  5. From an article circa 2012:

    Top 30 position players in MLB: How they were seen as prospects –

    “11) Yadier Molina, C, Cardinals (6.5): 2002 Grade C; 2003 Grade C+; 2004 Grade C. I liked his glove but I didn’t think he would become much of a hitter, writing that he would be a “very empty .260 hitter” but that he could last awhile due to his defense. That assessment looked correct until he suddenly began hitting in 2008, then spiked power in 2011.”

    He OPS’d under .700 until he was 24 didn’t start until he was 22. When he was Ruiz’ age he OPS’d .715 in A ball.

    Ruiz grades out much better than Molina did. Ruiz is a B+. Smith is a B- , Cartaya a C+.

    I don’t think Friedman is trading Ruiz.

    For a decent relief pitcher I would give up Smith plus an arm – maybe White. Smith is a Top 5 prospect, So is Gonsolin. Cartaya, Santana, White… all top 10. Put together something with any of those guys leading the ticket. Ruiz, Lux and May are off the table. Don’t like it? Go fish.

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  6. Kersh restores a little order to things. Only 2 runs allowed so far. Hanging curve to Blackmon was hammered. Defense a lot better. Cody with an RBI double and Rios first hit is an RBI triple. Well, just as I say that, Muncy makes and error to let Blackmon get aboard. Here we go again. Arenado at the plate 1 out and 2 on. Need the OLD Kersh to show up right now. Arenado ties the game with a single. 2 on, 1 out and here comes Desmond. You cannot allow the other team extra outs at Coors. Walks and errors get cashed in. Desmond made an error and the Dodgers cashed that in. If the Rockies lose the division, it will be simply because they are not the same team on the road that they are in Denver. Kike boots one and the bases are loaded for Matt Reynolds. Reynolds singles in 2. Well, you had to figure it was going to happen sooner or later. Coors is a nightmare for any pitcher.

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      1. Got that right. Kike has missed a couple of routine grounders and not been charged with an error. After last nights nightmare performance with the glove, they had better fix it soon. Cannot wait for Seager to get back.

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      1. Nobody on here wanted him, but they could have had Lemaheiu. But let him go to the Yankees and he is an all star.

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      2. That proves you’re not a “nobody” Dennis. It was fun to go back and see what we were all spouting about back then. Looks like you, Bear and Scoop were all on board with trying to get LeMahieu. I, on the other hand, was doing my very best to unload Muncy and trade high. Not my greatest GM moment.

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      3. I think I hypothetically dealt Muncy about three times last winter myself. Needless to say, I’m beyond impressed with how he has performed with the bat so far this year. Now, if he could just improve his glove work…

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  7. Getting pretty fed up with watching Barnes be caught looking at so many strikes lately. I am beginning to believe he is afraid to swing the bat.

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    1. In his defense 2 of those strikes were balls.

      Some days I have edit capability, some days I don’t. When I don’t I must sign in with password every time. Never had this problem anywhere.

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      1. Strike one to Cody was a ball and they called it a strike and it ended up changing the whole at bat. Should have been a ball and a walk. Muncy had an awful day at the plate. Congrats to Rios on his first hit and RBI as a big leaguer.

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  8. I wish an earthquake would implode Coors Field into nothing. That place is cursed for the Dodgers. From now on let’s just concede those games and never even show up.

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    1. Little too dramatic a statement Alex and altogether wrong. The Dodgers own a winning record against the Rocks at Coors. 116-104.

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  9. I have no love for Denver. Some here may know the reason why, but the baseball team there can lose 100 a year as far as I’m concerned.

    We’ve seen this Dodger team look like crap for stretches before. It’s what I believe is to be expected in all or nothing baseball. Our shortstop and centerfielder are on the shelf and we have no first team second baseman. Up the middle defense kinda sucks, but maybe it’s not as valued as it once was. With so many balls now being hit in the air outfield defense is what must carry influence. From what I’ve seen we are pretty good in right. Verdugo looks like he could be better than average in center. Left? I don’t know what plan is out there.

    The biggest change I see in our team is we aren’t striking out as much. That’s a good thing. We should win the West. Fix the bullpen and we will most likely be playing Houston or New York in October. LA v NY would be fun.

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