As the weeks of summer start to pass by at a quick pace, it means that the 2019 trade deadline is rapidly approaching. Unlike previous years, there will be no period allowed for waiver deals, meaning that there should be a huge amount of bustle among many teams before time runs out on July 31.
Seemingly, the Dodgers should be among the clubs involved.
As it stands now, the Dodgers are the best team in baseball, at least as far as overall records go. Los Angeles is strong, and they’re probably one of the deepest teams around. However, the bullpen has been an issue for almost the entire season, and even if boss Andrew Friedman doesn’t make a huge splash in the relief market, he may end up snagging one or two complimentary bullpen pieces just for the sake of building some serviceable depth.
We’ve been talking a lot about Pittsburgh closer Felipe Vazquez this year, but GM Neal Huntington still maintains he’s unlikely to move his star lefty. We’ve also discussed veteran lefty closer Will Smith of the Giants, but the consensus among many pundits is that former Los Angeles GM Farhan Zaidi will want a hefty return of quality prospects, something the Dodgers are doubtful to provide, especially since Smith will be nothing more than a half-season rental.
Regardless, another name that keeps cropping up among the many Dodger rumors is Detroit righty Shane Greene. As recently as Friday, the Los Angeles front office has inquired about the 30-year-old righty, according to Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors. From all conceivable angles, with the second-worst record in the American League, it definitely looks like the Tigers will be active sellers this summer.
If you’re unfamiliar with Greene, his 2019 numbers are completely off the chain. Over 33 appearances and an even 33 innings pitched, he has a ridiculous 1.09 ERA, a 0.879 WHIP and a 9.3 K/9.
Greene is a starter-turned-reliever, so his repertoire is quite hefty. However, much of his success in relief can be attributed to his fierce sinker. He also features a slider as well as a cutter. The dip on his sinker causes batters to pound the ball into the ground, resulting in a ground ball rate of more than 51%—one of the highest ground ball to fly ball rates of his career.
Greene is signed through the 2020 season, which would conceivably give the Dodgers at least a little control. Last week, Greene was named to the American League All-Star team for the first time in his career.
He is likely the most reliable reliever on the market, figuring to serve a back-end role on contending teams—perhaps as a primary or secondary closer—and should command a solid prospect or two in return.
That could be the problem with the Dodgers, though. Friedman has been infamous for not willing to invest huge amounts of resources in his bullpen, and the price from the Tigers may be a little too high for his liking. However, Los Angeles has plenty of trade chips at its disposal, especially with the emergence of a handful of rookies this year who have performed admirably at the big league level.
Maybe 2019 will finally be the year Friedman goes all in, stacking his deck with some of the heaviest, most powerful artillery available.