While the young 2020 season still feels that it just got underway almost yesterday, something to consider soon is the fact that the August 31 trade deadline is quickly approaching.
How the shortened season and the revamped playoff picture might affect this year’s deadline have already been the topics of many heated discussions among fans.
The most important thing to consider about this year’s postseason is that it will feature a whopping 16 teams, eight from both leagues. Two teams from each of the six divisions will secure a spot, with the final four berths going to the clubs with the best remaining records, regardless of division.
Needless to say, many teams that might have already fallen out of contention in a normal season would still certainly be in the running for a playoff spot by the time this year’s deadline rolls around. Regardless, that might not prevent some teams from building towards the future, as some of their marquee players approach their respective walk seasons.
Obviously, it’s still very, very early, but here are three names to keep in mind over the coming weeks as the Dodgers continue to evaluate their roster:
The rumors surrounding Francisco Lindor have seemingly been attached to the Dodgers since the early days of last winter, but thoughts on the infielder may have conceivably changed with the recent addition of Mookie Betts, at least from an offensive perspective. Some believed that the intentions of Los Angeles management was to slide Corey Seager to third base with the addition of Lindor, while others felt that a hypothetical deal would have seen Seager end up with the Indians, opening the door for somebody like Edwin Rios, Kody Hoese or Cristian Santana to take the reigns at third base with Justin Turner‘s prospective departure after the 2020 season.
Like Seager, Lindor will be eligible to file for free agency after his 2021 campaign, so long he’s not extended before that time. Last year, the four-time All-Star, two-time Gold Glover and two-time Silver-Slugger hit .284/.335/.518/ with 40 doubles, 32 homers, 74 RBI and 22 stolen bases, producing a 4.7 bWAR.
Lifetime, the 26-year-old native of Puerto Rico has slashed .288/.347/.493 with 130 long balls and 384 RBI in 717 games.
Of course, the Dodgers will want to fill any immediate holes at this year’s deadline, but that might not necessarily prevent Andrew Friedman from building towards the future at the same time.
Joe Musgrove made his first Opening Day start after emerging as the leader of Pittsburgh’s rotation and clubhouse during the 2019 season. He had an extremely strong showing in Summer Camp, but has gotten off to a rough start over his first three regular-season outings this year. According to MLB.com, the 27-year-old right hander is one of the pitchers who stands to benefit from working with forward-thinking, analytically inclined pitching coach Oscar Marin, who has encouraged the Pirates to utilize their individual strengths rather than preaching a uniform pitching philosophy throughout the organization.
Mainly utilizing a mid-nineties fastball as his primary weapon, Musgrove has built a 28-36 lifetime record with a 4.45 ERA, but he definitely showed many flashes of brilliance during an otherwise disappointing 2019 season for the Pirates. Depending on where the Pirates stand at the end of August, they might decide to move their ace, especially when considering their position looking ahead as a rebuilding club.
The Dodgers could be interested in a starter who give them a better option than their second-tier, particularly if injuries take their toll on the front five in the Los Angeles rotation.
Musgrove will hit free agency after the 2022 season.
Flamethrower Josh Hader has been linked to the Dodgers over the past few years in the most prevalent trade rumors, but the biggest question heading into the 2020 playoffs is whether the Los Angeles bullpen will continue to dominate like it has been lately, perhaps preventing the club from not having to go out and snag a high-impact reliever.
Hader is still under team control for three additional seasons, but that might not necessarily mean the Brewers will not consider dealing him. Among the trade rumblings last winter, Milwaukee was rumored to be interested in either Gavin Lux or Dustin May as centerpieces of a prospective deal. From a Los Angeles perspective, May is definitely off the table with Lux not far behind.
So far this season, the Brewers have posted a 3-5 record. Hader has appeared in two of those games and has yet to allow a hit.