Should Dodgers Look to Upgrade at 2020 Trade Deadline?

(Adam Glanzman/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

In a normal season, the baseball world is beaming with anticipation and excitement in the final week leading up to the trade deadline. This year, it’s tough to gauge if there will even be any significant activity at all.

There are several factors that are certainly in play that have not been in the past. Lower level players who normally make up the final part of a blockbuster deal are pretty much out of the picture, as only players from a club’s 60-man player pool can be dealt. Second, cash flow isn’t the greatest for many clubs, so teams may be limited when it comes to snagging players who might put the teams on the fringes of their respective payroll budgets. Finally, with the expanded playoffs this season, more squads are in contention for the postseason, so they’re hesitant to give up their key players, even if it is the final year of their contracts.

The Dodgers are no different. Skipper Dave Roberts on Friday told Ken Gurnick of that there has been “considerably less discussion about the trade deadline with the front office this year compared to previous seasons.”

Still, that’s not to say that Andrew Friedman and his crew are inactive. With everything seemingly staying under very close wraps this year, almost anything could be brewing as I write this story.
As far as the prospective needs of the Dodgers go, in most years, the bullpen would be at the top of the list. Currently, Los Angeles has two key arms on the shelf—a pair of right-handed relievers in Joe Kelly and Pedro Baez.

As it stands, the relief corps of the Dodgers is the best in the majors with a 1.82 collective ERA, for those who believe ERA is an accurate gauge of relief pitching. The bullpen’s combined WHIP is 0.98, which is also best in the majors. Additionally, the relief crew’s .182 BAA is second in the majors only to the Cardinals.

Even if there’s no bullpen upgrades over the next week, bringing back a healthy Kelly and Baez might feel like significant upgrades in themselves.

Indeed, the chatter surrounding the starting rotation has been dominating many of the fan conversations lately. Staff ace Clayton Kershaw has been throwing as well as he has in years, while Walker Buehler flashed six innings of greatness in Saturday’s victory over the Rockies, assuring fans that the rotation may be in better shape than some previously thought.

Dustin May, who perhaps has the highest ceiling of all the pitchers on the staff, is progressing steadily, although many pundits feel that he’s already approaching the elite level. Tony Gonsolin has yet to allow an earned run over three starts this year, but he is sitting at the team’s alternative site waiting for his next recall.

On the downside, Ross Stripling and Julio Urias seem to be trending in the opposite direction at the moment, and many fans believe that both pitchers might be destined for the bullpen in the coming months. Reports say that Alex Wood is regaining his health, but good health doesn’t make up for the fact that he really hasn’t thrown effectively since his 2018 campaign, the season before the Dodgers shipped him off to Cincinnati.

Still, because the Dodgers are so deep, it gives management more than a half dozen names from which to select to form a playoff rotation, a luxury that most rival clubs can only dream about. For those pitchers who are struggling, 30 games—five or six prospective starts—could be enough time to get their performances trending back in the right direction.

The offense seems to be an entirely different animal as consistency appears to be the club’s biggest dilemma, but the Dodgers are still first in the majors with 160 runs scored entering Sunday’s games. Another thing to consider is that the role of the designated hitter and the extra three players on the active roster give teams more offensive flexibility, especially with regards to having a fortified bench available late in games.

Right now, I’m in the camp that Friedman and his troops might stand completely pat and not make any moves at all, but that could change easily if the momentum of the trade market takes an abrupt turn over the next few days.

Stay tuned for the latest news and rumors as they develop.

25 thoughts on “Should Dodgers Look to Upgrade at 2020 Trade Deadline?

  1. If Wood is healthy enough to start this week and pitches decently, I predict he’ll be traded. He is simply too inconsistent and too injury prone to rely on this year, especially when we have so many other options. He isn’t going to be happy in the bullpen and some other teams are pretty desperate for starters. It’s a win-win.

    Other than that, AF loves to be unpredictable so now that we feel he might not do much of anything, he’ll probably trade for Trout.


      1. At least if we bring Axford back we’ll get his annual Oscar predictions. He’s actually been fairly accurate through the years. I wonder if that was factored into his salary?
        At least 5 saves and an 80% prediction accuracy earned him an extra $100,000.


  2. If they can get a starter with playoff experience on the cheap, I think they will make a deal. Otherwise I do not think they go for any other upgrades.


    1. Does he have to be good or just have playoff experience?
      Finding a starter with playoff experience should be easy. Finding a starter who would be better than what we already have, not so easy.
      If we’re even interested in Bauer, I think someone will be more interested (and pay more).
      Lynn will cost a fair amount because he’s also under contract for next year. I don’t want to add any pieces to next year’s rotation: CK, Buehler, Price, May, Urias, Gonsolin and possibly Gray. I don’t want to give up a good prospect or two to push him into the middle of that group.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The other thing to remember is that if they’re dealing a prospect, he needs to come from the 60-man player pool. So that means any prospect dealt this year will be among the best 30 or so in the entire system. If Friedman’s dealing a youngster from his Top 30 Prospect List, you know he’ll want a fairly decent return.


      2. I would settle for good. Being both would be nice. Even if they traded for someone like that, they could always trade him this winter to add prospects or another piece. They do not necessarily have to keep him. The stuff I am hearing about Wood is that they want to find out what he has BEFORE the deadline. So, they must be thinking about an addition if he sucks.


  3. This team doesn’t need to make any trades this year. We can win with the current group. The Yankees can’t match rotations with us beyond Cole and our bullpen has been just a good and deep as theirs. I’d say the two offenses are evenly matched but we have a big advantage in starting pitching.


  4. Here’s a thought. I’d like to see what it would take to get David Dahl from the Rockies. I’m thinking more for 2021 onward than for this year but this might be a good time to grab him. He’d be the perfect guy to platoon with Pollock because they are both injury prone and hit from opposite sides. As a matter of fact Dahl is on the IL now with a sore back.
    I’d be willing to give them Sborz, Kendall and DJ Peters or Cody Thomas. All guys who will never be regulars here. Dahl may never have an injury free season, but he if did (and he’s still only 26) he could be excellent. We need to think about a replacement lefty batting outfielder for Joc next year. He’s not a great fielder but I think he’d be fine in left field (or as a DH). He’s controllable for 3 more years after this year.


      1. You’re correct. OK we can sub Raley.
        So the deal is now Sborz plus two of Peters, Raley, Thomas.
        I’m guessing some people here think that Peters or Thomas are worth Dahl all by themselves. I probably value him higher than most Dodger fans.


      2. I think the Pirates say yes to that deal, but I just don’t see the logic in getting another so-so pitcher to add to a staff that has plenty of guys who might be much better. The fact that he has more experience than May/Urias/Gonsolin just doesn’t do it for me.


    1. David Dahl is injured. He is dealing with soreness in his back and side. I doubt the Rocks would trade him inside the division anyway.


      1. I mentioned that he was injured. He’s always injured. In between his injuries he plays some decent baseball, but……………………he’s always injured.

        Dennis, are you suggesting we trade for a golfer? Probably wouldn’t have to do much with his swing. Good launch angle.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Jacob Amaya has been added to the 60 man pool. That would also make him eligible to be traded this week. More rumors floating around about Lynn. Rios and Amaya would possibly get it done but I’m going on record again as saying I don’t want to trade for Lynn.


      1. He’s scheduled to go tonight against the A’s which would put him in line for Saturday against us.
        If AF has any interest at all that should be a help, unless he’s traded on Friday.


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