Takeaways From The Trade Deadline

ablueravine
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WIl the Dodgers regret trading for this guy?

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

July 31st came and went yesterday and it was a bit bereft in terms of activity on the final day. In what was kind of expected, the Dodgers stood pat (Michael Morse for Jose Tabata doesn’t count), after fortifying the bullpen, and absolutely overhauling the starting rotation in a humongous and unique 13 player trade between the Braves and Marlins.

For a team that went into the July trading month with huuuuge expectations -the National writers were assuming very early on that they’d end up with one of Price/Hamels- “only” acquiring Mat Latos and Alex Wood along with depth pieces from the bullpen would seem to be a disappointment, but making such definitive statements on anything that Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi do are ill advised to say the least.

There’s no question the Dodgers did some amount of good this deadline, Mat Latos, though 20 innings this month, has posted a 1.80 ERA/2.43 FIP split. This coincides right with an uptick in velocity after his disabled trip visit earlier this year, so the ERA he has posted this year is basically meaningless assuming his velocity is back.

Alex Wood on a per rate basis is one of the better left handed starters in the National League, and while he still has major questions about his performance, (injury issues, how many innings can he throw in a season, why did that strikeout rate disappear), the Dodgers got the 4th best starter traded this deadline, right behind the obvious names, for a 30 year old Cuban prospect that might be blocked at every position other than the one he can’t play (second base).

They also got Jim Johnson, which is what Brandon League might look like if he was good, and Luis Avilan who represents a strong LOOGY option.

But you already knew most of this, and I would go as far as to say that David Price, Johnny Cueto, and Cole Hamels going elsewhere doesn’t mean the Dodgers were “losers” this deadline, they compensated by keeping all of their top prospects and making a gamble on a controllable, good, young starter. Considering the fact that Hamels got 3 top 100 prospects and a couple of other high floor prospects (Stan Kasten selling 3 top 100 guys for a guy over 30 years old has to be unprecedented, right?) the Dodgers probably got the one pitcher most realistic for their team at a fraction of the price.

So that’s the good that they did, they filled up all the holes, kept all of their top guys in the system, and actually added a very well regarded second base prospect that was a global top 50 prior to being traded for!

This doesn’t mean that they had the perfect deadline. I mentioned this after profiling Jose Peraza

"Chalk this one up to i’m just saying, but realistically, Peraza could pretty easily be used as a trade chip, and a top 50 prospect would look quite valuable to the Reds, maybe they have something that could interest the Dodgers. Maybe the Padres would be willing to talk if the Dodgers inquired on Kimbrel and also took on Jedd Gyorko. I DUNNO. AJ Ramos, Brad Boxberger, Carter Capps, Jake McGee, the options are plentiful, controllable beyond this season, and the Dodgers have a surplus of talent available to fix their needs before the deadline passes tomorrow afternoon."

Andrew Heaney being traded for Howie Kendrick was probably an overpay, but it wasn’t seen like that because the Dodgers upgraded everywhere and gave up an *almost extraneous* top pitching prospect to fill a position with a top flight player.

And speaking of top flight players, Carter Capps is sporting a 1.00 FIP this season, Craig Kimbrel is the best young closer of all time, Aroldis Chapman is sillylilly good, AJ Ramos has a 3.06 career FIP that’s down to 2.21 this season, Jake McGee has a 1.76 FIP this season, Brad Boxberger (while struggling a bit this season) posted a 1.95 xFIP last year and is a control tweak away from being as good as the other names on this list

Sure Jim Johnson will help (I trust him over any of the other 8th inning guys available on the team), yes Luis Avilan is going to be fine as a LOOGY, but gosh darn all of the relievers mentioned up there are

A) Dominant as heck

and

B) Controllable

So basically, the Dodgers had a pretty big need (that was mitigated, sure) and there were multiple young cost controllable relief aces available, AND the Dodgers had an enviable negotiating position because they just acquired a global top 50 prospect that they don’t really need if they love Howie Kendrick enough (they probably do).

I’m of the position that relief aces are the 2nd most valuable assets (right behind superstars) that can be traded during the season, and the Dodgers passed on a market that had a surplus available.

Who knows what the asking price for Capps/McGee/Chapman/Kimbrel/whoever was, maybe it was wholly unreasonable, but there were plenty of options on the market, and the Dodgers were in a uniquely good position to overpay to fix their bullpen issues for this year and in the years to come, and they stood pat.

What the team did at the deadline was cool and good, and by itself, you can’t really get too worked up about the moves they didn’t make, but all it takes is one look back to the 2014 NLDS to remember that relief pitchers pitch in the highest leverage situations of your entire season, and i’m not totally comfortable in asking the current relief corps to do that.

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