The Dodgers made their first move of deadline day, acquiring two rental players.
Fans were growing impatient as potential Dodger trade targets got shipped elsewhere. Jay Bruce to the Mets is reportedly close, and Chris Sale is looking more and more unlikely. However, the Dodgers made their first move with Farhan Zaidi’s former employers, the Oakland A’s.
This move checks off the two biggest needs the Dodgers had going into the deadline. They’ve mainly been attached to outfielders and starting pitchers, and got one of each from Oakland. The price was steep, but thats been a common theme of this trade market.
Rich Hill is currently hurt, so he fits rather nicely with the Dodgers. He has a blister so it’s nothing too serious, but he hasn’t started a game since July 7th. Technically he started on July 17th, but he came out of the game without facing a batter. When he does start, he’s been very good. The Dodgers pursued him in the offseason before Brett Anderson threw a wrench in those plans by agreeing to a qualifying offer, but the Dodgers likely would have been better off with Hill. Hill has made 14 starts this year and own a 2.25 ERA/2.53 FIP in 76 innings. He’s struck out 90 batters and walked 28, but he’s only given up two homers all season.
Hill is a free agent at the end of the season and turned 36 in March, so the Dodgers could have a chance to keep him around for cheap if they’re so inclined.
Reddick is also a free agent at the end of the season and dealt with a hand injury earlier this season, but he’s also been good when he’s played. He has a .296/.368/.449 triple slash and eight homers in 272 plate appearances. Reddick has hit as many as 32 homers in a season and hit 20 just last year, so he’s a definitely improvement in the lineup. He’s mainly played right field for his whole career, but as long as the Dodgers don’t move Yasiel Puig, Reddick probably slots in left field against lefties, at least until Andre Ethier is back.
These rentals did not come cheap, as the Dodgers parted ways with three of their top-15 prospects on MLB Pipeline. The headliner was no. 5 prospect Grant Holmes, who was drafted in the first round in 2014. Holmes was the 82nd ranked prospect in all of baseball. His stuff is undeniably quality, but there are concerns about his control. He’s still at High-A Rancho and has a 4.02 ERA in 20 games, so his ceiling is closer to a number three starter than a number one. He just turned 20 in March, so there’s obviously room for improvement.
Frankie Montas was acquired in the Todd Frazier/Jose Peraza/Trayce Thompson three team deal in the offseason and was the main piece coming back to LA. He would likely have gotten some burn this season as a starter or a reliever, but has had two different rib injuries and has only thrown 16 innings in the minors this year. In those 16 innings, he has 22 strikeouts and three walks. Dave Roberts recently stated that he could see Montas helping the Dodgers out of the bullpen in September, so now that seems unlikely. He was number eight on the Dodgers top-3 list.
The final piece to the trade was Jharel Cotton, who was the Dodgers’ 13th-best prospect on Pipeline. Cotton dominated Rancho and Tulsa last year with ERA’s of 1.61 and 2.30, respectively, but has struggled at AAA. He currently has a 4.90 ERA in 22 AAA appearances/16 starts, so he seemed more like organization depth than an arm to be relied on in the future.
Overall, this deal was an overpay, but just about every trade that’s been made this season has been an overpay. Montas, Holmes and Cotton are all good prospects, but neither of them are considered sure things and all could end up pitching out of the bullpen in the majors. Reddick and Hill help the Dodgers immediately, and if the Dodgers can re-sign one of them, it makes the prospect loss a lot more bearable. It’s an overpay, but it’s not enough of an overpay where I can really hate the deal. I preferred Reddick to Bruce from the getgo, and Hill gives the Dodgers a starter than can go deeper into games and provide extremely quality innings.
There’s still about two hours until the deadline, so the Dodgers might not be done. The Dodgers are a better team than they were an hour ago, and most of their prized prospects are still around for now.