Dodgers Must Go Big or Go Home at the Trade Deadline

DETROIT, MI - JUNE 4: Justin Wilson
DETROIT, MI - JUNE 4: Justin Wilson /

The Dodgers are nearing the 2017 non-waiver trade deadline, and like most seasons they could bolster their squad, but there are no glaring needs. In recent years, the Dodgers have netted Rich Hill and Alex Wood, but there haven’t been any blockbuster deadline acquisitions since Manny Ramirez.

It was reported last week by Foxsports, that the Dodgers had a scout watching the Tigers. The Tigers have Justin Wilson, who is a good left-handed reliever and currently serving as their closer. They also have Justin Verlander, but his contract is over $28 million in each of the next two seasons. Acquiring a 34-year-old pitcher with that much salary commitment yet to come would not be the wisest trade the Dodgers could make.

The Dodgers tend to make small upgrades at the trade deadline and haven’t had a major impact trade in years. In fact, you could make the case that their last major non-waiver deadline deal was all the way back in 2008 when they swung a deal for Manny Ramirez. If the Dodgers are going to make a move this year, they need to go big or not make one at all.

As mentioned earlier, they have been linked to lefty reliever Justin Wilson, but a left-handed reliever is not a big need anymore since Luis Avilan and Grant Dayton have turned their seasons around.

Opposing left-handed hitters are only hitting .135 off Dayton and .209 against Avilan. They also still have Liberatore, who was impressive last season and is working his way back from injury. So the depth is there for shutdown lefty relievers.

It wouldn’t make sense to part with prospects to acquire Wilson since he would only be an incremental upgrade to the bullpen and allows a higher average to lefties than Avilan and Dayton.

In the starting pitching market the biggest fish on the block figure to be Yu Darvish and Chris Archer. While neither is having their best seasons, they both have electric stuff that would play up in the postseason where power arms tend to dominate.

Darvish or Archer could slot into the number two spot in the playoff rotation and break up the string of lefties in Clayton Kershaw, Alex Wood, and Rich Hill. Sonny Gray and Gerrit Cole have also been subject to rumors, but both have been on the downside of their young careers and have ERAs over four.

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Just as the Dodgers shouldn’t bother with small upgrades, they also shouldn’t  with pitchers that are reclamation projects like Cole and Gray either. They would be an ideal acquisition for an up and coming team in need of pitching but for the Dodgers, who are World Series or bust, it’s time to chase the big fish.

The only type of player LA should part with top prospects for is a number two starter that could give Kershaw the backup support he needs in the playoffs and also push Alex Wood down to the third spot in the playoff rotation which would give the Dodgers a significant advantage.

The Dodgers’ pitching rotation has plenty of solid pitchers. They have more than five quality major league starters and even have some guys in the minors that should be above-average in the big leagues.

Adding a middle-tier pitcher like Ervin Santana, J.A. Happ, or Dan Straily would just give the Dodgers another depth arm. They don’t need that; they need to get an impact arm that could put them over the top in October. Otherwise, they are better off sticking with their surplus of quality pitchers.

On the trade market for bats, the biggest name to be traded will likely be JD Martinez. While Martinez is a good power hitter, the Dodgers do not need him.

Puig is having one of his better seasons, Joc is coming back to life offensively, and Chris Taylor continues to impress in left field.  Sure Los Angeles could use a power bat like Martinez, but for the price, it would likely cost to obtain the two-month rental, the Dodgers are better off sticking with their current lineup. They have done a very nice job of sticking to the master plan of building a solid team for the present and the future.

Next: How dominant has Alex Wood been?

With less than a month to go until the trade deadline, the Dodgers are widening their gap in the National League West. With their eyes on the prize come October, the time is now for the Dodgers to swing a big trade to acquire another ace-like pitcher to shoulder the load in the playoffs.

Should they not be able to land a big fish, LA needs to stay put and stick with their current team. It’s not worth the prospects to add minor pieces at te deadline.