Dodgers: The 2019 Midseason Upgrade Could Come From Within
The Dodgers have dealt for elite talent at each of the last two non-waiver trade deadlines. Now with one deadline to worry about, it’s time to look at some prospects who could provide internal upgrades.
Andrew Friedman and the Dodgers’ front office have not been afraid to be bold at the trade deadline. In 2017, the club acquired the top pitcher available in Yu Darvish right before the buzzer went off on the non-waiver trade deadline. Last season it was Manny Machado, the top bat available who helped make up for the loss of Corey Seager to elbow surgery.
This year there will be only one trade deadline and that is the July 31st deadline. After that, there will be no other trades through waivers like in previous seasons. This season the Dodgers’ roster is once again loaded and if there are any midseason upgrades the team has several internal options who provide a boost at several positions.
Pitching-wise, the Dodgers have Tony Gonsolin and Dustin May who could help out in the rotation or out of the bullpen. The rotation has already been hit by injuries with Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler questionable to be ready by opening day. Hyun-Jin Ryu has been injury prone throughout his career but May and Gonsolin will be ready if needed.
LA’s bullpen was also upgraded this winter with the addition of Joe Kelly. The Dodgers have also experienced some hits to their bullpen with Tony Cingrani being shut down due to soreness in his throwing shoulder. If the bullpen needs a boost then the Dodgers could choose to get May or Gonsolin some big league experience out of the bullpen. Dave Roberts has already said he wouldn’t be surprised if Tony or Dustin helped out the club this season.
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Outside of pitching, the Dodgers have plenty of position players who could upgrade the team if Alex Verdugo and Austin Barnes struggle. At catcher, the Dodgers have Keibert Ruiz and Will Smith just about ready, with Smith being the closest to being big league ready. If July rolls around and Austin Barnes and Russell Martin aren’t cutting it at catcher, then Smith will likely be ready to try and take over the starting role.
In the outfield, the Dodgers have DJ Peters waiting in the wings. Despite being 6’4, Peters moves around like a gazelle in the outfield and has flashed above average speed. He won’t hit for average but Peters possesses massive power potential as Madison Bumgarner has already seen first hand. If he can cut down on his strikeout rate, Peters could get the call if Verdugo and Joc struggle to hold down left field.
The Dodgers still boast a top ten farm system in baseball despite seeing some of their best prospects graduate to the majors in recent seasons. Last year they saw Dennis Santana and Caleb Ferguson come out of nowhere and Ferguson is now one of the better lefties in the bullpen. This season the Dodgers are well stocked to boost their big league club from within if an upgrade is needed around the trade deadline.