Dodgers Should Seek Quality Over Quantity at the Trade Deadline
Over the last few seasons, the Dodgers have traded for multiple relievers before the trade deadline. This season, the Dodgers must choose quality over quantity.
Andrew Friedman has swung for the big fish at each of the last two trade deadlines. In 2017 he acquired the top starting pitcher available in Yu Darvish. Yes, Justin Verlander ended up being the biggest difference maker, but at the deadline the top target was Darvish. Then last season, Friedman swung a deal for the best available hitter in Manny Machado.
This season, the Dodgers’ leading front office guru will need to swing a deal for another top talent. This time talent is needed in the bullpen. The Dodgers have solid relievers like Dylan Floro and Pedro Baez, but they need that one dominant reliever for the eighth inning. A legit setup man that will allow Kenley Jansen to focus solely on the ninth inning of playoff games.
While the trade market is still developing as teams raise the white flag on their 2019 season, the current ace reliever that seems to be available is Brad Hand. The Indians’ closer would be the perfect elite setup option that the Dodgers need to ease up on Jansen’s workload in the postseason and cure the bullpen problems in the regular season.
Other above-average options that figure to be on the trade block are Shane Greene of the Tigers and Ken Giles of the Blue Jays. Giles is currently on the injured list but he figures to return well ahead of the trade deadline. There is also Felipe Vazquez of the Pirates but Pittsburgh may not sell in the dog fight that is shaping up in the NL Central.
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This deadline the Dodgers need to aim for quality over quantity. Each of the past two seasons Andrew Friedman has acquired two solid relievers but none that are elite. In 2018 he acquired Dylan Floro and John Axford during the season. In 2017, it was Tony Watson and Tony Cingrani that were acquired before the non-waiver trade deadline. This season there is just one deadline, on July 31st.
Once the sellers are determined in the trade market, Andrew Friedman needs to go land a “whale” for the Dodgers’ bullpen. A whale is a term I like to use for a top tier player. Rather than going the quantity route, all the bullpen really needs this season is that elite setup man to shift Floro and Baez into the earlier innings where they would turn into elite options.
If the Dodgers plan on finally getting over their World Series hurdle, Friedman needs to acquire an upper echelon reliever. It’s time for the blue to pursue quality over quantity in the reliever trade market.