Andrew Friedman has had some pretty big deadline deals since taking over control of the Dodgers’ front office. Now he looks for another strong trade deadline.
Ever since taking over the Dodgers’ front office after the end of the 2014 season, Andrew Friedman has not been shy to make big moves at the trade deadline. In fact, you can make the argument that Friedman is looking for his fourth straight stellar trade deadline after making big moves over the last four trade deadlines.
Even in his first season as the Dodgers’ President of Baseball Operations, Andrew swung a big deal to acquire Alex Wood from the Atlanta Braves. While Wood was never quite an ace, he had several solid to great seasons for the Dodgers. He was dominant in game four of the 2017 World Series and was one out shy of six no-hit innings.
Then there was the 2016, 2017, and 2018 MLB trade deadlines were Friedman swung deals for Rich Hill, Yu Darvish, and Manny Machado. While the Dodgers lost the last two World Series, the additions of Darvish and Machado both helped get the Dodgers to the final series. Darvish was the top pitcher available at the 2017 deadline, and Manny Machado was the best player dealt at last year’s deadline.
Rich Hill got off to a rough start in LA due to his blister issues, but he has become a very reliable starter for the Dodgers over the last few seasons and been their most consistent starter in the playoffs. It’s hard to find much fault in Andrew Friedman’s trade deadlines since coming over to the Dodgers’ front office.
This season, Friedman finds himself in a much less predictable situation. There are fewer teams open to selling due to the second wildcard spot, and then there is the fact that the rival Giants have a surplus of above-average to elite relievers. There is no obvious big move to make like the last two seasons, meaning Andrew Friedman may need to get a little more creative.
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With Will Smith now on the big league roster, the Dodgers appear willing to include former number one prospect, Keibert Ruiz in a deal for an elite pitcher. Even if they make Dustin May and Gavin Lux untouchable, the Dodgers farm system is loaded with plenty of prospects that could complete a deal for a Felipe Vazquez or Noah Syndergaard.
While the Dodgers need bullpen help, they have plenty of middle-tier relievers, meaning if the Dodgers are going to ship prospects out for a reliever, it needs to be an elite reliever. Friedman has made it clear the Dodgers are searching for elite bullpen arms, but there is definitely a shortage on dominant relievers.
Two of the biggest elite relievers that were supposed to be available may not be in Felipe Vazquez and Will Smith of the Giants. That could shift Friedman away from elite bullpen arms and into the under the radar type relievers he has traded for over the last few seasons. But first, Andrew will swing for the fences.
Whether Andrew Friedman takes a creative route to upgrade the bullpen like acquiring a starter to push Maeda to the bullpen, or if he simply trades for a reliever, the deadline is approaching with some teams still deciding whether to buy or sell. Friedman has not disappointed at the trade deadline yet, so 2019 shouldn’t be any different.