It’s been three years since the Manny Machado trade. Just a statement, no harboring resentment whatsoever. While Manny has since left to sleep with the enemy, the Dodgers could stand to benefit from another LA-Orioles business dealing, since we can expect a horde of Orioles players to be available at the trade deadline.
Baltimore is likely selling, and LA should be very, very interested in buying.
Currently, the list of key but injured Dodgers players grows like a procrastinator’s grocery list: Corey Seager, AJ Pollock, Dustin May, and a field of beleaguered relief pitchers, which may seriously jeopardize LA’s World Series hopes in 2021.
The Orioles, who sit in last place in AL East, will be tossing out items left and right in their fire sale. LA has all the reason to look, but some are less viable trade options than others.
Oriole fan favorite Trey Mancini, for instance, just feels off-limits. Considering his odds-defying comeback from cancer and the heartwarming journey he’s had on the team, there just isn’t enough of a reason to send him out of Baltimore. Freddy Galvis has impressed with some career-best power numbers this season, and Baltimore signed him to a one-year contract that all but sets him up to be traded. As luck would have it, though, Galvis recently suffered a quad injury that leaves his future uncertain.
Those are just two of many quick-sell options on Baltimore’s roster. What about the other undervalued trinkets, knickknacks, and vintage antiques?
The Dodgers will continue to mine for shiny bullpen pieces and outfielders in the mix, but remember, not all that glimmers is gold.
Here are 3 Orioles players who the Dodgers should trade for at the deadline.
3. Cesar Valdez
LA won’t be getting a high-profile closer in Cesar Valdez if they strike a deal with the O’s, but the team will get a much-needed capable high-leverage reliever. Which they need. Badly.
In 2020 with the O’s, Valdez pitched to a phenomenal 1.26 ERA with 12 strikeouts over nine appearances (14.1 innings). His 2021 numbers are more cringeworthy. Valdez opened the year as Baltimore’s go-to closer and was dealing early on, but he’s recently seen lower-leverage work after getting knocked around pretty badly.
Valdez currently holds a 5.74 ERA and 78 ERA+ over 25 games, which marks a 78 ERA+. He’s barely holding on to a fringe role on a dead-last place team, so why should a championship contender even look at him?
Valdez’s stats show he should never have been that good in the first place. He’s a 36-year-old who throws one “dead fish” changeup and couldn’t dream of touching 90 miles per hour. Yes, his signature pitch is really called “The Dead Fish” and he throws it 76.6% of the time.
He’s obviously been unable to keep up the production in 2021, and who knows? “The Dead Fish” might be rotten. But his change-of-pace style could add a whole new element to LA’s bullpen. His weird pitch (yes, it’s weird) makes him a unicorn in the era of high velocity, a one-of-a-kind relief weapon who could be the unexpected answer to the Dodgers’ bullpen struggles. He’ll be cheap, so it could be worth a try. How many pitchers have the Dodgers fixed in the past? Valdez could benefit from a more defined role with a team that isn’t the worst in MLB.