What will Dodgers’ rivals do at this year’s trade deadline?
Fans are well aware what the Los Angeles Dodgers will be doing come Aug. 2. They’ll be buying some top-tier talent to address a few areas of need and further make a World Series push … but likely nothing too crazy.
But what about LA’s direct competitors? Namely, the ones residing in the NL West? The Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies will no doubt look to sell a bit to help their outlook for 2023 and beyond. The D-backs could unload guys like David Peralta and Merrill Kelly to contenders seeking depth, while the Rockies might consider moving relievers Scott Oberg and Daniel Bard for a premium to those in need of bullpen help.
But what about the San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants? Both cases don’t seem as cut and dried as you might think.
The Pads will be buying … but they have financial restrictions, as ownership possesses a desire not to exceed the $230 million tax threshold. That means they’ll be looking to add in a strategic manner by both shedding salary and upgrading where they deem fit.
And the Giants? Well, they could buy, but this isn’t the 107-win team from last year. Far from it, in fact. President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi will have to do some serious thinking on whether it’s worth it for the Giants to shed assets in the name of grabbing an NL Wild Card spot (they’re two games out, as of this writing).
Perhaps most importantly, though: how will all of these situations affect the Dodgers over the next three weeks?
How will Dodgers’ rivals’ actions at trade deadline affect Los Angeles?
Let’s start with the easier ones in Arizona and Colorado. Their selling will undoubtedly affect the Dodgers, especially if it’s to another NL rival outside of the division. Right now, the NL playoff race features the Dodgers, New York Mets, Milwaukee Brewers, Atlanta Braves, Padres, St. Louis Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies. Any of those teams getting stronger with pitching/offense can and will make the postseason that much more difficult. On the surface, it’s self-explanatory.
As for a buyer like the Padres, potential sellers such as the Pirates, Cubs, Reds, Nationals, Athletics, Royals, Tigers and Angels (with more possibly joining, depending on how the next few weeks shake out) could give them the bandwidth they need to upgrade within their restraints.
With San Diego looking to potentially move on from Eric Hosmer, Wil Myers and Blake Snell — all of whom have been mentioned in trade rumors regarding salary dumps within the last six months — that gives them plenty of suitors to sift through, as well as potential financial room to work with, assuming there’s a market for one or more of those veterans (there will be).
All we’re saying? A couple of sleepless nights for AJ Preller could really improve the Padres. They’ll forever be the Dodgers’ little brother, but it’ll be hard to sleep on them if they get deeper.
And finally, the Giants. The Dodgers should probably be more worried about them selling than buying because they possess two key chips in pitcher Carlos Rodón and Joc Pederson, both of whom can hit free agency after the season. It’ll honestly be difficult for San Fran to buy because … who will they displace outside of Thairo Estrada? Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, Evan Longoria, Alex Wood and Alex Cobb are chewing up payroll — not going anywhere.
Their pitching is bad (3.97 ERA, 17th in MLB, and 1.27 WHIP, 19th in MLB) and their hitting has been mediocre (.235 average, 23rd in MLB, and .713 OPS, 14th in MLB). They’d have to conduct a fairly large overhaul or hope for a serious turnaround in the second half.
As a result, the Dodgers should be more worried about them trading a guy like Pederson or Rodón to another NL team. The Phillies, Mets and Cardinals sure could use some of that help, and definitely have the financial flexibility to do so (as well as the necessary assets to part with). SF should be viewed as a direct threat to improve the playoff field and make it more difficult for the Dodgers.
In the end, as long as the Dodgers worry about themselves, they should be fine. But it wouldn’t hurt to keep an eye out elsewhere as the next few weeks transpire.