With every exciting win the Los Angeles Dodgers pile up, their need for reinforcements in a few specific areas become all the more glaring.
This isn’t a middling contender in desperate need of reinforcements, or a dominant “regular season” team with a fatal flaw. It’s just the latest iteration of the star-laden Dodgers, but this year, they’re a little bit weaker in the bullpen and bench.
For as much guff as Kenley Jansen received in Los Angeles, Craig Kimbrel has been far more inefficient, often erratic, in his ninth innings. Typically, that wouldn’t be a massive issue, considering the Dodgers would have healthy setup men in Blake Treinen, Daniel Hudson and Tommy Kahnle waiting in the wings. Alas … all are down for the count.
The bench hasn’t exactly been a focus in recent years, either, and with Gavin Lux now entrenched as a starter and several of last year’s lefty mashers gone elsewhere (Albert Pujols, AJ Pollock), LA could use someone versatile with more pedigree than Hanser Alberto. Maybe it’s time to call the Rockies and kill two deadline needs with one stone?
The optics of an in-division Nolan Arenado trade would’ve been admittedly hideous, but those talks might mark the only time the Rockies were ever concerned with decorum. Otherwise, it’s been “optics be damned”. With that in mind, would they be open to cashing in two of their top trade chips in a single deal to the Dodgers, as long as Los Angeles could pay the NL West tax with their prospect package?
Can Dodgers add relief help, lefty-masher in trade with Rockies?
Treinen’s 2022 future is extremely up for grabs, Hudson’s season is over, and counting on Brusdar Graterol staying healthy has proven to be a fool’s errand. Sure, a starter will eventually move to the ‘pen and help out a bit, but Tyler Anderson certainly feels like a better fit in the rotation than in relief. This isn’t a luxury; it’s a genuine need.
Maybe the Dodgers are lucky Daniel Bard didn’t get a chance to strut his stuff in LA at the All-Star Game last weekend, because that might’ve kept his price down slightly. Bard has rebounded from his 2021 backslide to look even better than his comeback season, converting 20 saves and allowing just 18 hits in 35.2 innings.
In need of an Alberto upgrade, too, the Dodgers would be wise to look Jose Iglesias’ way. No stranger to playoff runs, Iglesias helped power the 2021 Red Sox as they raced towards the postseason (though he was acquired too late to make the playoff roster). Still, his .356 average in 23 games stood out, which he’s parlayed into a near-All-Star first half in Colorado.
Iglesias is an obvious defensive upgrade over Alberto in spot starts, but he’s crucially hitting .308 with an .813 OPS against left-handers in 2022, an improvement on his .298 mark with a .712 OPS against righties.
Either Iglesias or Bard would make fantastic additions to the 2022 Dodgers, but with bullpen a far higher priority right now, maybe Andrew Friedman can just sweeten the Bard pot by adding another helpful piece. He just needs to make sure he finalizes the acquisition earlier than Boston’s Chaim Bloom did last season.