What kind of year is it if Los Angeles Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman doesn’t do business with the Tampa Bay Rays — his former employer?
It seems like clockwork these two sides work out trades annually, with the latest coming on Monday when the Dodgers shipped reliever Garrett Cleavinger to Tampa in exchange for rookie-ball outfielder German Tapia.
It’s neither a loss (Cleavinger appeared in four games this year and wasn’t great) or a gain (Tapia is an unknown 18-year-old talent) for the Dodgers, but what this deal did do is clear a spot on LA’s 40-man roster, which needs to be filled.
So what’ll it be? A blockbuster trade for Juan Soto that sees someone (or multiple players) on the 26-man roster go? Or perhaps will this lead to a Dustin May/Ryan Pepiot/Miguel Vargas/someone else call-up while somebody else (Phil Bickford? James Outman? Caleb Ferguson?) gets optioned?
The calm before the storm!! We’ve got just over 24 hours before the trade deadline ends and the Dodgers likely have more than one move up their sleeve.
Dodgers-Rays Garrett Cleavinger trade opening door for … what?
The Padres traded for Brewers closer Josh Hader on Monday and it’s suspected the Giants might sell off some assets that could bolster other NL contenders. Though the Pads/Hader move could benefit the Dodgers in more ways than one, fans can’t do view San Diego as anything other than a threat in the trade deadline arms race.
Among the obvious trade candidates are Soto, A’s pitcher Frankie Montas, Reds’ infielder Brandon Drury, Royals utility man Whit Merrifield, Cubs’ outfielder and relievers David Robertson/Mychal Givens, among others. Friedman is good for a surprise or two before the buzzer sounds, though, so there are likely more we’re not privy to.
As for promotion options, May is on a rehab assignment at Triple-A OKC and knocking on the MLB door after his season-ending elbow injury suffered last May. Pepiot has seen four starts with the Dodgers this year and could be used to lengthen the bullpen. Vargas continues to send missiles into orbit at Triple-A and could come up to play some third base and left field — two positions the Dodgers could use some assistance. Edwin Rios is on a rehab assignment, too, don’t forget!
As per other updates, Blake Treinen’s return is further off than many anticipated (won’t affect the deadline) and Brusdar Graterol just began throwing again after hitting the IL with a shoulder issue (his status also won’t affect the corresponding deadline moves).
There are a ton of scenarios in play, but one thing we do know is the Dodgers, despite sporting the best record in the NL, need to get better. The rotation and bullpen, both dealing with injuries, are incomplete at the moment. Meanwhile, the lineup/bench continues to see lackluster performances from some of the same names.
The Cleavinger trade, though largely meaningless, leaves the Dodgers room to improve in one of those areas. Clock’s tickin’.