2 trade deadline moves Dodgers should already be eyeing, 1 they must avoid

San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles Dodgers / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

After a full month of games, the Dodgers are still comfortably sitting at the top of the NL West and are one of only three teams with 20+ wins in the NL, but their shakiness throughout April wasn't exactly what fans were expecting. The pitching hasn't been as dominant as anyone anticipated, and neither has the bottom of the lineup, who sometimes seem to be up to bat just to give opposing pitchers are free set of outs.

The Dodgers are by no means bad, but improvements definitely need to be made. The trade deadline, always filled with a flurry of movement and very much a turning point of every season, isn't until July 30 this year, but there are still some moves that the Dodgers should be considering over the next two months (subscription required). There are also a few buzzing moves they should aim to stay far away from.

2 trade deadline moves Dodgers should already be eyeing

Acquiring bullpen upgrades

The bullpen has been the thorn in the Dodgers' side to start the season. Not only do pitchers keep getting hurt, but the ones who have stayed healthy haven't been living up to expectations (aside from Evan Phillips, who can do no wrong), and the team hasn't been satisfied with the replacements they've been bringing up from Triple-A.

While a complete overhaul of the relief corps seems unlikely and unnecessary, some upgrades seem inevitable and needed. It might be time for the Dodgers to let go of Michael Grove, who has a 6.50 ERA over 18 innings so far this season and has never really been able to find a good rhythm in the majors, and Ryan Yarbrough, who's certainly been a trooper as the Dodgers' de facto fifth starter, but could probably be improved upon.

Something has to give with the Dodgers bullpen. With five relievers currently on the IL and improvements to be made with the active group. Mark Prior might have to work overtime with the fixer uppers the Dodgers usually gravitate to, but the bullpen needs life breathed into it somehow.

Trading for pitching prospects

The Dodgers' farm system is inarguably one of the top 10 in baseball. They've ushered James Outman, Bobby Miller, Andy Pages, Gavin Stone, Michael Grove, and so on into the majors as regulars over the past few seasons (though to varying degrees of success), with more on the verge. They also developed Michael Busch and Ryan Pepiot, who are both, tragically, killing it with their new teams after offseason trades.

MLB Pipeline lists 12 pitching prospects in the Dodgers' top 30, including four who were plausibly ready to come up to the majors by the beginning of the season. However, Nick Frasso (No. 2 prospect), River Ryan (No. 5), and Kyle Hurt (No. 6) have all already gone down with injury — Hurt after pitching nearly six innings in LA. Landon Knack made his MLB debut on April 17 and made two more starts before getting sent back down. The other eight pitchers in that top 30 are still pretty far from the majors.

LA has been reaching into its Triple-A team for replacement arms, mostly for the bullpen, a lot already this season, and they seem either unsatisfied or indecisive about how they've done, because said pitchers keep getting sent back down to the minors. Although it's a trend that should that they need to buck, picking up a few more major league-ready, decently-ranked prospects (especially lefties) would help both if they persist in cycling out pitchers this year and in fortifying their depth overall.

Top position player prospects could fetch a nice return for the Dodgers, who have at least catcher, DH, first base, and wherever Mookie Betts is playing in a given season locked up for anywhere from 3-10 years. Perhaps the Dodgers can attach a prospect like Diego Cartaya to a burdensome contract like Chris Taylor, then use their scouting know-how to plunder someone else's system for a heretofore unknown pitcher (River Ryan for Matt Beaty, anyone?).

1 trade deadline move Dodgers must avoid

Losing out on Willy Adames (again)/not upgrading the middle infield

Okay, we may be cheating on this one a bit, because it's not so much an active move the Dodgers shouldn't make, but LA cannot afford to be satisfied or complacent with their placements of Betts at shortstop and Gavin Lux at second. They've been vocally supportive of Betts as their shortstop (Dave Roberts gave him a B+) since they had to make the switch to pick up for Lux's shortcomings, but it's still not an ideal long-term solution.

More than that, Lux is batting .182 with a .449 OPS, the second-lowest batting average in the Dodgers' everyday lineup and the lowest OPS (third and second if you count Chris Taylor, who took over from Jason Heyward). He's not exactly helping the Dodgers make a case for him as a great trade candidate (though his defense at second has improved), and they'd probably have to package him up with a prospect or two, but the Dodgers should close the book on the Lux experiment.

Adames has been a coveted trade candidate for the Dodgers since the trade deadline last year, and they were rumored to be heavily interested again this offseason. The Brewers are cruising at the top of the NL Central so far, so Adames might not be an option once again, but they should still be searching for a shortstop with a better bat that will send Betts back to second.

Banking everything on Adames hitting the market, then not backfilling with a viable alternative/sticking with Lux when the Brewers hold onto him, would be a huge mistake.