3 Dodgers in danger of losing playing time with the trade deadline approaching

Colorado Rockies v Los Angeles Dodgers
Colorado Rockies v Los Angeles Dodgers / Harry How/GettyImages

Despite avoiding being swept by the Pirates on Thursday, the Dodgers' biggest weaknesses were on full display throughout the series. On Tuesday, they couldn't hit Jared Jones' fastball; on Wednesday, they couldn't hit Paul Skenes' fastball; on Thursday, shoddy defense and a bad start for Walker Buehler threatened a sweep for Pittsburgh. In both games 1 and 2, problems hitting with RISP were painfully obvious.

And though the Dodgers took the series opener against the Yankees in the Bronx, it was an ugly 2-1 victory that didn't see them score until the 11th inning against New York's worst starter and a bit of a patchwork bullpen effort.

These are all problems that the Dodgers should look to right by the trade deadline. If they manage to get a few more sluggers (Luis Robert Jr. is on the table, guys!), it would inevitably mean pushing a few players from the roster or at least losing at-bats, and there are a few notable candidates who might already be on the chopping block.

3 Dodgers in danger of losing playing time with the trade deadline approaching

Kiké Hernández

Hernández was half of what Dave Roberts called the Dodgers' "worst defensive performance of the year" on Thursday night against the Pirates, when he made an error that eventually allowed Pittsburgh's first run of the night to score after a botched throw earlier in the inning from Mookie Betts. The Dodgers eventually went on to put up 11 runs to beat the Pirates and avoid a sweep, and Hernández even got in on the action with an RBI double in the fifth. But it also didn't help Hernández made another error on Friday night against the Yankees.

Fans were excited when Hernández re-signed with the Dodgers after a few seasons away in Boston, and while he's clearly still the same fun dugout/clubhouse presence, he hasn't been able to justify his new Dodgers tenure at the plate. A lot's already been said about the weakness of the bottom of the lineup and bench, and Hernández is no exception. He's hitting .200 with a .546 OPS through Thursday's game.

His error at second base was a rare one, as he's still an elite defensive player by most metrics, but it certainly wasn't a good look for a player whose future with the team could very well be in jeopardy if the Dodgers are big adders at the deadline. Hernández probably wouldn't be first to go (we'll get to those), but he could see his time on the field limited severely if some others are sent packing from LA.

Chris Taylor

Taylor has been a huge problem for the Dodgers this year. He's on year three of a four-year deal worth $60 million (with a club option worth $12 million for 2026), making $13 million this season. He certainly hasn't been playing like he's worth that much money, though. He hasn't even been streaky; he's just been bad. The Dodgers severely limited his playing time through April and May, when he hit an incredibly depressing .101 with a .308 OPS. He's also still looking for his first hit in June, so far going 0-10 without a single walk.

It's unlikely that another team would take him in a trade unless the Dodgers decided to give him the Aaron Hicks treatment and cover most of his salary just to get rid of him, but no one would blame the front office it they just released Taylor outright as his performance this season has warranted.

James Outman was sent down for hitting .147 on the season, and the team would do the exact same to Taylor if he still had minor league options and didn't have all of that money attached to him. Although it might sting a little, LA can clearly afford to eat the $13 million he's guaranteed for next season, and it's hard to understand what's kept him around for so long outside of sentimentality. The Dodgers should shop him to whoever might be willing to take him off their hands, or explore more drastic measures and cut him loose.

Gavin Lux

Lux has been another major problem child for the Dodgers, and his troublemaking started all the way back in spring training, so the team moved him to second while kicking Mookie Betts to short, a position he'd never played professionally before this season. It was hard to understand why the Dodgers were riding so hard for Lux after he missed a year recovering from a torn ACL, but it was a little easier to argue that they wanted to give him a real shot in the majors before sending him packing.

That argument doesn't hold much water now. Lux's defense at second has improved, but he's only batting .210 with a .554 OPS, which has truly sunk his trade value from where it was when he was a promising former No. 1 prospect.

Lux has been hitting marginally better than both Hernández and Taylor (.210), but it's still unlikely that he'd be any kind of major force in a trade. He's still young, has a higher ceiling, and two more years of team control before he becomes a free agent — all of which are appealing factors in a trade. He would probably have to be packaged up with at least one prospect to make anything work, but it could be well worth it.