2022 Dodgers Trade Deadline Primer: David Bednar, David Robertson & More Potential Bullpen Targets

On the doorstep of the 2022 MLB trade deadline, the Los Angeles Dodgers remain connected to a multitude of scenarios. Their focus appears to be on a potential Juan Soto trade with the Washington Nationals, and reportedly trying to initiate talks with the Los Angeles Angels for Shohei Ohtani.

However, the Dodgers could stand to benefit from addressing their pitching staff at the deadline. Walker Buehler, Dustin May, Blake Treinen, Brusdar Graterol, Danny Duffy and Victor González are all expected to return at some point this season, but there aren’t guarantees with some.

The Dodgers did make a move over the weekend to shore up the bullpen by acquiring Chris Martin from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for Zach McKinstry.

Dodgers trade deadline targets


In the bullpen, the Dodgers are likely set with Craig Kimbrel as their closer, despite inconsistency and ongoing struggles. Plus, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman has a strong dislike of trading for relievers at the deadline.

The Dodgers have dealt with a rash of injuries, so adding a setup man does seem like something they will explore. But if Graterol, Treinen, Duffy and González return from their IL stints, or even just two to three of them, that does give L.A. a more than capable bullpen that already includes Evan Phillips and Yency Almonte, who have each blossomed into dependable high-leverage arms.

One or two of their starting pitchers who don’t make the playoff rotation could also find their way into the bullpen, which further deepens what might become a crowded group.

Particularly after adding Martin, it’s more likely they go after another solid middle-relief type than an impact arm, but there are high-leverage options.

David Bednar, Pirates

David Bednar might be the best reliever available but he isn’t a free agent until 2027, so it’s no guarantee the Pittsburgh Pirates move him.

Considering both of those reasons, he’s also the most expensive bullpen arm on this list, so that alone makes it unlikely Friedman will target him. But with Kimbrel set to reach free agency after the season, Bednar would provide a cheap alternative to take over as the Dodgers’ closer while filling a shutdown eighth inning role for now.

Gregory Soto, Joe Jiménez and Michael Fulmer, Tigers

The Tigers’ entire bullpen will be available, but these are the three who stick out. Gregory Soto was named to the All-Star Game this season and would give the Dodgers the best southpaw reliever they’ve had in years.

But he is under team control until 2026, so the cost may sway them away from him.

Joe Jiménez has developed into a quality setup man with a high strikeout rate and a low walk rate, and with the Dodgers’ defense and run prevention, he could really break out with them.

Jiménez is under control until 2024 so the return wouldn’t be cheap, but he might be the most affordable pitcher available with elite potential.

Michael Fulmer is a former starting pitcher who dealt with injuries and has since settled in nicely as a high-leverage option for the Tigers. He is a free agent after the season, and lacks elite strikeout numbers with a high walk rate, which should keep his cost down.

Joe Mantiply, Diamondbacks

Joe Mantiply was named to his first career All-Star selection this season and he isn’t a free agent until 2027, but he’s 31 and has a history as a journeyman reliever. The Arizona Diamondbacks would be smart to sell high on the southpaw, but his age and lack of elite stuff should limit his value.

Scott Barlow and Josh Staumont, Royals

Scott Barlow has been phenomenal for the Kansas City Royals this season with a sub-two ERA in nearly 50 innings, but his FIP and expected ERA suggest he is due for a good amount of regression.

Still, Barlow would be a solid option in the middle of the bullpen and he will be a free agent in 2025, so the Royals may just be looking to get the best deal they can in a sell-high move.

While Josh Staumont hasn’t been at his best this season, he’s coming off two consecutive years with a sub-three ERA. He also has elite stuff with a triple-digits fastball and posts high strikeout numbers because of it, but this season he has had a lot of trouble with his control, walking more than six batters per nine innings.

He isn’t a free agent until 2026 so the Royals may look for him to rebuild his value.

Jorge López, Baltimore Orioles

Jorge López has been the most surprising piece on the most surprising team in baseball. After years of being a bad starter, he has developed into an All-Star reliever with a sub-two ERA, high strikeout rate and low walk rate.

López is a free agent in 2025 and the Baltimore Orioles have pushed their way into contention. But if their management feels either the hot streak or López has been a fluke, they could decide to sell and López would be intriguing to many teams.

David Robertson, Cubs

David Robertson has had a strong year and as a free agent after the season, he is the most likely reliever to be traded, along with Fulmer, on this list. He will draw interest from teams that need a closer which may push him out of the Dodgers’ price range, but he would be a strong option to use in the eighth inning and fill the Daniel Hudson role.

Middle relief and specialist options

Sam Moll and Lou Trivino (A’s), John Schreiber and Jake Diekman (Boston Red Sox), Mark Melancon (Diamondbacks), Kyle Finnegan and Tanner Rainey (Washington Nationals), Anthony Bass and Dylan Floro (Miami Marlins), Amir Garrett (Royals), Matt Moore, Brock Burke and Joe Barlow (Rangers), Andrew Chafin (Tigers), Alex Colomé (Rockies), Steve Cishek (Nationals), Ian Kennedy (Diamondbacks).

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