By all indications the Los Angeles Dodgers will look to shore up a shaky bullpen prior to the July 31 trade deadline. Unlike year past, their only opportunity to do so will be limited to the end of the July.
Among a slew of changes that were rolled out this season and others that will be implemented in the future, MLB did away with August waiver trades. While it may have been with an intention to creating an exciting firm deadline, there appear to be unintended consequences.
Several teams have remained — or climbed back into — postseason contention. As a result, who the buyers and sellers are hasn’t quite taken shape.
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said the situation is unlike anything he’s seen before, and the club is making internal preparations to move in any direction if and when there’s more clarity on the trade market, via SportsNet LA
“For us, we’re able to be way more pointed and specific in what we’re looking for. That being said, this is probably the weirdest market I’ve ever been a part of. There’s 20 teams within five games of a playoff spot. I can’t remember anything ever like this, and it’s one of those things that so many teams are on the fence of if they’re going to buy or going to sell. We’re trying as hard as we can to be as prepared internally as we can, so that when things start flying — closer to the deadline is what I anticipate. Each day we expect there to be some separation, and each day it just gets muddier and muddier.
“At some point I think there will be some separation. It’s one of those things that, we are kind of at the disposal of the market and what’s available. It’s a tough thing culturally for another team that’s within striking distance of a playoff spot to trade one of their good players and look the other guys in the clubhouse in the eye.
“In the offseason it’s easier for teams to deal guys that are big parts of the team. The emotional part of it in season, when you’re living with them day to day, it’s harder. It’s one of those things, we’re just going to have to wait and see and react and be as aggressive as we can be without being stupid. And also plan for contingencies if something doesn’t line up.”
The Dodgers have been connected to a slew of left-handed relief pitchers thus far, most prominently Brad Hand, Will Smith and Felipe Vazquez. The Dodgers are also believed to have varying levels of interest in Sam Dyson, Reyes Moronta and Tony Watson.
However, the San Francisco Giants have suddenly put together a seven-game winning streak that has them at .500 and just two games out of the second spot in the National League Wild Card Game.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are five games out of the Wild Card picture and 7.5 back in the NL Central. Beyond still having a faint hope of reaching the postseason, their presumed high demands in a Vazquez trade may send the Dodgers looking elsewhere.
That also figures to apply to Hand and the Cleveland Indians, who are three games out of first place in the AL Central and in possession of the top Wild Card spot.
Thus, Friedman’s best opportunity to move forward with a trade that’s free of pressure from a possible postseason berth is with the Detroit Tigers. The Dodgers are among the teams with reported interest in All-Star closer Shane Greene.