As World Series contenders with a strong farm system to mine from, Los Angeles Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman is expected to once again be active before the July 31 MLB trade deadline.
Friedman’s deadline strategy has come into focus over previous years: he shoots for impact talent but refuses to gut the organization’s depth for a win-now play. He nonetheless has netted star rentals such as Yu Darvish in 2017 and Manny Machado last year.
Each helped the Dodgers to a National League pennant, but Friedman held onto players like Alex Verdugo, Walker Buehler and Gavin Lux. Verdugo and Buehler are now vital members of the Dodgers’ roster while Lux is currently excelling at Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Friedman has repeatedly referred to his approach as having a willingness to be aggressive but not to an extreme. This season, that will apply to address the Dodgers’ need for bullpen help while largely keeping their newest crop of top prospects intact.
Friedman expressed hope fans understand the strategy and an in agreement with it, according to Jorge Castillo of the L.A. Times:
“I think the best way to frame it is our mindset in previous Julys has been to be really aggressive,” Friedman said. “That continues to be our mindset. We’re just going to stop if it reaches the point of stupid. And I would hope that’s what our fans would want us to do.”
The Dodgers have been linked to nearly every reliever who is available, or possibly available, before July 31. That list includes All-Stars Shane Greene, Felipe Vazquez and Will Smith as well as Mychal Givens, Edwin Diaz and Amir Garrett, among others.
Additionally, the Dodgers are also reportedly interested in Diaz’s New York Mets teammate Noah Syndergaard, a talented, controllable starting pitcher who can fill a void beyond this season when Rich Hill and Cy Young Award candidate Hyun-Jin Ryu become free agents.
Yet, with so many teams still on the fence about buying or selling, Freidman and the Dodgers are preparing for one of the more peculiar trade markets in recent memory.
One of the biggest recent twists has been the recent surge of the San Francisco Giants, complicating a seemingly easy choice for former Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi on whether to trade star pitchers Smith, Tony Watson and Madison Bumgarner before the deadline.
Smith and Bumgarner are both free agents after the season, so this is the last chance Zaidi will have to get something in return before they likely walk away from the rebuilding Giants in the winter.