Unlike recent seasons where they struck blockbuster deals for All-Stars Yu Darvish and Manny Machado, the Los Angeles Dodgers made more headlines at this year’s MLB trade deadline for what they did not do.
The team did not acquire an impact relief pitcher despite a shaky bullpen and a reported interest in marquee options such as Felipe Vazquez, Edwin Diaz and Will Smith.
After the deadline passed, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman defended his decision to not overpay for a big-name reliever, pointing out that many remained with their current teams anyhow.
Kenley Jansen also endorsed Friedman’s reluctance to swing a big trade, saying the lack of moves showed a vote of confidence in the ability of the current Dodgers bullpen.
Friedman himself echoed that in not only in the team’s bullpen but also in the talent of pitchers throughout the Dodgers organization, via Bill Plaschke of the L.A. Times:
“As we spend time kind of laying out what the prospective bullpen looks like in October, we feel good about the talent we have in-house. Now it’s all about synching it up and putting together the unit in a way that is a real asset for us,” Friedman said. “Now we’ve got to figure out the right combination of guys and we’ve got two months and lot of really talented arms.”
The Dodgers did make a last-second trade with the Tampa Bay Rays, Friedman’s former team, for left-handed reliever Adam Kolarek to help address their most gaping roster hole.
Additionally, the Dodgers have already begun the process of evaluating other pitchers in the organization to see who can contribute in the postseason. Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin, the team’s top two pitching prospects, both received starts during the current homestand.
May was generally solid in his MLB debut against the San Diego Padres, allowing four runs (three earned) in 5.2 innings. He followed that up with a stronger showing against the St. Louis Cardinals, and is due to receive at least one more start.
Gonsolin threw six shutout innings against the Cardinals in his best MLB outing yet. He also allowed just one run in a four-inning save against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on July 30.
However, Gonsolin was optioned back to Triple-A Oklahoma City so the Dodgers could add Caleb Ferguson to their bullpen. Though, he figures to get another chance as either a starter or reliever in the big leagues before long.