As Los Angeles Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman awaits clarity and the market to take shape ahead of the July 31 trade deadline, the club continues to be linked to a slew of relief pitchers.
Friedman has remained consistent in his message the Dodgers will be aggressive in pursuing potential roster upgrades. It’s believed the focus will lie with improving what’s been an inconsistent bullpen.
However, Friedman has maintained the Dodgers will not act out of desperation or complete mortgage the future in a possible trade. Making matters all the more challenging is a clouded postseason picture.
That somewhat applies to the Texas Rangers, who are 14.5 games back of first place in the American League West but a much more manageable 6.5 games out of the Wild Card Game.
The Rangers nonetheless are receiving interest on multiple pitchers, and the Dodgers were among the teams to scout their game on Monday night, with José Leclerc and Chris Martin the potential targets, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News:
Over the weekend, scouts showed up to see Mike Minor pitch. Reports have circulated that guys like Hunter Pence and Danny Santana are drawing some interest. And Monday night a contingent of teams looking for relief help, such as Washington, Boston and the Los Angeles Dodgers had reps in Seattle. Chris Martin and a controllable Jose Leclerc are drawing interest.
While the Dodgers may have their sights on Leclerc or Martin, neither pitched in the Rangers’ 7-3 loss to the Seattle Mariners.
On the season, Leclerc is 1-2 with five saves, a 4.20 ERA, 3.44 FIP and 1.22 WHIP in 45 games this season. Struggles through April caused the Rangers to remove Leclerc from his role as the team’s closer.
Coming off a stellar 2018 campaign, he signed a four-year, $14.75 million contract extension this past March. Leclerc’s deal includes club options for the 2023 and 2024 seasons.
Martin is 0-2 with a 3.16 ERA, 4.06 FIP and 1.00 WHIP over 37 games in his second season with the Rangers. He signed a two-year contract with the Rangers in 2018, after spending two seasons pitching in Japan.
Martin is on track to become eligible for salary arbitration, and his velocity makes him the type of relief pitcher the Dodgers have targeted in the past. However, the right-hander has struggled with home runs, already having allowed eight in 37 innings pitched.