As the All-Star break and July 31 trade deadline quickly approach, it is becoming crystal clear what the Los Angeles Dodgers’ needs are.
The team has one of the best offenses in the league when evaluated by several metrics, and the same can be said for their starting pitching staff. The Dodgers bullpen, on the other hand, has been an issue.
Going into play on Tuesday, the unit sported a 4.42 ERA on the season, which ranks 18th in baseball. They have blown 10 saves, which is 21st.
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman is known to be extremely active at the deadline, and that will likely be the case this season again as the team searches for bullpen help.
One name to keep an eye on is Cleveland Indians closer Brad Hand as he again is someone the Dodgers reportedly have interest in, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today:
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) June 12, 2019
The Dodgers have been linked to Hand in the past as they showed interest in him in 2017 and 2018 before the San Diego Padres dealt the left-hander to the Indians last season.
It seemed the Padres had no interest in dealing him within the division at the time, so now could be the Dodgers’ chance if the 34-32 Indians decide to become sellers before the deadline.
In 30 games this season, Hand is 3-2 with a 0.91 ERA and 0.74 WHIP with 44 strikeouts and eight walks in 29.2 innings. He has converted all 19 of his save opportunities, establishing himself as one of the best relievers in all of baseball.
Because of that, it will not be cheap if the Dodgers are trying to acquire the 29-year-old. He is under club control through the 2020 season with a team option for 2021 as well at a very affordable rate after signing a three-year, $19.75 million contract before last season.
The Indians are very familiar with the Dodgers’ farm system after they discussed trades for Corey Kluber in the offseason, which could make them viable trade partners.
If the Dodgers were to acquire Hand, it would likely be as a set-up man for Kenley Jansen as he recently said he has no desire to relinquish the closing role.
Considering Los Angeles holds a 10-game lead in the National League West, they can afford to wait out the deadline and let the market develop in their search for relief help.