Like in previous seasons, Los Angeles Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman figures to upgrade the bullpen prior to the July 31 trade deadline. One change for the 2019 season is any deal(s) will need to be completed this month.
MLB did away with August waiver trades, and though there hasn’t yet been much activity, that should change over the next two weeks. As it specifically pertains to the Dodgers, Friedman has already said the club will be aggressive — but not reckless — as they pursue relief help.
Thus far the Dodgers have been linked to a slew of left-handers: Brad Hand, Will Smith, Tony Watson and Felipe Vazquez. L.A. is also said to have interest in Sam Dyson and Reyes Moronta, among others.
According to Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com, the Dodgers additionally have been scouting Kansas City Royals left-handed reliever Jake Diekman:
The Dodgers, who have a scout here at Kauffman Stadium, and the Nationals are known to be interested.
The 32-year-old isn’t exactly having a standout season for the rebuilding Royals, at 0-6 with a 4.97 ERA, 3.71 FIP and 1.37 WHIP in 44 games. However, Diekman boasts a fastball that sits in the upper-90s and a 46.5% ground ball rate.
He additionally is averaging 13 strikeouts per innings and a career-best 16.4% swinging-strike rate. Diekman’s profile as a prototypical Dodgers target is further enhanced by simple fact of being a southpaw.
With Tony Cingrani lost for the season after undergoing shoulder surgery, Scott Alexander still residing on the 10-day injured list and Caleb Ferguson unable to find any sort of consistency, it’s left Julio Urias as the lone left-handed option in the bullpen.
Furthermore, Urias has filled the role of a multi-inning reliever as opposed to being deployed as a lefty specialist. Diekman is holding left-handed batters to a .200/.357/.244 slash line and been equally as tough on righties at .208/.336/.375.
Diekman’s contract includes a $5.75 mutual option for the 2020 season and $500,000 buyout. A trade between the Dodgers and Royals would be the first since Alexander was shipped west as part of a three-team deal in January 2018.