With Los Angeles Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman looking to improve his club’s bullpen before the July 31 trade deadline, the focus of that has primarily linked the team to left-handed options.
Though, the Dodgers don’t appear to have limited themselves to only southpaws, as they have reported interest in Detroit Tigers All-Star Shane Greene and New York Mets closer Edwin Diaz, among other right-handers, as well.
Of course, nothing would preclude the Dodgers from potentially trading for both a right- and left-handed relief pitcher before 1 p.m. PT on July 31.
As they continue to scour the market and evaluate options, one may be Jake Diekman. The Kansas City Royals might be moving closer to a trade of the southpaw, and the Dodgers are said to be heavily involved, according to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com:
The Royals could be getting closer to trading Jake Diekman, according to a source. The Dodgers and Braves are believed to be two clubs showing serious interest in the lefty reliever.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) July 26, 2019
The Dodgers being involved isn’t much of a surprise, as they have been perceived to be in the lead from the beginning, per Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com:
Dodgers appeared to be the frontrunner from the start. Diekman still on the Phillies’ and Nationals’ radar as well, per source. https://t.co/UE6uF3Ih0b
— Jeffrey Flanagan (@FlannyMLB) July 26, 2019
A prior report this month indicated the Dodgers scouted Diekman, who is having a down year for the Royals. He’s 0-6 with a 4.75 ERA, 3.37 FIP and 1.34 WHIP in 48 games. However, Diekman boasts a fastball that sits in the upper-90s, 48.4% ground ball rate and proven nearly equally effective against right- and left-handed batters.
Furthermore, his 33.5% strikeout rate, 13.6 strikeouts per nine innings and 17.4% swinging-strike rate are all career-highs.
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 Scott Alexander was shipped west as part of a three-team deal in January 2018.
Coincidentally, it is Alexander’s inconsistency and nerve trouble in his thumb that could be factors in the Dodgers to trading for another Royals lefty reliever.