The Los Angeles Dodgers will head into the All-Star Break near the top of the MLB standings, overcoming a myriad of injuries to remain a World Series contender. But if this team wants to defend its title, something needs to happen before the MLB trade deadline.
Pitching is the most obvious need for the Dodgers. They lost Dustin May to Tommy John surgery, Clayton Kershaw just hit the injured list and Trevor Bauer is under investigation for alarming accusations. Once one of this club’s greatest strengths, reinforcements are needed for the second half of the season.
Let’s examine three trades that would help the Dodgers win the NL West and potentially repeat as World Series champions.
Richard Rodriguez traded to Los Angeles Dodgers
Los Angeles is always willing to upgrade its bullpen during the season. With a wealth of prospects, fueled by one of the deepest farm systems in MLB, the Dodgers can afford to go after anyone. Craig Kimbrel could be an option, but there are more cost-effective alternatives. For a team looking for an outstanding set-up man and a potential long-term closer, Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Richard Rodriguez becomes the target.
- Los Angeles Dodgers trade: C Diego Cartaya (LAD’s No. 6 prospect), OF DJ Peters (LAD’s No 19 prospect)
- Pittsburgh Pirates trade: Richard Rodriguez
Rodriguez, who is arbitration-eligible through the 2023 season, would be an ideal addition to the Dodgers’ bullpen. The 31-year-old looks dominant once again, entering the ASB with a 2.36 ERA, .185 batting average allowed and 0.76 WHIP. He would serve as the bridge to Kenley Jansen this season and could then compete with Brusdar Graterol for the closer’s role next season.
As for the cost, it’s easy for Los Angeles to justify. The presence of Will Smith and Keibert Ruiz, Dodgers’ No. 1 prospect, makes Cartaya expendable. Peters is only depth at this point for the Dodgers, but could see regular playing time for Pittsburgh moving forward.
Danny Duffy fills multiple roles
Between all of the absences, the Dodgers must find pitchers who can cover multiple innings. For an organization that loves versatility, a veteran arm who can function in a variety of roles is even more valuable. That’s what should make Danny Duffy a trade candidate for the Dodgers.
- Los Angeles Dodgers receive: Danny Duffy
- Kansas City Royals receive: Gerardo Carrillo (LAD’s No. 17 prospect)
Duffy, a half-season rental, can thrive out of the bullpen or as a back-end starter. The 32-year-old has been outstanding this season for Kansas City, posting a 2.53 ERA and 26.1% strikeout rate across 57 innings. He is more than capable of covering six innings.
There’s also added value with Duffy. Dave Roberts, when a few starters return, can move the southpaw into the bullpen to operate in a multi-inning role. Kansas City recently deployed Duffy out of the bullpen as he returned from injury and it’s a role he held in 2016. Whatever Los Angeles needs, Duffy can provide.
Los Angeles Dodgers acquire Michael Pineda
In a perfect world, Los Angeles could go out and find a front-line starter. It’s possible José Berríos could be an option, but there are teams more desperate for a pitcher of that caliber. Meanwhile, Max Scherzer is staying with the Washington Nationals and the Colorado Rockies won’t trade German Marquez within the division.
There’s plenty to like about Michael Pineda, who is owed approximately $5 million in the remaining months of his contract. Minnesota’s 6-foot-7 righty ranks in the 91st percentile for chase rate, 84th percentile for walk rate and holds a 29% CSW rate this season.
- Los Angeles Dodgers trade: IF Sheldon Neuse (LAD’s No. 18 prospect), RHP Jimmy Lewis (LAD’s No. 26 prospect)
- Minnesota Twins trade: Michael Pineda, $1 million cash considerations
Before a rough start against the Chicago White Sox, Pineda held a 3.70 ERA and routinely looked sharp through five innings of nearly every outing. We’ve also seen flashes of dominance from him before, captured by a 2.22 FIP and 3.40 ERA last season. Quality coaching and a competitive environment can make him a strong No. 4 starter.