Will deep Dodgers make Deadline deal?

August 27th, 2020

At past Trade Deadlines, Dodgers executive Andrew Friedman has swung deals for the likes of marquee names Yu Darvish and Manny Machado. While you never know with Friedman, this Deadline is different because the Dodgers are so good and, as Freidman said, “so many teams are within squinting distance of a playoff spot.”

“We’re not looking around our team right now and saying, ‘We have an acute need at this position, let’s get the best one that we can,’” he said Sunday on SportsNet LA. “Our mindset is just to be around the backboard for things and to get a feel for what’s potentially moving and what the cost is. We don’t want to be closed off to the possibility of something that might really make sense for us.”

The Dodgers are loaded and even have players at their alternate training site who could make an impact this year (Tony Gonsolin, Gavin Lux, etc.).

An important wrinkle to this year’s Trade Deadline is that teams can only trade players who are part of their 60-man player pool (assigned either to the big league team or the alternate site). Clubs are permitted to include players to be named later in trades, however. Additionally, scouts have not been allowed to attend games in person, so all assessments of prospects have been done based on provided video and data and past knowledge.

Hold: With “sell” off the table for the best team in baseball, Friedman’s comments indicate they are a “hold” with an inclination to “buy,” but not an urgency.

That said, Friedman gets a charge from designing trades with the complexity of a Rubik’s Cube. He has engaged in some of the wildest salary dumps ever, but leading into the Mookie Betts extension, the Dodgers actually had been focused on ridding themselves of weighty contracts.

What they want: While the perception of the Dodgers’ starting rotation is deep and dominant, a check under the hood finds inexperience and inconsistency, which is not the normal formula for a World Series run. They might not miss David Price now, but in October? Hyun Jin Ryu, Kenta Maeda and Rich Hill are elsewhere. Dustin May, Gonsolin and Julio Urías are talents, but are they ready to win a ring? To get through three rounds of the postseason, the Dodgers will need more than Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler. Could they be tempted by offers for Lance Lynn or Mike Clevinger? Secondarily, while management loves the current catchers, a Yadier Molina or Salvador Perez might be the ticket.

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What they have to offer: It’s unlikely the Dodgers would mess with any of the current key members of the active roster. Even though the Betts addition created a surplus of outfielders with Joc Pederson, AJ Pollock and Chris Taylor jockeying for at-bats, the universal designated hitter rule was almost custom-made for the Dodgers. More likely, they could deal from their deep cache of prospects, as they’ve been astute knowing which youngsters to keep and which ones are expendable. Names like Dennis Santana, DJ Peters, and Andy Pages have always drawn interest.

Chance of a deal: 10 percent.

Maybe they pull off a Lynn or Clevinger deal because they are concerned about the rotation’s youth, or St. Louis decides to get what it can for pending free agent Molina.