On July 31st at 1pm, the MLB trade deadline will officially be upon all 30 MLB teams. This means that teams have until tomorrow to make a trade with another team to help prepare their team for the postseason. This year will be the first time since the creation of the trade deadline where teams will not be allowed to add players through a waiver. In years past, the trade deadline was always the last day of July, however, teams could still add players through waivers up until the end of August. This year the league has decided to get rid of the waiver deadline making tomorrow trade deadline the last time the teams can trade with each other. The LA Dodgers currently sit at 69-39, the best record in all of baseball and have clearly been the best team in the National League, however there is still one area that I feel the Dodgers improve on, and that is bullpen pitching.
Image: Dodgers celebrate after Will Smith’s walk off home run vs Rockies / Photo Credit: LATimes.com
Pitching has been, in my opinion has been the biggest issue for the team over the past two years, especially bullpen pitching. This year is no different. The Dodgers bullpen has been hit or miss this year, and players like Joe Kelly and Kenley Jansen have performed below expectations. Kelly has blown 4 saves this year while sporting career worsts in ERA, HR9 (home runs allowed per 9 innings and WAR, and while Jansen has consistently been picking up saves, he has done it with career highs in ERA and home runs per 9 innings allowed, while also having the worst WAR and RA9 (runs allowed per 9 innings).
Image: Dave Roberts coming to take Joe Kelly out of the game / Photo Credit: LA Times
The Dodgers are currently 9th in baseball in terms of bullpen ERA (4.12) but compared to the teams starters ERA (3.04), its not a great number. Especially once you get into the playoffs, the Dodgers need to have pitchers to shut the door and secure wins for the team after the starter goes (hopefully) 6 strong innings. Two candidates I believe would be best for the Dodgers would be Felipe Vazquez of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Shane Green of the Detroit Tigers.
Vazquez is currently enjoying the best season of his career with a 1.87 ERA across 35 innings pitched with 68 strikeouts to 11 walks and a staggering 14.1 SO9 (strikeouts per 9 innings). Vazquez has been a dominant for an average team, however bringing him onto the Dodgers would allow the team to have the option to attack both righties and lefties late in games without having to worry about matchups, plus I believe Vazquez and Jansen could become one of the better one two punches in all of baseball. As for Greene, he is also enjoying the best season of his career.
Image: Felipe Vazquez throwing a pitch / Photo Credit: Bucsdugout.com
Greene currently has a 1.11 ERA in 38 innings pitched with 43 strikeouts to 10 walks and an outstanding 404 ERA+ (100 is league average, 150 is all star level). Just like Vazquez, Greene would give the Dodgers the best one two punch in baseball to go along with Jansen, and could save games when Jansen needs a rest.
Image: Shane Greene throwing a pitch / Photo Credit: Blessyouboys.com
It’s hard to say whether the Dodgers will end up either player. Both players are still under contract for the rest of the year, however with Vazquez you would have him under control for the next 4 years whereas Greene is eligible for arbitration starting next season. Both pitchers would come at a heavy cost though. From what I have heard it will take at least two of the teams 4 top prospects along with probably one other piece to acquire either pitcher for the rest of the season. In years past, the Dodgers have been hesitant to move top prospects during the trade deadline, so there is no certainty that the Dodgers would be willing to part ways with their top young talent. Either way come tomorrow, we will see just how serious the Dodgers are about winning the 2019 World Series.
Who do you think the Dodgers should add before tomorrow’s deadline? Who would you like to see the team add? Comment below to let me know, and as always, thanks for reading!