Do the Dodgers really need to make a move?

It has begun.

Early Thursday morning, just two days after the 2017 All-Star Game and a full two and a half weeks before the July 31 trade deadline, the AL Central last place Southsiders and the sub-500 NL Central second place Northsiders have officially kicked off what figures to be a very active trading season with a rather significant first salvo.

The White Sox, who are obviously sellers, sent  28-year-old left-hander José Quintana across town in exchange for a boatload of Cubs prospects that includes outfielder Eloy Jiménez, right-hander Dylan Cease, first baseman Matt Rose and infielder Bryant Flete. The hope, of course, is that Quintana, a six-year MLB veteran, can help the Cubs get out of their current World Series hangover funk and get back into the race and that the White Sox have taken the first step of what figures to be full-blown rebuild of their free-falling franchise.

Although it has long been proven that ‘the early bird gets the worm’ when it comes to making some of the biggest trades, it brings to light the question burning in the minds of nearly every Dodger fan on the planet – Do the Dodgers really need to make a move on or before the non-waiver or even the waiver trade deadlines?

Two of the more popular names being tossed around as potential Dodgers blue chip trade pieces are second baseman Willie Calhoun and outfielder Alex Verdugo, both of whom are very near to being MLB-ready.
(Photo credit – Ron Cervenka)

It is a well know fact that in addition to owning the best record in all of baseball (61-26), the Dodgers also own what is arguably the best (and deepest) farm system in all of baseball. As such and with the potential record-setting pace that they are on, the popular and timeless cliché comes to mind: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” That being said, at the halfway mark of the 2017 season, the Dodgers still do not have what can legitimately be called a five-man starting rotation, and they haven’t all season.

There is no arguing that All-Star left-handers Clayton Kershaw and Alex Wood have a solid grip on the number one and number two spots respectively, and that fellow left-hander Rich Hill at least a decent blister-free grasp of the number three spot. But after that, it’s anyone’s guess as to who the number four and five starters are from among right-handers Kenta Maeda and Brandon McCarthy and left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu, all of whom have had health concerns and leave Dodger fans with a less-than-warm feeling whenever they take the mound.

As for that depth thing, the Dodgers also have right-handers Ross Stripling and Brock Stewart currently (at least as of this moment) in their bullpen, both of whom are actually starting pitchers. However, the Dodgers have only right-hander Pedro Baez as their only real bridge to closer Kenley Jansen, something that Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and general manager Farhan Zaidi are very well aware of. Yes, you can argue that a healthy Chris Hatcher and a healthy Adam Liberatore could effectively fill this role, but neither are healthy and both may very well remain on the disabled list for the remainder of the season.

The problem with needing an effect set-up man for Jansen is that there really aren’t many of them available right now, especially with so many teams still in the Wild Card race. There is one name that has surfaced recently and that is 29-year-old Orioles left-hander Zach Britton, a Southern California native (Panorama City) and former 2006 third-round draft pick out of Weatherford High School in Weatherford, Texas. But here again, the 2016 World Series runners-up are currently in fourth place in the AL East but are only four games under .500 in a division that may very well produce both AL Wild Card teams. There is little doubt that Britton is exactly the type of reliever that F&Z are looking for, but he would undoubtedly cost the Dodgers some of their very best prospects to land. And with the successes that the Dodgers have enjoyed with who they currently have, this could prevent such a trade from getting beyond the rumor stage.

There is zero argument that Orioles left-hander Zach Britton would be a perfect fit in the Dodgers bullpen, but at what cost? (Photo courtesy of the Baltimore Sun)

As for landing that potential true number three starter (or a number two starter if you want a right-hander in between Kershaw and Wood), there are, quite frankly very few (if any) currently out there. And here again, even a sort of number two-ish pitcher would take a huge toll on the Dodgers farm system for what, in many cases, might only amount to a half-season rental. Then again, this is exactly how the Dodgers landed Rich Hill and several other guys in the recent past who they later re-signed to contract extensions.

The bottom line is that it is very difficult to believe that the Dodgers will do nothing in the coming weeks. But as the great Bill Veeck (as in wreck) once said, “Sometimes the best trades are the ones you don’t make


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7 Responses to “Do the Dodgers really need to make a move?”

  1. Bluenose Dodger says:

    Zach Britton is interesting but becomes less interesting when we consider he has pitched only 12innings in 2017 spending most of the season the DL. If healthy he could be the missing piece and would also command a boatload of prospects in return.

    • Evan Bladh says:

      “IF” healthy is the concern. Forearm injuries shouldn’t be taken lightly, we know that.

      • Ron Cervenka says:

        Both GM’s were interviewed on MLB Network Radio after the trade. Both feel that they got what they needed, with the White Sox acknowledging that they are rebuilding and may add more pieces before the deadline.

        The Cubs are 100% convinced that with Quintana in the rotation AND with Arrieta and Kendrick getting back to the 2016 form, they will be fine.

        Sorry Jed … it ain’t gonna happen. Only 107 to go.

  2. Evan Bladh says:

    The Cubs must be fairly confident about their ability to mount a second half comeback since they have unloaded their farm system for Quintana. I sure hope it back fires on them. Epstein must believe that his Major League club is stocked fine for the next several years to essentially mortgage their future on that one arm. A risky move in my opinion.

  3. CruzinBlue says:

    I’m sorry, but I need to go off topic here;

    Vin Scully!!!

    That man ALWAYS knows what to say…


    If the Dodgers can’t find it in trade, then they probably already have a piece waiting in the wings. Window-shop the AAA and AA teams, pick a winner, and save a bunch of prospects and/or cash while avoiding the dreaded rent-a-player.

    And as Evan mentioned, kudos to the Cubbies for draining their talent pool. The White Sox have something to look forward to in the coming years.

  4. porch says:

    Wood wasn’t a rental. He came with team control which he’s still under. If the Dodgers unload for a starter I only want someone like Wood that offers long term help too. Other than that they don’t really need a starter. They have plenty of depth to get through the regular season and you only need four at the most during the playoffs. Based on what’s on the market there is no clear upgrade that they can obtain.

    Now I would love for them to add a bullpen piece. 2016 Britton would be awesome but the 2017 version scares the shit out of me and giving up prospects for. The elbow seems like a ticking time bomb. I trust the front office will make a proper evaluation though. Justin Wilson seems like a good get that hopefully won’t break the bank. Friedman recently said on the radio that they are very comfortable with where the team is right now as compared to previous years where they had actual needs. He said they will only be making deals if it’s a SIGNIFICANT upgrade to the team. Also the Orioles were not in the World Series last year.

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