There are certainly different ways to look at the trade deadline.
- Missed opportunities
- Made effort to acquire top tier players
- Secondary tier players
- Met their goals
The Dodgers set out on the trade deadline indicating they were going to be aggressive looking to add:
- Starting pitching
- Relief pitching
- RH bats
Check that box. They added two starting pitchers, RHSP Lance Lynn and LHSP Ryan Yarbrough. They added two relief pitchers, RHRP Joe Kelly, and LHRP Ryan Yarbrough. They added two RH bats, Kiké Hernández, and Amed Rosario.
No it was not what Dodger fans were hoping for with respect to the pitching. Fans were hoping that Lucas Giolito, Eduardo Rodriguez, Jordan Montgomery, Michael Lorenzen, Aaron Civale, and later Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Dylan Cease, and Mitch Keller.
The Dodgers were reportedly focused in on E-Rod, and actually had deal made with Detroit, only to have E-Rod invoke his no trade to LAD. Apparently this caught Andrew Friedman by surprise. None of us were part of the negotiations, so we have no idea as to how and when the no-trade clause was finally brought up. There is no way that AF deserves any criticism for this. Any criticism directed to AF has to be a result of frustration on not getting the pitcher, not because of any mistake by AF.
The Dodgers were reportedly second on JV. I would hazard a guess that it was really second of two options, but it was still 2nd choice. I think this was another case where the player exercised his no trade clause. The price Houston paid was steep.
NYM trades RHSP Justin Verlander and cash to Houston for 22 year old CF Drew Gilbert (AA – #1 Houston prospect, #68 Top 100), and 20 year old OF, Ryan Clifford (A+, Houston # 4 Prospect). The New York Mets are sending the Astros about $54 million in the Justin Verlander trade. The Mets are paying $35M on Verlander for this year and next year, then half of the $35M in 2025 if the option triggers.
I believe it was Jim Callis (MLB Pipeline) who said that they were about to push Clifford to #2 after the deadline. I am not sure AF felt comfortable with that price.
I do not believe that AF was ever truly interested in reuniting with Scherzer, and I think vice versa.
That left Lucas Giolito and Michael Lorenzen who were considered by most in the first tier of rental SP.
Giolito went to the Angels very early in the trade week. White Sox traded RHSP Lucas Giolito and RHRP Reynaldo López to LAA for MiLB catcher prospect Edgar Quero (LAA #2 prospect) (AA) and MiLB LHSP prospect Ky Bush (LAA #3 prospect) (AA). Quero is now CWS #2 prospect and Bush is CWS #5 prospect.
That is a pretty steep price for a rental, especially one with a season ERA of 3.79 and a July ERA of 4.98. In his first start for LAA, Giolito went 5.1 IP, 3 runs, 6 hits, 2 HR, 1BB, 5 K.
AF/BG rightfully walked away from that one, but unfortunately it seemed to set the standard for future rental SP trades.
07-31-2023 – Cleveland trades RHSP Aaron Civale to Tampa Bay for 1B prospect, Kyle Manzardo, #4 Tampa Bay, top 100 prospect (#37), #2 1B prospect.
St. Louis traded RHSP Jordan Montgomery and RHRP Chris Stratton to Texas for MLB LHRP John King, 21 year old utility infielder Thomas Saggese and 21 year old RHP Tokiah Roby. Saggese was Texas’ #14 prospect and is now St. Louis’ #8 prospect. Roby was Texas’ #11 prospect and is now St. Louis’ #4 prospect.
I am fairly comfortable that the Dodgers were not going to match the Civale price (probably Busch). For Montgomery, the Dodgers probably do not have a comp for Saggese. Roby’s age makes him preferable to teams over 24 year old pitchers. But as far as MLB ready, the Dodgers have multiple RHP who would be preferable if that was the primary consideration. We have no idea what St. Louis was looking for. They said they wanted MLB ready pitchers which LAD has. The Dodgers may not have been willing to part with 2 of them for a rental.
Detroit trades RHP Michael Lorenzen to Philadelphia for 20 year old 2B, Hao-Yu Lee (Phillies #5 prospect – A+). It is kind of a break out year for a 31 year old in his walk year. I really have no idea what kind of prospect. His closest comp with the Dodgers would probably be Jorbit Vivas who is 2 years older than Lin.
- Hao-Yu Lin – Scouting grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 50 | Run: 45 | Arm: 50 | Field: 50 | Overall: 50
- Jorbit Vivas – Scouting grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 35 | Run: 45 | Arm: 45 | Field: 50 | Overall: 50
If Detroit wanted middle infielder, the Dodgers could not match what Philadelphia sent to Detroit.
Dylan Cease’s and Mitch Keller’s names were brought up but were never really considered to be available. Cease stayed in the discussion late in the day, but there is no evidence that any deal was about to come together.
There were four secondary tier SP that actually were moved:
- Lance Lynn – To the Dodgers
- Jack Flaherty – To Baltimore
- Ryan Yarbrough – To the Dodgers
- Rich Hill – To San Diego
Chicago White Sox traded RHSP Lance Lynn and RHRP Joe Kelly to Dodgers for RHP Nick Nastrini (LAD #9), RHRP Jordan Leasure (not ranked), and Trayce Thompson.
St. Louis trades RHP Jack Flaherty to Baltimore for 24 year old MiLB infielder César Prieto (Baltimore’s #16 prospect – AAA) and 23 year old LHP Drew Rom (Baltimore’s #18 prospect – AAA)
Kansas City trades LHP Ryan Yarbrough to Dodgers for utility infielder Devin Mann (#29 LAD prospect) and 19 year old SS, Derlin Figueroa (not ranked LAD ACL).
Pittsburgh trades LHSP Rich Hill and 1B Ji-Man Choi to San Diego for three MiLB players; AA LHP Jackson Wolf (SD #16 prospect – just called up to SD) , Estuar Suero (17 year old OF), and Alfonso Rivas 26 year old AAAA 1B (tearing up AAA this year).
The costliest transaction from a prospect standpoint would be for Jack Flaherty. I think Baltimore overpaid because they knew they had bring in a SP. If there was a fan base that was expecting a big deadline move more than LAD it was probably Baltimore. Both teams need SP and had the most prospect capital to spend.
Baltimore’s farm system is every bit on par with LAD. A middle infielder (#16 prospect), and LHP (#18 prospect).
- INF César Prieto (Now St. Louis #9) – Scouting grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 45 | Run: 45 | Arm: 45 | Field: 50 | Overall: 45
- LHP Drew Rom (Now St. Louis #26) – Scouting grades: Fastball: 50 | Slider: 55 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 45 | Overall: 40
Dodger comps might be:
- Rayne Doncon (LAD #11) – Scouting grades: Hit: 45 | Power: 55 | Run: 45 | Arm: 55 | Field: 50 | Overall: 45
- Peter Heubeck (LAD #27) – Scouting grades: Fastball: 55 | Curveball: 60 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 45 | Overall: 40
Again, we have no idea as to whether AF/BG actually wanted Flaherty at that price. But the Dodgers could certainly have met that price.
Ryan Yarborough has comparable metrics and peripherals to Flaherty. The cost to Flaherty was more than what the Dodgers paid for Yarbrough.
I am not at all certain that AF/BG ever considered Rich Hill.
Overall, I think the Dodgers did okay in secondary tier SP if that is where they wanted to stay, expecting Clayton Kershaw back, and believing both Julio Urías and Tony Gonsolin can improve over the next two months. Ryan Pepiot was much better in his rehab on Tuesday. Bobby Miller deserves to stay in the rotation. While I think Emmet Sheehan and Michael Grove could be effective in the pen, especially as a multi inning reliever, I am sure they are destined to OKC. But the starter depth is growing again.
Ryan Pepiot's fourth rehab start:
4.0 IP | 3 H | R | ER | BB | 4 K | HR
70 pitches/46 strikes
Only run on a leadoff homer. Retired 9 of final 10, with the only batter reaching on an error during that time.
IMHO, stuff seems fine. Command getting there. #Dodgers
— Alex Freedman (@azfreedman) August 2, 2023
Missed opportunities? It is hard to say. You have to know if they actually did have opportunities for the elite players.
Make effort to acquire top tier players? They had a deal done for Eduardo Rodriguez, and he pulled the plug. I do believe they were trying to make something happen on Dylan Cease, but could not close the deal.
Secondary tier players? Lance Lynn, Ryan Yarbrough, Joe Kelly, Amed Rosario, and Kiké Hernández. They have existing top tier position players. Secondary is all they really needed, and both bats are RH and can hit LHP.
With all they acquired, the Dodgers lost 2 Top 30 prospects: Nick Nastrini (#9) and Devin Mann (#29). Both of the prospects have multiple players that can replace them.
While it was not what many were hoping for, overall, AF/BG accomplished their goals, and did not overpay for any of the acquired players.
Are the Dodgers better on paper than they were this time last week? Yes. Is it good enough to get to the playoffs? Yes. Is it good enough to win the NL pennant and WS? That will depend on how well Kershaw, Urías, and Gonsolin pitch come October. Are they capable of winning? Yes. Will they? That is why they play the games.
Lance Lynn made his LAD debut on Tuesday. He certainly filled out that #35 jersey a little differently than who was donning that jersey in 2022. Lynn was as advertised. He was an innings eater (7.0). He strikes out batters (7). And he gives up HR (3). He provided the Dodgers with a Quality Start and 7 IP. When was the last LAD pitcher to throw 7 innings? Clayton Kershaw, June 20. I can here the skeptics…it was only the A’s. You play who has been scheduled. It was a positive start for Lynn.
Lance Lynn, Joe Kelly, Amed Rosario, and Kiké Hernández have all been good in games for the Dodgers. I imagine we will see Yarbrough face San Diego this weekend.
I thought I was going to be disappointed. But while I am not overwhelmed, I am cautiously optimistic.