After back-to-back trips to the World Series, do the Los Angeles Dodgers need to make a blockbuster move at the deadline?
The Los Angeles Dodgers may have gone to the World Series two years in a row and have played in four of the past six National League Championship Series, but the franchise is still looking for its first title since 1988. A 30-year drought has to end at some point for a team that has spent more money than anyone during their current run of six (going on seven) NL West titles. The Dodgers are well on their way back to the playoffs and have the best record in the big leagues.
General manager Andrew Friedman has taken plenty of criticism from detractors who don’t think he has been aggressive enough at the trade deadline to beef up his roster. It’s an unfair criticism, however. Just because he is not willing to deal away his No. 1 overall prospects like Theo Epstein does not mean he is unwilling to make deals. Shrewd trades over the past three years have netted the Dodgers Rich Hill, Yu Darvish and Manny Machado as well as a host of quality relievers and bench bats. The Dodgers front office knows what it’s doing.
This year, the Dodgers don’t have many easily identifiable weaknesses. They lead the National League in runs and OPS and have an MVP candidate in Cody Bellinger who makes the rest of the lineup that much better. Their starting rotation is the best in baseball, led by Hyun-Jin Ryu who started the All-Star Game, Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler. The only gripe Dodgers fans can have with their team is an inconsistent bullpen, but it hasn’t held them back much so far.
The Dodgers won’t really need to focus on upgrading their lineup or rotation at the trade deadline. There aren’t many better starting pitching options available than the names already in their rotation, and there are MLB-ready prospects like Gavin Lux who can provide pop off the bench down the stretch. Relief options are the most likely target for the Dodgers as the trade deadline approaches.
5. Mychal Givens
The Baltimore Orioles are about spent when it comes to tradable assets to move at the deadline. They already shipped out veteran starter Andrew Cashner to the Boston Red Sox for international lottery tickets. That really only leaves outfielder Trey Mancini and reliever Mychal Givens. After an awful start to the season that saw him blow three saves and take two losses in a span of five appearances, Givens has settled down and looks like an intriguing trade target for any contender.
Over his last 12 games, Givens has a 1.98 ERA and has struck out 21 in 13.2 innings. He has held opposing hitters to a .149/.200/.340 line and has issued only three walks. The 29-year-old right-hander has long been viewed as a future closer, but he appears more valuable as a multi-inning setup man for a contender.
The Dodgers might need a left-handed reliever, but they may be better suited targeting an undervalued asset like Givens. Throughout his career, he has been a strong finisher and should thrive right away in the National League where hitters will be unfamiliar with his unconventional delivery. Givens is not an ordinary submariner who relies on sinking action to get outs. He throws hard and piles up strikeouts.