The Dodgers have a few glaring holes on their roster.
Yes, as of Wednesday morning, they’re 64-32. And yes, they have a 10.5-game lead in the NL West and are competing with the Yankees and Astros for the best record in baseball. But due to injuries and some unexpected struggles, the Dodgers could use some help. And what better time to find it than the trade deadline?
The Dodgers are one of the many teams linked to Juan Soto and Shohei Ohtani, but I already talked about those guys and what it may take for the Andrew Friedman, Dodgers’ head of baseball operations, to get them. So if Soto and Ohtani are Plans 1A and 1B, here are plans C, D, and E.
1. Replace Max Muncy
The Dodgers’ first and maybe most glaring need is to find a replacement for infielder Max Muncy. Justin Turner is banged up (although he was finally back in the lineup Wednesday) and Chris Taylor currently finds himself on the IL, which has Muncy continuing to play every day despite his brutal slump. He’s gotten a hit in just five of his last 45 at-bats, with 21 strikeouts in that time.
The Dodgers do have the option of calling up an infielder from their seemingly never-ending supply of talent they call a farm system. Or, they can check in on the market, find the sellers, and target a perfect fit for their lineup. And good news for them, I found just the guy.
Brandon Drury currently finds himself on the Reds, the third-worst team in baseball. Cincinnati will most certainly be sellers this deadline, and have a few key pieces teams will target. Drury, Tyler Mahle, Mike Moustakas, and Luis Castillo (duh) could all be guys who find themselves on new teams. And the Dodgers should be the first team making a call for Drury.
The 29-year-old utility man is hitting .271/.330/.517 this season, and already has a career-high in home runs with 19. He can play second, third, and the outfield, which fits right into the mold of guys manager Dave Roberts and the Dodgers love to use. He will definitely be one of the premier talents on the market this deadline, but the Dodgers have more than enough talent to make a move. The same goes for the next few guys I’m about to talk about.
2. Target Garrett Cooper
On Tuesday, Jon Heyman of the New York Post reported that the Marlins would be listening to offers on everyone except their young ace Sandy Alcantara. That means one of the Marlins’ other 2022 All-Stars, Garrett Cooper, is on the table. Wednesday morning, Heyman reported the Dodgers were interested in acquiring Cooper, but wanted to wait on a Soto resolution before making the move. Cooper would be a strong bat to add to their lineup, as he’s slashing .279/.347/.426 with seven home runs and 40 RBI. He would also be a less expensive option than Drury in terms of what they’d be sending in return.
Although Cooper’s only played first base this season, he does have major league experience in right. The Dodgers are pretty comfortable at those two positions with Freddie Freeman and Mookie Betts, but they do have the DH spot, and are never shy about having their guys try new positions.
3. This ain’t a scene, it’s an arms race
Now we can move on to pitching. Everyone has been calling for the Dodgers to add another starting pitcher this trade deadline. The aforementioned Castillo and Oakland A’s starter Frankie Montas are two talented pitchers being dangled this deadline.
But quite frankly, I don’t really know why the Dodgers would add a starting pitcher. The Dodgers currently have the best rotation ERA in all of baseball, and are only expecting to get stronger in the coming months with the returns of two-time All-Star Walker Buehler, longtime starter Danny Duffy, and young flamethrower Dustin May — although I’ve already lobbied for him to be their closer come postseason time.
The Dodgers recalled Andrew Heaney from the IL to start Wednesday’s game, and he now joins a rotation of 2022 All-Stars Clayton Kershaw, Tony Gonsolin, and Tyler Anderson, as well as Julio Urias, who probably just missed the cut. The Dodgers have also enjoyed impressive starts from Mitch White and Ryan Pepiot this season. So fully healthy, the Dodgers could have up to nine guys able to start a game. And come postseason time, you really need just three or four.
The Dodgers would be much better off looking to add to their bullpen — one that has been ravaged by injuries and has struggled mightily as of late. They’re in too tough of a division to be giving up games because of a lackluster bullpen, so rather than waiting for their guys to get fully healthy, the Dodgers should target one of these options.
4. Bullpen targets
The Tigers are having a full-on firesale and that’s good news for the Dodgers. They have two relievers, Michael Fulmer and Andrew Chafin, who would be huge additions to the Dodgers’ pen. Fulmer, the 2016 American League Rookie of the Year, has shined in his full-time reliever role to the tune of a 2.92 ERA in 37 innings of work, with an opponent’s batting average of just .189. Chafin is a lefty reliever who pitches well to batters on both sides of the plate. He has a 2.64 ERA in 30.2 innings, and has allowed a batting average of just .214 against him.
The Rockies are also a team who will be looking to unload some relievers. Alex Colome and closer Daniel Bard would both be great additions to the team. Colome has a 3.38 ERA in 37.1 innings of work, while Bard has an astonishing 1.91 ERA in his 37.2 innings. The fact that they’re pitching many of those innings at the infamous Coors Field makes those numbers that much more impressive.
Lastly, closer David Robertson of the lowly Cubs could be a solid option for the Dodgers. Robertson has a 1.91 ERA across his 39.1 innings pitched, and has allowed opponents to hit just .147 against him. He also has a ton of postseason experience as a Yankee and Ray, with a career 3.11 ERA across 14 different playoff series. He threw 2.1 scoreless innings in the 2009 World Series for the victorious Yankees.
5. In closing
The Dodgers have a ton of options as they look to improve their roster over the next seven days leading up to the Aug. 2 deadline. Standing pat wouldn’t be the worst thing, as they’re expecting a ton of talent to return come postseason time. But you never want to predict how a player will look coming off the IL, especially for the guys who have been sitting for a long period of time.
The Dodgers have never been shy to upgrade their roster come deadline time, and have the opportunity to add some premier talent to the already best team in the National League. Don’t be surprised if you see their name come up a lot over the next week.