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Trade Deadline Preview: The Los Angeles Dodgers


The defending World Series Champions have made the playoffs in each of the last eight years, including three World Series appearances, and will be looking to improve their roster in the next few weeks. Can the Twins and Dodgers agree on a third trade in four seasons? Let's see!

What's Their Situation?
Coming into the season, everyone expected the Dodgers and Padres to be battling it out for the NL Central crown, which has belonged to the Dodgers for eight consecutive seasons. To almost everyone's surprise, neither team is in first place, as the San Francisco Giants have been baseball's best team over the first 94 games of the season. Nonetheless, the Dodgers are only one game back from the division lead, four-and-a-half games ahead of the Padres, and their odds to make the playoffs are at 99.8-percent, according to Fangraphs. Moreover, they are currently the odds-on favorite to win the 2021 World Series, per Fangraphs and nearly every Sports Book.
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What Do They Need?
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The Dodgers are one of the best teams in baseball across the board but could benefit from adding some combination of multiple relievers and starters at the deadline. They've been without young phenom Dustin May, who was putting up Cy Young numbers through the first month of the season before needing Tommy John Surgery at the beginning of May, and it's likely they are down Trevor Bauer for the rest of the season as well. Adding to their list of unknowns, they placed future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw on the IL before the All-Star Break with elbow soreness. 

They have top-end bullpen arms in Kenley Jansen, Blake Treinen, Jimmy Nelson, not to mention getting solid production from Phil Bickford but could use another reliever to bridge the gap between their starters and the backend of their bullpen. I can't imagine adding offense will be much of a priority for the Dodgers, but adding a right-handed bat isn't out of the question as they have struggled against left-handed pitching.

Which Twins Are The Best Fit?
Theoretically, the Twins have arms that could fit the Dodgers need, but, unfortunately, those same guys are a big part of why the Twins are sellers at the 2021 deadline and likely wouldn't garner a lot of interest or return on investment. Alex Colomé, Hansel Robles, J.A. Happ, and Matt Shoemaker are the players referenced above, who are undoubtedly available. Still, their collective performance makes you wonder if they'll be DFA'd on August 1st rather than traded on July 31st. That brings us to the most valuable MLB-ready arms the Twins have: Michael Pineda, José Berríos, Taylor Rogers, and Tyler Duffey. Except for Michael Pineda, a free agent at the end of this season, the other three are all slated to enter free agency following the 2022 season. I'd even add the most under-appreciated Twins pitcher, 34-year-old Caleb Thielbar, to the list of trade candidates, especially considering he's cheap with three years of team control remaining.

What Could the Twins Get Back?
Despite their successes over the last eight years, they still have one of the better farm systems in all of baseball boasting three to four top-100 prospects depending on the source. I believe that the Twins need to retool in 2022 and be ready to compete again in 2023, so I'd like to see them add pieces that might be ready to contribute at that point. As previously pointed out, the Twins have a wide range of parts that could create a blockbuster deal all the way down to a deal that makes the bottom of the back page in the sports section.

Josiah Gray, RHP, 23yo - up until 2018 Gray was a shortstop but has since transitioned to pitching and sports a 2.41 ERA and a 10.4 K/9 over 200 minor league innings. Despite the 2020 season mainly being a loss for Minor Leaguers, Gray did well enough at the alternate site to be added to the Dodgers playoff bubble roster, although he never pitched an inning. He's a top-100 guy across the board and would likely require Berríos plus one of Rogers or Duffey to make his way to the Twins organization.

Michael Busch, Util, 23yo - although he's played primarily at second with the Dodgers, he has experience at first and in the outfield from his time at the University of North Carolina. He was drafted 31st overall in 2019 but almost immediately broke his hand on a hit-by-pitch making 2021 his first real season as a pro. From Keith Law in February of 2021: "...his hit tool gives him the chance to become an All-Star," and he goes on to say "...could be an impact regular even just as a walks/power guy, but I think he's going to hit for average as well." Busch is another top-100 guy across the board and would likely require a significant package to grab him from the Dodgers. Oh, and he is from Inver Grove Heights and was a three-sport star at Simley High School. 

Bobby Miller, RHP, 22yo
Andre Jackson, RHP, 25yo
Mitch White, RHP, 26yo
I group these guys because they are at least a tier lower than the Gray and Busch, have their own flaws, but also have reasons they can contribute to the Twins soon. Miller is the Twins prototype mid-high 90's fastball with a slider that needs work along with his command of the zone. Jackson was a two-way player in college who needs more seasoning as a pitcher and is already 25-years-old and thus would be cheaper while offering a decent ceiling. White is another Twins prototype and, when he's healthy, which is an issue, he's been good and has been a decent arm for the Dodgers this year.


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Agree that Dodgers are one of Twin's best trade partners, primarily because of their deep farm system.   For Berrios and one other reliever(Duffey, Thielbar?), Twins should shoot for two top 10 prospects.  Although injured, May would be my top choice, but doubtful Friedman would move him.  If not, two of Gray, Pepiot, or Gonsolin would be great.  These are all names that have been bandied about many times on this site and others.

I have another suggestion.  One of those three starters + Lux(who could step into SS position immediately) and (surprise), Graterol, who MLBTR says might be available.  While he's been injury prone his addition would provide a badly needed option for a shutdown reliever.  Twins might have to toss in a prospect here to sweeten the deal, but this is direction I hope FO will go.  With addition of a key FA pitcher(Syndergaard is far and away my top choice), retaining Pineda and Maeda, one of the Dodger pitchers mentioned above, and either our best minor league prospect or Joe Ryan, our 2022 rotation should be much improved.  Fingers crossed!!

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Berrios and another player for Gray...NO, NO, NO.  Lots of folks on the net continue saying this and they are wrong, just as the Dodgers are if they think that is how they get Jose.  And this is likely true, or they would have already closed the deal.

Berrios is either the top or one of the top two pitchers available.  He is young, durable, under control for a year after this and bloody good.  To give that up for any pitcher who hasn't proved diddly when it comes to major league success just ain't gonna happen.  And yes, when the Dodgers are on the phone our FO should when talking about Jose say Gray and who else?  Hopefully, they are.

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Here's what's going to end up happening today (if Berrios doesn't go to the Padres);
 
Dodgers gets:
SP Jose Berrios
SP Michael Pineda
LHP Caleb Thielbar
 
Twins get:
SP Josiah Gray (#1)
SP Landon Knack (#16)
LHP Robinson Ortiz (#29)
 
-or-
Twins get;
SP Dustin May
SP Bobby Miller (#7)
LHP Robinson Ortiz (#29)
PTBNL
LHP David Price ($16m owed in 2022)
 
Overall,  the Dodgers just don't have the players that will provide an immediate return for the Twins like the Padres do.  Their #2 prospect is a Catcher and there is no scenario where they give the Twins Josiah Gray and Keibert Ruiz.  The Dodgers also don't any LHP in the top 25 and a lot of the RHP, according to MLB Pipeline, are not really ready for next year and some project out as bullpen guys.  And neither of those factors benefit the Twins.  
 
So basically the Twins get May or Gray who both would be MLB rotation ready for next year, but nothing more than speculation on any other pitching prospects after that.  And in order to get May and good prospects the Twins might need to take David Price and his contract back who would now be expendable to the Dodgers as he is in their bullpen.  So that means that the Twins could be forced to try to find a spot for a 36 year old making $16m, unless the Dodgers kick back some cash in that deal.  
 
The Dodgers get a pitcher to cover for the loss of Bauer and a pitcher that could push Goslin back into the bullpen.  And they'd get one of the best left handed relievers to solidify their bullpen.  And maybe save some money by moving Price.  
 
In conclusion, I don't really like the Dodgers as a partner in a Berrios trade.  But it could work if the Twins want a quantity over quality trade return like the Rangers just did with Gallo.
 
Discuss??
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the Dodgers are LOADED with guys in the 45-50 scouting range. 

If I'm the Twins, I want 3 of those (2 pitchers and a SS or CF) for Berrios, or 2 for Pineda and a minor leaguer going back.....

I can't see the Dodgers dealing any of their top 3-4 prospects.....

For Berrios:

Ryan Pepiot

Jacob Amaya

random guy in the 40 range who is a pitcher....

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Wow, some of you are selling Berrios short, IMO.

I posted this on another thread, but Berrios plus Rogers for May and Gray and a lottery pick.

They are getting a 27 year old solid, dependable starter who (knock wood), always takes the ball every 5 days.  After the season the Dodgers have had with SP reliability, that is valuable as can be.  Their rotation is in tatters.

Happy to include Pineida, too, for more players.

However, I suspect Scherzer ends up in Dodger blue at the end of the trade period....the rich get richer.

Finally, I, too, want Syndergaard as top FA target.  Thor, Gray, Blazer, Winder, Maeda and, later, May, and we have a heck of a SP staff to work from   Light years improvement over any SP staff in recent memory.

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5 hours ago, KnoblauchWasFramed said:
Here's what's going to end up happening today (if Berrios doesn't go to the Padres);
 
Dodgers gets:
SP Jose Berrios
SP Michael Pineda
LHP Caleb Thielbar
 
Twins get:
SP Josiah Gray (#1)
SP Landon Knack (#16)
LHP Robinson Ortiz (#29)
 
-or-
Twins get;
SP Dustin May
SP Bobby Miller (#7)
LHP Robinson Ortiz (#29)
PTBNL
LHP David Price ($16m owed in 2022)
 
Overall,  the Dodgers just don't have the players that will provide an immediate return for the Twins like the Padres do.  Their #2 prospect is a Catcher and there is no scenario where they give the Twins Josiah Gray and Keibert Ruiz.  The Dodgers also don't any LHP in the top 25 and a lot of the RHP, according to MLB Pipeline, are not really ready for next year and some project out as bullpen guys.  And neither of those factors benefit the Twins.  
 
So basically the Twins get May or Gray who both would be MLB rotation ready for next year, but nothing more than speculation on any other pitching prospects after that.  And in order to get May and good prospects the Twins might need to take David Price and his contract back who would now be expendable to the Dodgers as he is in their bullpen.  So that means that the Twins could be forced to try to find a spot for a 36 year old making $16m, unless the Dodgers kick back some cash in that deal.  
 
The Dodgers get a pitcher to cover for the loss of Bauer and a pitcher that could push Goslin back into the bullpen.  And they'd get one of the best left handed relievers to solidify their bullpen.  And maybe save some money by moving Price.  
 
In conclusion, I don't really like the Dodgers as a partner in a Berrios trade.  But it could work if the Twins want a quantity over quality trade return like the Rangers just did with Gallo.
 
Discuss??

How does this add up on baseball trade values? My initial thought is that a pitcher like May, who has shown he can be effective in the bigs, is more valuable than Gray. If we can get May, I think the rest of the package would be less than if Gray was the headliner. Unless us eating Price salary is what makes it more enticing for Dodgers, in your mind?

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