We can all acknowledge the value of adding depth to the Dodger pitching staff, let alone the thrill that someone like Max Scherzer would bring,
But some of the Dodgers’ most important midseason trades haven’t been superstars like Yu Darvish or Manny Machado. I’m thinking about guys like Marlon Anderson, Ronnie Belliard, Chase Utley and David Freese. Guys who were role players and/or past their prime, but had a huge domino effect.
It might have been easier to acquire some of these players under the old system that allowed teams until the end of August to acquire players who had cleared waivers. That no longer exists – this year’s deadline to add someone that would be eligible for the postseason is Friday. So there’s a greater challenge trying to pry a useful position player away when more teams are still in contention.
Nevertheless, it’s been a while since the Dodgers were in greater need of one. Even assuming Mookie Betts and Corey Seager return healthy next month, even if Cody Bellinger can turn his season around, the Dodger bench is limited to backup catcher Austin Barnes, 41-year-old southpaw basher Albert Pujols and the following.
- Matt Beaty (94 OPS+)
- Zach McKinstry (85 OPS+)
- Gavin Lux (81 OPS+, here because Chris Taylor would usually be at second base with Betts, Seager and A.J. Pollock healthy)
- Billy McKinney (80 OPS+)
- Steven Souza Jr. (66 OPS+)
- Sheldon Neuse (36 OPS+)
- Luke Raley (35 OPS+)
- Yoshi Tsutsugo (20 OPS+, though showing signs of life in the minors)
- DJ Peters (5 for 26 with four unintentional walks and four intentional walks)
- Zach Reks (1.001 OPS in the minors, 0 for 10 in the majors)
- Keibert Ruiz (mashing in the minors but limited to catcher)
I mean, this is a problematic crew, especially given the limited deployability of Barnes and Pujols. Plus, unlike past years, the enlarged pitching staff suppresses the number of bench slots you have, making each one more important.
I’ve endorsed calling up Ruiz (assuming he isn’t traded) just because his bat is so promising, it would be worth devoting one of those precious roster spots to a third catcher. But for someone with his lack of experience, that is not exactly a foolproof solution.
A pickup of Scherzer would generate all kinds of headlines and excitement, but if the Dodgers could find the next Anderson, Belliard, Utley or Freese, I’d be thrilled. Is he out there?