As we all know at this point, the Los Angeles Dodgers made a splash. The biggest splash of splashes possible at this trade deadline, so we think. After acquiring superstar shortstop Manny Machado for a pile of prospects including #84 on the MLB.com 2018 Prospect Watch list, outfielder Yusniel Diaz. First things first, let’s break down the Machado blockbuster and then get into what could potentially be next for the Dodgers.
Manny Machado is a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers. After the trade finally broke after days of rumors that were up-and-down including Machado heading to the Phillies, Diamondbacks, Yankees, Red Sox, etc, etc, etc. The Orioles sent Machado to the Dodgers for the hefty price of five prospects: outfielder Yusniel Diaz, third baseman Rylan Bannon, righty Dean Kremer, righty Zach Pop and third baseman Breyvic Valera. Let’s break this down a bit.
Manny Machado is:
- a gamechanger
- a superstar
- dangerous every time he’s up to bat
Absolutely, positively, do not let anyone tell you otherwise. Those three points are set in stone. Machado’s hitting .315 this year with 24 home runs, 65 RBIs, putting him on pace for a 40 homer, 110 RBI season. Not many others players in the league can say they’re touting those numbers while also holding an .OBP over .380. Over the last few seasons, Dodgers fans everywhere have been clamoring for a middle infielder to step into the middle of the lineup with power. While Logan Forsythe has done an admirable job in the middle of the lineup, we’ve heard rumors for the last few years about adding another piece in the middle of the infield. Last year was Dozier. Dodgers fans should be thanking their lucky stars that the front office waited and landed Machado. Machado is on a level that’s multiple tiers above Dozier’s best output and should instantly make the Dodgers the favorite in the National League.
On the other hand, the Dodgers gave up some pieces. Nobody is arguing that, starting with headliner Yusniel Diaz. Diaz is an outfielder who was signed out of Cuba for $15.6 million dollars three seasons ago, potentially being ready to make the big leagues as soon as 2019. Diaz has made some big strides in AA this year, hitting a tremendous .314 with an OBP of .428. The potential for Diaz seems endless at this point, instantly giving the Orioles some hope for the future.
Now, the other four: RHP Dean Kremer, RHP Zach Pop, 2B Breyvic Valera, and 3B Rylan Bannon. Kremer’s shown a ton of potential and wow-factor with High-A Rancho Cucamonga, sporting a 13.0 K/9 and a 3.30 ERA through 16 starts. Bannon hit 20 home runs and 61 RBI’s in the Cal League, landing a spot on the All-Star team. These two guys are both very, very solid mid-level prospects that are likely going to land into the MLB around 2020, assuming their progression keeps going the way it has. Zach Pop slides in as the 29th best Orioles Prospect via MLB Prospect Watch, likely because of his role as a reliever. Pop’s shown a tremendous fastball that can clock the upper 90s on top of a very solid slider that could turn into a game-changing pitch with some movement. The last of the “other four” is Breyvic Valera, who seems to be more of a bench piece at this point than anything else. Valera’s not exactly “special”, but he’s got the chance to end up as a solid utility guy who can step in and hit the ball alright, on top of playing just about every position in the field.
So, a quick summary. Diaz is a potential star in the outfield for the Orioles, but with Alex Verdugo, DJ Peters, Jeren Kendall all in the system on top of an extremely crowder Dodgers outfield of Bellinger, Puig, Kemp, Pederson, Hernandez, Taylor, and others, it’s a move they’re absolutely willing to make to ensure the best possible chance to win a World Series. The Orioles replenish a mediocre-at-best prospect pool and trade away a player who was almost assuredly gone by the end of the year. Good deal for both sides, and it will likely take a few years to tell you who the real winner of the deal is.
When you look at the Dodgers roster, there’s not a ton there that screams “hole” at you. All the rumors have pointed to Dodgers GM Farhan Zaidi making a run at one of the big name relievers on the market to take a bit of pressure off of Erik Goeddel, Scott Alexander, Dylan Floro, and the rest of the bullpen that takes care of everything before Kenley Jansen comes into the game. In previous years, bullpen pieces have been pretty tough to come by, and the chances are that will be the same again this season. Could we see the Dodgers make a run at a Jeurys Familia, Zach Britton, or Raisel Iglesias type player? Now that Brad Hand’s off the table, that could almost certainly be a possibility to fill the 8th inning setup man role.
Another potential spot that the Dodgers could go out and fill would be adding another high-level starting pitcher. Clayton Kershaw’s been tremendous since coming back in mid-June, sporting a 2.70 ERA in 26.2 innings. Ross Stripling was named an All-Star after his incredible rise to stardom in the first half of the year. Even Alex Wood and Kenta Maeda are showing flashes of brilliance. With these four guys pitching great and Hyun-jin Ryu soon to come back, along with Rich Hill’s rubber arm in the rotation, I feel as if it would be pretty unlikely that the Dodgers decide to throw prospects towards a Cole Hamels, Jake Odorizzi, or Michael Fulmer type player.
My best guess for the remainder of the trade deadline would be something along the lines of what everyone expects them to do at this point. The Dodgers are characteristically known to be pretty tight on their prospect pool and while we’re not exactly sure if Machado is a rental or there is a master plan to move Seager to 2nd or swap Turner to 2nd and Seager to 3rd, chances are they won’t want to give up any big name prospects to grab another starter who’s not really guaranteed to be any better than what they’ve got right now. With how the Dodgers bullpen has performed throughout the year, chances are Dave Roberts and the front office have been in communications and are on the same page in terms of what the team really needs to become a legitimately dangerous threat to win the World Series. The rumors are flying as the deadline approaches, make sure to check back in and see the latest Dodgers news right here on Grandslamblog.com!
Follow me on twitter @DonnyOnTheHorn for random tweets about sports and pop culture!