Like the current Dodgers front office or hate them, it’s impossible to argue that they don’t at least try to address needs at the trade deadline. In past years, a need at starting pitcher led to the acquisitions of Yu Darvish and Rich Hill, and to lesser fanfare as well as success, Bud Norris. This year, a gaping hole in the lineup was created at shortstop with Corey Seager’s injury, and a few months later we welcome Manny Machado into the fold.
While there’s no disputing Machado’s offensive excellence, his addition to the team does complicate the lineup Tetris that manager Dave Roberts has to play every night. And with needs remaining in the bullpen, it stands to reason that one or more of the guys whose playing time might be affected by Machado could become a chip in a deal for a set up guy.
Let’s take a look at who these folks might be.
Chris Taylor: After starting the season in center field, Taylor played a lot of shortstop, acquitting himself fairly well, after Seager’s injury. Obviously, Machado will be taking the lion’s share of the time there now, meaning Taylor will have to play elsewhere to be in the lineup. While he hasn’t been quite at the same level he was last year, his wrc+ of 116 is still good, and his defensive versatility makes him virtually indispensable. Odds of getting traded: 1%
Kikè Hernandez: Probably the only guy on the club more versatile than Taylor, Hernandez has started everywhere but pitcher and catcher this season, including quite a few games at shortstop. The impact on Kikè’s playing time will probably be measurable. It’s a bit of shame, really, considering he already has a career high 16 home runs with nearly half the season still to play. But you don’t trade for Manny Machado and sit him on the bench. Considering you can play Kikè just about anywhere, the fact that he has some pop, carries a miniscule price tag, and consistently ranks among the league leaders in non-fragile masculinity, you could get a ton of value for him in return. He’s also probably the most beloved figure in the clubhouse, so unless the front office wants to risk mutiny, he isn’t going anywhere. Odds of getting traded: 0%
Logan Forsythe: My article from earlier this year where I boldly predicted a bounce back year from Forsythe is probably the biggest miss I’ve had in a while. Despite being mostly hapless with the bat for a year and a half now, Forsythe still found himself in the lineup often enough. That now figures to all but disappear. I feel a little bit like a jerk for phrasing it this way, as Forsythe’s ineptness isn’t due to lack of effort or desire. He’s just bad, and there is no way to justify him being on the roster. That said, exactly how much trade value does someone have who is owed the remaining portion of $9 million for this season, and offers below replacement player value? He’s far more likely to be released. Odds of getting traded: 10%
Max Muncy: The breakout star of this season, Muncy has forced himself into the lineup virtually every day with his combination of pop and an elite eye. However, even he figures to see a small reduction in playing time with the addition of Machado, most likely, the innings he was logging at second base. However, he leads the team in most offensive categories, makes close to the league minimum, and like Hernandez, is hugely popular. Unless Cincinnati or Miami offer Raisel Iglesias or Kyle Barraclough straight up (narrator: they won’t), Muncy is staying put. Odds of getting traded: 1%
Joc Pederson: Ah, now we’re getting bigger realms of likelihood. The outfield is exactly where some of those innings are going to spill that Taylor and Hernandez are losing from the infield. Joc has been mostly good this season, but is still slump-prone. They probably don’t want to trade him, especially as he’s played his best baseball in the post-season, but to get something, you have to give something, and Pederson has played well enough his season to build some value. It’s not outside the realm of reason that a team struggling this year but with eyes on contending next year (I’m looking at you, Minnesota) might be interested in working something out. Odds of getting traded: 25%
Yasiel Puig: It’s been a whole week or two since there was a Yasiel Puig trade rumor, it seems. Why not start one! It’s honestly befuddling to me how someone who brings as many tools to the table as Puig is so frequently talked about being traded. Yet here we are. Concerns about his maturity are slowly fading, and that was probably the biggest reason previous attempts to move him failed. The Red Sox are probably kicking themselves for saying no to the Jackie Bradley Jr. deal, at least as much as a team that all but already has a postseason berth locked up at the all star break can kick themselves. He probably has the most value of their tradable major league assets, meaning he’d probably fetch the most in return. Odds of getting traded: 30%. Odds that if he’s traded he suddenly becomes the second coming of Roberto Clemente: 1000000000000%
Alex Verdugo: I know, I know. I’m cheating because he’s not in the big leagues currently and his playing time is therefore unaffected. However, a bigger logjam at the top generally means a longer stay in AAA for the guy waiting his turn. Well, you can’t expect him to just hang around in AAA hitting .350 forever. He’s been rumored to be available for the right return for quite some time now, and as the saying goes, walk by the barbershop often enough and you’ll eventually get a haircut. I also don’t actually know if that’s a saying, but what I do know is that as a guy whose service time clock hasn’t started, he’s especially attractive to rebuilding teams. Odds of getting traded: 60%
Did I miss anyone? Let us know on Twitter @thestainsports and @DodgersNation. Thank you for reading.
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