Dodgers Rumors: A Possible Trade For A Reliever

As was made known by manager Dave Roberts today, adding a reliever is “definitely a possibility” at this stage for the Los Angeles Dodgers as we approach spring training.

The main issue comes from knowing whether the Dodgers want to actually sign a reliever, such as Tyler Clippard (who comes with no draft pick compensation), or trading for a reliever. Well, it looks like trading for one might be a pretty reasonable option.

ICYMI: Understanding The Ins And Outs of Salary Arbitration

Per ESPN Senior Writer Jim Bowden:

The Trade: Dodgers get reliever Brad Boxberger; Rays get catcher Austin Barnes and right-handed pitcher Zach Lee.

Well, that doesn’t seem too bad on the surface. What’s the thought process behind it, though?

Boxberger, 27, led the American League in saves with 41, striking out over 10 batters per nine innings and being selected to the All-Star team. Boxberger’s ability to get out both right-handed and left-handed hitters, and to close games when Jansen needs a day off, would fit in nicely in the Dodgers’ bullpen.

First, let’s talk Boxberger. The right-hander was good last season for Tampa Bay, but way better in 2014 when he was used in the setup role. If you’re worried that he might struggle with lefties, don’t. He’s held them to a .183 batting average in his career. His fastball-changeup combination is devastatingly deceptive, and he just gets guys out.

The price for the Dodgers might seem steep, but it’s really not. Boxberger won’t be a free agent until after the 2019 season, so the cost of the prospects in this rumor by Bowden is really nothing as crazy as it might seem.

Barnes, while being a really good catching prospect, is blocked in the organization by Yasmani Grandal at this point in time. Barnes does have added value as a possible second baseman, but it doesn’t appear as if the Dodgers view him in that light going forward. With him being blocked, dealing him for a proven reliever is doable.

While Lee was a heralded prospect a while ago, his potential has seemed to plateau for now. He’s nowhere near the prospect they had hoped he’d be, but he’s still a good one to have. So, if you can get someone to shore up the back end of the bullpen so that the ball can find Kenley Jansen’s flamethrower right-hand, then you should do it.

This is just one trade suggestion made by one analyst that people might dismiss. But it’s still an interesting thought process. Two prospects, both blocked in the system, for a quality reliever under team control for several years and has a proven track record of being good? Seems like the kind of deal a front office should do if it’s on the table.

NEXT: Team ‘Definitely’ Looking To Add Another Reliever, per Roberts

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  1. If I am Farhan, and this is offered, I am saying let’s make the trade.  This immediately improves the Dodgers.  I understand that this is a Jim Bowden projection, but he may have inside knowledge that most do not have.  I am not sure that this is enough for Tampa for their closer.  McGee could assume that role, but then they would need a setup.  Maybe Dodgers throw in Baez to complete it.  The Rays do not need another starter (Zach Lee), they need to move one to make room for Blake Snell.  Maybe they are looking at Zach as someone coming out of the pen.  Maybe they like him better than Smyly or Moore.  I am just not sure why they would want Zach Lee.  While I do not like the thought of losing Barnes, he is blocked by a Grandal who is only 13 months older, and still club controlled.  AJ Ellis will still have a job as long as Kershaw is pitching for LAD, so there is no way Barnes gets on the 25 man as a catcher.  If Barnes can be flipped to get Boxberger, the Dodgers have to strongly consider this.  This would excite me as a fan.

  2. AlwaysCompete I still do not understand the AJ Ellis being on the roster despite his relationship with Kershaw. Kershaw gets 30 million to pitch to who they tell him too. Never been a fan of his game, below MLB average in every aspect. Keep Barnes.

  3. AlwaysCompete Barnes is not necessarily blocked by Grandal. Gonzalez is signed through 2018. At that point Grandal could move to first and Barnes could take over catching. Ellis is a free agent after the season and will be 35. The Dodgers could make a qualifying offer to humor Kershaw and pray Ellis doesn’t take it or they could just let AJ walk with the promise to bring him back as a coach when he retires. Barnes could back up Grandal in 2017 and 2018.

    The Dodgers have only one first basemen among their top 30 prospects, Cody Bellinger, who is ranked no. 10, meaning he probably never makes it as a major league starter.

    I’m not saying they shouldn’t trade Barnes, just that he could one day be the starting catcher if he stays. He also can play second.

  4. Blue, I like Barnes. I would love to see him stick.  But realistically in order to get a McGee or Boxberger, the Dodgers are going to have to include Kike’ or Barnes.  Tampa loves the utility player, always looking for their next Ben Zobrist.  It’s just that I would rather have that 8th inning lockdown setup more than Austin Barnes.  Maybe live to regret it in 2018, but who knows what opportunities there will be then.

  5. Blue58 AlwaysCompete Blue I agree and I like Barnes but do not forget we have Farmer and Deleon in the pipe line and they grade out to possibly be better than Barnes.
    Unlike some I really like Ellis. His pitch calling and planning for games is amazing. Even Grandal has remarked how much he has learned from Ellis. Plus Ellis is a much better overall catcher than Grandal only excels in the stat of Pitch Framing something  that Scioscia calls a BS stat…

  6. davidboys8 AlwaysCompete Lets see AJ is a better catcher?? He is a better pitch caller, He blocks balls in the dirt Much better and he throws out runners better… 
    Grandal is a better pitch framer.. The stat Scioscia calls a BS Stat… 
    Oh he also has a much better batting avg in the playoffs…

  7. I would make this trade in a NY minute. I really like Barnes but we have Farmer and Deleon in the pipeline. Barnes is a lot to give up and Lee would fit in well  in Tampa think as a 4 or 5 starter to eat up innings but thee is no chance for him here. 
    Boxberger oi a very good reliever and has great stuff.

  8. Tmaxster davidboys8 AlwaysCompete AJ better catcher than Grandal? Are you being serious? It’s not close, Grandal was hurt last year so to say AJ is a better hitter in the playoffs is not fair. AJ is a well below average hitter, that’s been proven.

  9. davidboys8 Tmaxster AlwaysCompete I think they compliment each other pretty well. I’m not sure that Ellis is that much better a pitch caller. Grandal was Greinke’s principal catcher last year and Zack had the best year of his career. Grandal’s tendency toward injury worries me, as does his abundant ego, but pitch framing, regardless of Scisoscia says, is measurable and gives pitchers an added edge.
    The biggest difference is that Grandal is 27 and entering the prime of his career and Ellis is 34 and a year from free agency.
    Last year I thought the Dodgers did not get enough in the Kemp trade, but I’ve changed my mind. A decent catcher who can hit with power is hard to find and Grandal, if he can stay healthy, seems like one such catcher. Plus he can move to first when Gonzalez moves on or retires.

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