One of the worst-kept secrets, if it can still be considered such, is the Los Angeles Dodgers’ desire to acquire relief help prior to the July 31 trade deadline.
Like in previous years, there’s been plenty of speculation tying the Dodgers to prominent players who may be available on the trading block. With a focus seemingly on left-handed relief pitchers, the Dodgers are believed to have interest in Brad Hand, Will Smith and Felipe Vazquez, among others.
Whether the San Francisco Giants will be sellers at the deadline is no longer as apparent, while Pirates general manager Neal Huntington has continued to publicly state the club doesn’t have any intention on trading Vazquez.
That doesn’t appear to have deterred the Dodgers, however, as they reportedly have the 28-year-old as their top target, according to Jon Morosi of MLB.com:
Pirates closer Felipe Vázquez is the Dodgers’ first choice among possible bullpen acquisitions, sources say. While the price will be steep, one source said on Friday that the Pirates have spoken about Vazquez more extensively with the Dodgers than other suitors.
If the Dodgers are to move forward with a trade for Vazquez, the Pirates are believed to covet a return that would be headlined by Keibert Ruiz and Dustin May:
One industry source said the Pirates are likely to establish the asking price at May and Ruiz — and perhaps one additional player — in their talks with the Dodgers.
Ruiz is widely considered the top prospect in the Dodgers’ farm system, while May is their top Minor League pitcher. Both have previously been mentioned in trade speculation, particularly Ruiz.
Earlier this month, it was said the Pirates sought two from May, Ruiz, Gavin Lux and Will Smith in order to trade Vazquez. In June, a report indicated the Pirates would want a trade offer to begin with Ruiz.
Considering how Smith has performed in his brief time in the Majors, and given Lux’s success with Triple-A Oklahoma City, the Dodgers might be unlikely to deal either. That could apply to May as well.
Meanwhile, although a highly-touted prospect himself, Ruiz wasn’t quite yet deemed Major-League ready when the Dodgers looked for a temporary solution when Austin Barnes went on the 10-day injured list with a strained groin.
Ruiz was promoted to Triple-A this month for the first time in his career. Over the past year Ruiz has been named in trade rumors involving J.T. Realmuto, Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and others.