Dodgers Trade Rumors: Focus Remains On ‘Elite, Late-Inning’ Relief Pitchers

The Los Angeles Dodgers enter play Tuesday well on their way to a seventh consecutive National League West title and 1.5 games up on the New York Yankees for the best record in baseball. Of course, how the 2019 Dodgers will ultimately be judged hinges on the postseason.

And how the team fares in October figures to very much be connected to their bullpen — similar to years past. The Dodgers’ group of relief pitchers have struggled with consistency thus far in 2019, and it’s been area L.A. is speculated to seek improvement in before the July 31 trade deadline.

The Dodgers have been connected to several prominent relievers, including All-Stars Brad Hand, Will Smith and Felipe Vazquez, among others.

According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Dodgers’ focus heading into the final week before the trade deadline is on top-shelf relief pitchers:

Sources say the Dodgers, running away with the NL West, continue to work toward a narrow but ambitious goal before July 31 deadline: Adding elite, late-inning relief help. Few needs for LAD — but an important upgrade to fill the only real problem area.

— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 23, 2019

With MLB eliminating waiver trades in August, the singular deadline hasn’t yet created more movement. Several teams remain in the postseason hunt, which has delayed decisions on whether to be buyers or sellers.

Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman noted as much, and said the front office is preparing for a slew of options, including contingencies. Friedman also reiterated that while the Dodgers will operate aggressively, it will not come at the expense of the future.

Who is ultimately available and who may end up with the Dodgers is largely a guessing game at this point, but what can be certain is Friedman will be active. He’s completed at least one trade before every deadline since being hired as Dodgers president of baseball operations.

Most notably, Friedman acquired Rich Hill and Josh Reddick in 2016, then Yu Darvish the following year, and Manny Machado last season.