Weeks of speculation that the Los Angeles Dodgers are targeting bullpen help has boiled down to a handful of hours with the one and only MLB trade deadline rapidly approaching at 1 p.m. PT on Wednesday.
With the Dodgers’ glaring weakness lying in their crop of relief pitchers, the club has been linked to a slew of potential trades, including deals for Pittsburgh Pirates All-Star Felipe Vazquez, New York Mets closer Edwin Diaz, and San Francisco Giants southpaws Will Smith and Tony Watson, among others.
Pirates general manager Neal Huntington has publicly maintained Vazquez would not be traded at Wednesday’s deadline, but it’s also been reported talks involving the 28-year-old have continued.
There similarly have been conflicting reports on the Mets’ possible plans with Diaz — and Noah Syndergaard for that matter — in the wake of trading for Marcus Stroman.
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, interest in Vazquez has continued to rise, and the Mets’ asking price on Diaz remains substantial:
The Pirates began listening more actively on left-hander Felipe Vázquez on Tuesday, and one source on Wednesday morning described his market as “hot,” predicting the closer nicknamed “The Nightmare” now stood a 50-50 chance of getting moved. The Dodgers also have talked to the Mets about Edwin Díaz, but the ask for him, too, is said to be high.
If the the Pirates were to trade Vazquez to the Dodgers, it’s believed they covet a return that includes two of Gavin Lux, Dustin May and Keibert Ruiz. While the Pirates are said to have a high level of interest in Ruiz, they more recently were mentioned as wanting Lux in return.
There has yet to be any indication the Dodgers are willing to part with any of their top prospects, but if one is likely to be moved, Ruiz is considered by most the favorite. The Dodgers’ desire to retain Lux reportedly bogged down trade talks with Pittsburgh.
Vazquez, then Felipe Rivero, signed a four-year, $22 million contract with the Pirates in January 2018. His deal also includes $10 million team options for fifth and sixth seasons, extending team control through the 2023 season.
Diaz similarly remains under contract for multiple years, though via in salary arbitration in each of the next three seasons. He would then become a free agent after the 2022 campaign.
While Diaz not being a rental is seemingly a factor in the Mets’ seeking a significant return, he’s struggled mightily after an All-Star campaign with the Seattle Mariners. The 25-year-old blew his fifth save of the season on Tuesday night.