The Dodgers bullpen is a mess this year. Even with a spotless two games in Anaheim, Los Angeles relievers enter Thursday with a 4.88 ERA that ranks 29th in the majors. It’s strong at the top with Evan Phillips, plus solid work by Brusdar Graterol and Caleb Ferguson, but shallow beyond that.
Daniel Hudson has already shifted his minor rehab to Triple-A Oklahoma City, and will be back from the injured list soon. That Shelby Miller is expected to miss three to four weeks with neck pain is a setback.
As a result it’s likely we see the Dodgers try and acquire some bullpen help by the trade deadline deadline. Down below we are going to break down three potential trades we might see come August 1.
Dodgers acquire: LHP Sam Moll
Oakland A’s acquire: C Dalton Rushing
Sam Moll is one of the most underrated relievers in the league. He’s in the 85th percentile or better in average exit velo against, hard hit percentage, xSLG and barrel percentage whilst being well above average in multiple other analytics. Moll is an awkward at bat for opposing lefties due to his lower arm slot and ability to hide the ball from them. Sure, being a bit more difficult on lefties doesn’t hold the same weight in today’s MLB as it used to but nonetheless it adds value to what he brings. Moll has a sinker/sweeper combo that is dominant for him as they have a xBA against of .213 and .188 and xSLG of .292 and .252, respectively.
The price on Moll is difficult to figure because he is still a year and a half away from his first season of arbitration. Additionally, he isn’t an overly high profile commodity across the league which should help keep his price low. Dalton Rushing has played his way into the top 100 prospects in MLB, which makes this a hefty price.
Dodgers acquire - Scott Barlow
Royals acquire - Josue De Paula and Yeiner Fernandez
The most high-profile name amongst these trades, Barlow would walk in as arguably the Dodgers best or second best reliever. His spin rates, movement and velocity don’t jump off the page but he is still one of the league’s better bullpen arms. He’s in the 85th or better percentile in chase rate, whiff rate, xBA, average exit velocity and hard-hit percentage. His curveball, which he throws 29 percent of the time, is far and away his best pitch as it carries a whiff rate of 40 percent and xBA against of .125. In addition to that, he throws a plus slider and a solid sinker.
The package is a bit expensive as the Dodgers would be giving up their 11th- and 14th-best prospects per MLB Pipeline. If the Royals are seeking only one prospect, look for them to try and acquire one of the Dodgers MLB-ready arms like Ryan Pepiot or Gavin Stone.
Dodgers acquire - Adbert Alzolay
Cubs acquire - Ryan Pepiot
Alzolay has quietly been amongst the best relievers in the game this year. He has pitched to a 2.16 xERA with a BB rate of just 4.9 percent. Additionally, he’s in the 81st or better percentile in xBA, average exit velo, xSLG, barrel rate and hard-hit percentage. As a former starter, Alzolay does have a six pitch arsenal that he works off of with his two best pitches being his slider and sinker which both have xwOBA’s against of .235 or lower. If there is one complaint about Alzolay it’s that he’s about league average with a 60th-percentile whiff rate.
The Cubs made a similar trade last year when they traded Scott Effross for Hayden Wesneski and I think they’ll look to do a similar move this deadline. After this season Alzolay will only have three years of control compared to Pepiot who has five additional years.