Buyers or Sellers
Buyers. Following an indifferent start and, Yasiel Puig notwithstanding, an uninspiring May and early June, the Dodgers found themselves, on June 22, 9.5 games out of first and at a season-low 12 games below .500. Since then they have ripped off a 17-4 run, cutting the Diamondbacks' lead to 2.5 games and re-establishing themselves in the soft NL West race. While still below .500, the Dodgers were built in the offseason to win and win now. On the back of their recent surge, they will be looking to add, with the only subtraction coming, possibly, from their list of qualified outfielders in Puig, Carl Crawford, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier (hint: it won’t be Puig and Kemp is on the DL with shoulder irritation).
What they Need
With an Opening Day payroll of $216 million (roughly 8.9x the Astros), the Dodgers appear to need little, but then again the Dodgers have received little for their money. The Dodgers currently have $59 million (roughly 2.5x Houston Astros) worth of former All-Stars on the DL in Kemp, Ted Lilly, Chad Billingsley and Josh Beckett. Other highly paid pieces like Ethier and Adrian Gonzalez have underperformed. The holes left by Billingsley and Beckett may have been filled, in part, by the recent addition of former Marlin Ricky Nolasco. However, they could use some complementary pieces in their young bullpen and help at second base, where the Nick Punto/Mark Ellis combination scares roughly no one.
What Might Work
Glen Perkins. The Dodgers could do with a proven closer for the stretch drive and Perkins is the most valuable chip the Twins can put in play. The Dodgers have bounced between closers this year, featuring both the disastrous Brandon League and the better Kenley Jansen. Most recently, Don Mattingly ousted League from the role on June 11. Bringing in a closer like Perkins would allow the Dodgers to move Jansen back to a set-up role and scrap League altogether, since his ERA has risen each month this season.
While Perkins is not a certain trade chip from a financial standpoint (he’s cheap and under team control through 2016), he would start a bidding war if put on the market. The Dodgers have what the Twins lack: young starting pitching that could reach the majors as early as next season.
Matt Magill - 23 - RHP - AAA
Magill made six starts for the Dodgers this season. While his control was disastrous (28 walks in 27 ⅔ innings), his strikeout numbers and near major-league readiness make him an intriguing option. He won’t see much of the big-league mound in LA with all the veteran names in front of him, so perhaps the Dodgers would be willing to deal him?
Jesmuel Valentin - SS - Low A
gamble on Valentin is a gamble that he will learn how to hit, which may never happen. He’s not posted an average higher than .212 in four low minor-league stops. However, the Twins have been looking for middle infielders since seemingly the dawn of time and Valentin (the son of former longtime big leaguer Jose Valentin) will likely stick at shortstop as he rises through the system. He’ll never be an offensive juggernaut, but neither is Pedro Florimon.
Onelki Garcia - LHP - 22 - AA
Garcia, like Puig, is a Cuban defector. Unlike Puig, and most other Cuban ballplayers, Garcia was actually drafted (3rd round, 2012). He pitched two innings at class A Rancho Cucamonga last year, and struck out four of the six hitters he faced. He’s continued to miss bats in Chattanooga this season, striking out 40 in 38 innings while posting a 2.84 ERA in 16 appearances (six starts). A beast at 6’3” 220 from the left side, the fast rising Garcia could be worth a look.
Yasiel Pu...- Just kidding. Honestly, there isn’t a ton to love in this farm system, but if the Dodgers do come sniffing around Glen Perkins, the Twins might want to start their negotiating with young shortstop/third baseman Corey Seager. The younger brother of Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager is only 19, and put up impressive debut numbers at rookie level Ogden in 2012 and is following that up with a .302/.388 /.491 season with 8 HR and 43 RBI at low-A Great Lakes this season. At 6’4” 215 (so far) his future may lie at third base (a location where Miguel Sano has a lease with an option to buy), but he’s the best the slim Dodger prospect list has to offer, and you can always find a home for good players.