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Los Angeles Dodgers: Scooter Gennett is the smartest trade target

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Manny Machado and the Los Angeles Dodgers have been linked all season long. However, due to what many assume is a massive trade return that the Baltimore Orioles are asking for, nothing has happened yet.

That has led to the Dodgers exploring other trade options outside of Manny Machado. One of those options being Brian Dozier, who would be a terrible trade target for the Dodgers to consider.
Asdrubal Cabrera is another player that the Dodgers have reportedly checked in on. And while Cabrera is fine, he doesn’t shift the rest of the team’ season.
Instead of Machado, Dozier or Cabrera, the Los Angeles Dodgers should be most interested in Cincinnati Reds’ second baseman, and all-star, Scooter Gennett. Gennett is among the three new infielders that the Dodgers have checked in on and easily is the smartest trade target.

Gennett is hitting .322 with 14 home runs, 58 RBIs and a .876 OPS. While he is hitting in a hitter-friendly park, Gennett is actually hitting better on the road — .335 opposed to .308. This includes a .714 batting average in Dodger Stadium.

Even before Gennett broke out he has always been fine at hitting left-handed pitching. Now, Gennett is seeing right-handed pitching and left-handed pitching fairly well and gives the Dodgers their everyday starter at second base.

While he would obviously take off-days, there is no reason for Dave Roberts to shuffle the position on a nightly basis just to get a good matchup. Gennett matches up well with anyone.
What makes Gennett so intriguing is that he is much more than a three-month rental. Gennett is under team control next season and fills the Dodgers’ impending hole at second base. This gives infield prospect, Gavin Lux, one more year to progress into the minor leagues before hopefully making his debut at second base in 2020.

Lux was the Dodgers’ first-round pick in 2016 and has been involved in trade talks for Manny Machado. It would be better to keep Lux around as he is hitting .317 with nine home runs, 40 RBIs and a .897 OPS as the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes’ lead-off hitter.

Los Angeles would have to send the Reds a nice trade package, however, it may end up being less than what they would have to give up for Machado. Even though Machado is only having a slightly better season, his trade value is much higher simply due to his name and intrigue.

For Gennett, the Dodgers can send a package headlined by number one prospect (according to MLB Pipeline) Alex Verdugo and number eight prospect Yadier Alvarez; two prospects that have been thrown into the Machado sweepstakes.

Alongside Verdugo and Alvarez, the Dodgers can send Logan Forsythe, who is on an expiring contract, and number 28 prospect Rylan Bannon. Bannon may only be ranked 28th but the infielder is hitting .300 with 19 home runs and 57 RBIs for the Quakes this season. Bannon is a career .311 hitter in the minor leagues.




Dodgers: Orioles Eyeing Dustin May and Gavin Lux

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It seems to be a matter of when not if Machado will be traded. With his departure from the Orioles looming this upcoming off-season, it makes perfect sense for the Orioles to deal him now and acquire prospects rather than lose him for nothing.

For a rebuilding team like the Orioles, acquiring prospects to speed up their rebuilding is the route they will take. Luckily for them, they have a multitude of teams bidding for the services of Machado. And of those teams, four have stood out as top contenders to trade for him, and all 4 have some of the best and deepest farm systems in the bigs.
It is becoming more likely that top-tier prospects are not going to be included in an eventual deal for Machado. This is because nobody really knows what he will do this upcoming off-season and giving up a top level prospect like Walker Buehler for a two-three month rental is not logical.

Thus, the current rumors have circulated around two upper-mid-level prospects in the Dodgers organization. Dustin May and Gavin Lux.

Dustin May is a big projectable right-handed pitcher. Standing at 6’6 he has the prototypical build for a pitcher. He is long and still should fill into his body as he is listed at just 180 pounds. At just 20 years old, May is already the organizations 3rd or 4th best pitching prospect depending on which rankings you are looking at.

May, has been good this season in Rancho Cucamonga. He has thrown 72 innings and has a 3.13 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. Above all else, the kid throws strikes. Something that tends to trouble young pitchers is his command; May has walked just 13 batters in those 72 innings. He is a pitcher through and through.

His velocity currently sits at 91-92 with 2-seam action and a curveball to compliment. But like I mentioned earlier he is still filling into his frame, and an uptick in velocity would be no surprise for the 6’6 righty. He might never be the ace of a staff, but he could be a solid 2 or 3 starter and has the makeup to be in the MLB for a longtime.
Gavin Lux was a first-round selection by the Dodgers back in 2016, and that came with high expectations during his first season with the organizations. He, unfortunately, faltered under those expectations in 2017 and had a woeful season. He was supposed to be the heir to Corey Seager’s throne because people expected Seager to eventually move to third base.

After his first season, those expectations died down a bit and has sort of become lost in the shuffle of prospects and has not been getting much attention from fans, with the likes of Keibert Ruiz, Walker Buehler, Alex Verdugo and Dennis Santana all getting the shine.

Perhaps that was better for the left-handed hitting shortstop, because early into this season he has vastly improved on a bad 2017. Bumping his OPS from .693 last year to .905 this year. He has already surpassed his home run total and has done so in nearly 40 games less.

Lux is the top rated middle infield prospect in the Dodgers organization. The Dodgers have a plethora of outfield, pitching and especially catching depth, however, the middle infield has been a problem since the graduation of Corey Seager to the big league club. This lack of depth is what might be making the Dodgers hesitant to pull the trigger on a trade including Lux.

As good as Dustin May is and can be, he is a piece that is moveable because of the pitching depth available to the Dodgers. He is projectable and has already grown out of the flaws that young pitchers have, he is very polished and would be missed but moving him is something the Dodgers have the pieces to work with.

On the other end of the spectrum, there is Gavin Lux. Not many middle infield prospects are available for the Dodgers in their current farm system. However, the question is; do they really need MIF depth with Seager as the long-term shortstop?
Yes, Lux looks to be headed in the right direction and if he continues to improve will be a very good player, but when would he get a shot to play with the Dodgers. Seager has answered any doubts there was of him being able to play MLB level shortstop. Outside from throwing issues because of his bad elbow, Seager was as reliable as they come in his 2 seasons with the Dodgers.

Seager did have Tommy John surgery, and maybe that could affect his future at shortstop, but I highly doubt that. The recovery rate from that surgery is very high, and most of those numbers are coming from pitchers who are throwing the ball much more often. So I believe Seager will be back to normal when getting back to the club.

So moving Lux and May to get Machado makes sense to me.  It may take a bit more than that to get the deal done, but if those 2 are the best pieces being moved I would pull the trigger.

The deal makes sense (other than the glaring need for relievers) for the Dodgers. It is something that could help them win now. Adding a bat like Machado to an already deep lineup is big. This would likely force Forsythe out of the lineup in favor of Chris Taylor, and that is a big reason for the interest in Machado.




Stripling joins Kemp, Jansen on NL All-Star team

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SAN DIEGO -- Every ballplayer wants to be an All-Star, Ross Stripling included, but he didn't realize how much until Sunday in Anaheim, when Max Muncy was poring over an All-Star information sheet, one of the administrative necessities of the Final Vote process.

"Disappointed was not the right word, because I did fine, but I wanted it. Muncy's over there filling it out and I'm like, I want to be there," said Stripling, who finally received the first All-Star berth of his career on Wednesday, when he was added to the National League squad for this year's All-Star Game in Washington, D.C.

Stripling replaces the Cardinals' Miles Mikolas, who is pitching on Sunday and will be unavailable for Tuesday's Midsummer Classic.
Stripling has been a breakout star of the Dodgers pitching staff over the first half of the season. The 28-year-old is 7-2 with a 2.22 ERA and 103 strikeouts in 89 1/3 innings.

After opening the season in the bullpen, Stripling moved into Los Angeles' starting rotation after it was hit hard by injuries. He's been a major reason why the Dodgers have stayed in contention in the NL West even as key starting pitchers like ace Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill spent multiple stints on the disabled list.

Stripling joins a pair of his Dodgers teammates on the NL All-Star team -- outfielder Matt Kemp and closer Kenley Jansen -- with the team also managed by Dodgers skipper Dave Roberts.
Stripling said he got in "through the back door" as a replacement, but he's not complaining.

"The disappointment would have been, who knows how long I'll play, who knows if I'd make another team?" he said. "When you look at the [original] roster, who doesn't deserve to be there? They all deserve to be there. I'm kind of coming in the back door. It'll be fun. Glad I made it. I'm not disappointed didn't make the first team."

He is proud, however, considering his path.

"From where I started, coming off TJ [Tommy John] surgery, making the team in '16, and finding my way into the bullpen and starting this season in the bullpen and guys go down and just being someone the team can count on to take the ball every fifth day," he said. "To be an All-Star midway through is special and something I'll remember forever."

And he planned to begin his homework during batting practice on Wednesday.

"I'm about to pepper [seven-time All-Star Clayton] Kershaw and Alex [Wood, an All-Star last year] in the outfield on what to expect, what to wear, things like that," Stripling said.
Kemp was voted by fans onto the starting lineup as one of three outfielders for the NL. It will be his third All-Star appearance, but first since 2012 in a Comeback Player of the Year Award-caliber season after his reacquisition in an offseason trade with Atlanta that was largely seen as a salary swap.

"For Matt to come back to Los Angeles and be voted in by the fans, I don't think he'll let on how much this means to him, but it's well deserved," said Roberts.

Jansen will be making his third consecutive All-Star appearance despite a rocky start to the season after management instituted a casual Spring Training in response to last year's heavy workload. Jansen was voted in by his peers.

"It feels more special than the first two. Those I pretty much knew I'd be an All-Star, but this one, very slow April, I took all the criticism and put it on my shoulder and motivated me," said Jansen. "This is special, to hear the players voted for you. I turned my season around, and it means a lot."
While watching the 2018 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard live on FOX on Tuesday, fans can submit their choices for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet with the 2018 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote.

The 89th Midsummer Classic, at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 180 countries. FOX Deportes will provide Spanish-language coverage in the United States, while ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network, MLB.com and SiriusXM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage.




San Diego Padres: Eric Lauer Dominant Against Los Angeles Dodgers

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In a season full of frustrating moments for the San Diego Padres, Tuesday night was one of the more impressive, feel-good moments of 2018. Eric Lauer, a rookie pitcher who had many fans questioning his ability to stick, came within one out of pitching a shutout against the hated Los Angeles Dodgers. Unfortunately, a two-out solo home run by this year’s biggest surprise in baseball, Max Muncy, ended the shutout attempt and the night for Eric Lauer.

His final line for the night: 8.2 IP, 4 hits, 1 ER, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts, 115 pitches (73 strikes).

Lauer is making a habit of owning the Dodgers. In 14-plus innings thus far, he has conceded 11 hits, one earned run, three walks, and has struck out 13. Another important feather to Lauer’s cap, Matt Kemp went 0-for-4 against him last night, striking out on all four occasions.
After dominating the Dodgers on the mound, Lauer endeared himself to the fanbase, telling reporters after the game, “It’s the Dodgers, man. Nobody likes the Dodgers.” He gets it.

After a rough start to his rookie season, Lauer seems to have settled into the Padres’ starting pitching line-up. With yesterday’s outing, Lauer lowered his ERA to 4.40. He is 2-0 in July, pitching to 1.32 ERA  with a 1.10 WHIP in those two starts.

In what should be considered a good sign for Padres, Eric Lauer has taken giant strides with every start.  His earned run average and opponent’s batting average have dropped significantly from month to month.

April: 10.13 ERA/.351 average
May: 6.75 ERA/ .347 average
June: 2.76 ERA/.279 average
July: 1.32 ERA/ .225 average
Much of his recent success can be attributed to his new cut-fastball and continued increase in his velocity. Lauer hit 95 mph last night, continuing to throw 93-94 in the 7th and 8th innings. In many of his early starts, his average fastball velocity struggled to reach 89 mph.
We also can’t forget to mention that he picked off his ninth baserunner last night. He needs just four more to break the all-time Padres record for pickoffs in a season. It’s only July 11th.
San Diego Padres need Eric Lauer to do well.
With the impending July 31st trade deadline, the San Diego Padres are expected to make a number of moves to help clear up positional log jams and find pieces that fit into the future plans of the team. One would have to believe that  A.J.Preller will try to maximize the value for players like Tyson Ross and maybe even Clayton Richard.

No one is still quite sure what the team has in Luis Perdomo. After a successful stint in AAA and a decent return to the majors, Perdomo was rocked in his last outing, against the Dodgers. However, the confidence in Joey Lucchesi and Eric Lauer seem to be rising. Both have exhibited the stuff to fill out back-of-the-rotation spots for the Padres.





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