Major League Baseball’s Aug. 31 trade deadline is quickly approaching, and the Los Angeles Dodgers near that date as one of baseball’s most complete teams in 2020. Entering Thursday, the Dodgers own the best record in baseball at 22-9. After their blockbuster trade for superstar outfielder Mookie Betts this past offseason, the club has all of the right pieces to succeed in this abbreviated season, and all they’ll be doing at this trade deadline is exploring any options that will help them break through and win it all.

Dodgers starters have the fourth-best ERA in baseball at 3.49 while the bullpen ranks second-best in the league with a 2.00 ERA. As for the Dodgers offense, the club has a 77-plus run differential and leads the league in home runs (61) and runs scored (179). And those numbers are all with the club’s three big left-handed bats (Cody Bellinger, Joc Pederson and Max Muncy) struggling to start the season.

The Dodgers are built to be the deepest team in baseball and the talent is incredibly impressive, so it’s tough to find a weakness for this team. There just aren’t too many right now.

With that being said, let’s take a look at the Dodgers’ biggest needs, targets and trade chips before the Aug. 31 deadline.

Biggest needs

Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman doesn’t have to make any big splashes at this year’s trade deadline.
USATI

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts doesn’t think that the club will need to make any major changes or additions at this year’s trade deadline. He feels his club is in a really good spot entering the final month of this abbreviated 60-game season.

“This is sort of sneaking up on me,” Dave Roberts said of the Aug. 31 trade deadline. “I don’t know if it’s the lack of anticipation, the lack of need when you look at our ball club. But obviously Andrew [Friedman] and the baseball ops guys, they’re going to be kicking tires until the end and seeing if there’s anything on the margins that we can get better.”

Roberts has a point. The Dodgers focus prior to Aug. 31 is going to be on keeping up the good work they’ve already shown in 2020. There’s less focus on going out and knocking things off their shopping list because they’ve been able to be successful thanks to their talent and depth. If we have to pinpoint some of the Dodgers needs, it could be focused on securing a right-handed bat to balance out their lefty-heavy lineup and/or adding another starter.

“We’re not looking around our team right now, saying we have an acute need at this position, let’s go out and get the best one that we can. We feel really good about our group, the depth, even some of the guys we have at the alternate site at USC,” Friedman told SportsNet LA ahead of the deadline.

“It’s not something that we feel like we need to address a specific position. That being said, we don’t want to be closed off to the possibility of something lining up that really makes sense.”

It’ll could be be a quiet trade deadline for the Dodgers.

Possible targets

Again, the Dodgers rotation has been solid this year. But, Rangers right-hander Lance Lynn could offer the Dodgers some experience and reassurance if Ross Stripling were to be pushed out of the rotation and moved into a relief role. Lynn, 33, is under contract through 2021. After Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler, Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin are still young and Julio Urias hasn’t been entirely consistent this season. Plus, the Dodgers lost Hyun-Jin Ryu, Kenta Maeda and Rich Hill via free agency this past offseason, while new acquisition lefty David Price decided to opt-out of the 2020 season. Andrew Friedman and company would certainly benefit from the addition of a proven veteran arm, but they should be okay even without one. Acquiring Lynn (or any starter, for that matter) would improve their already loaded rotation, but also allow guys like Ross Stripling or Julio Urias to transition into the bullpen.

The addition of a big right-handed bat could prove to be valuable to L.A. at this year’s trade deadline, which brings us to highlight Royals’ Whit Merrifield. Merrifield, 31, has been mentioned as a trade candidate frequently in the past few years. He’s signed through 2022 with a $10.5 million option for 2023, and the Royals are still years away from becoming a full-fledged contender once again. Merrifield might also be able to replace Enrique Hernandez as better suited for a role as a Dodgers super-utility player if the team wants to move some younger talent to acquire him.

Trade chips

Joc Pederson is under club control through the end of this season, and he’s eligible for free agency this winter. This past offseason, the outfielder was rumored to be connected to a trade with the Angels before discussions dissolved. So, it’s possible the Dodgers will at least try to shop him again come this year’s trade deadline. Pederson, 28, hasn’t had a great start at the plate this season, but there are some teams out there who would still consider him a power bat to bolster a lineup. The Dodgers already have a jam-packed outfield, so if Pederson is dealt, it wouldn’t impact the Dodgers lineup as they continue their run to the postseason.

Like Pederson, Dodgers starter Ross Stripling was also mentioned to be included in that aforementioned trade this offseason. Stripling, 30, has struggled in his recent starts this season, but he still has the stuff if he can work out his recent fastball efficiency issues. He’s signed through the end of the season, and the Dodgers could consider moving him at this year’s trade deadline. The club already has quality starting pitchers in the mix with Tony Gonsolin waiting at the team’s alternate training site and lefty Alex Wood working to return from the injured list.

CBS Sports’ RJ Anderson also took a look at what prospects the Dodgers might use in a deadline deal earlier this week.

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