SAN FRANCISCO — Though a flurry of trades in recent years has depleted some of the depth in the Dodgers’ farm system, the team’s top decision-maker believes he has enough prospect capital to acquire an ace-caliber pitcher such as Max Scherzer or Jose Barrios before Friday’s trade deadline.
“I think we have a really good system right now,” Andrew Friedman, the team’s president of baseball operations, said this week. “And the top end of our system, I think, is really strong.”
Venezuelan catchers Keibert Ruiz and Diego Cartaya are believed to be among the most coveted Dodgers prospects in trade talks, and pitchers Josiah Gray, Bobby Miller and Ryan Pepiot are sure to garner interest.
It doesn’t always take a bundle of top prospects to acquire a rental player such as Scherzer, the Washington Nationals ace who is in the final year of a seven-year, $210-million deal and reportedly would prefer to be traded to one of the three National League West contenders.
With the trade deadline on Friday, The Times provides real-time updates and analysis on all the transactions in Major League Baseball.
In 2017, the Dodgers acquired right-hander Yu Darvish, who was in the final year of a six-year, $56-million deal with the Texas Rangers, for No. 4-rated prospect Willie Calhoun, No. 17-ranked A.J. Alexy and No 27-ranked Brendon Davis.
Calhoun hit .300 with 31 homers and 93 RBIs in 128 triple-A games in 2017 and has been OK but not great for the Rangers, hitting .248 with a .722 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, 30 homers and 95 RBIs in 219 big-league games over the last five years.
Alexy, an 11th-round pick of the Dodgers in 2016, was a 19-year-old Class-A pitcher at the time of the trade. Davis, a fifth-round pick in 2015, was a 19-year-old Class-A infielder. Neither has risen above the double-A level.
But with the Dodgers battling the San Francisco Giants, San Diego Padres and several other teams for Scherzer, and Berrios, the Minnesota Twins ace, under club control through 2022, it will likely take a sweeter package of prospects to acquire either of the right-handers than it did to get Darvish.
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A closer look at the Dodgers’ top trade chips:
Keibert Ruiz (C)
The 23-year-old switch-hitter, the team’s top-rated prospect according to MLB Pipeline, is more advanced offensively than defensively, combining elite contact skills with power to hit .311 with a 1.012 OPS, 16 homers and 45 RBIs in 52 games for triple-A Oklahoma City this season. He’s hit two homers in 15 at-bats for the Dodgers over the last two seasons.
Josiah Gray (RHP)
A converted shortstop who was a second-round pick of the Reds in 2018, Gray, 23, combines a lively 95-mph fastball with a mid-80s power slider and an upper-70s curveball. Gray, the team’s second-ranked prospect, was limited by a shoulder impingement to four triple-A games this season and is filling in for the injured Clayton Kershaw in the Dodgers’ rotation.
Bobby Miller (RHP)
The organization’s fifth-ranked prospect, Miller, 22, was a first-round pick out of Louisville in 2020. The 6-foot-5, 220-pounder mixes a fastball that sits in the 96-mph range and touches 99 mph with a sharp mid-80s slider and an improving changeup. He is 2-2 with a 2.03 ERA in 13 games for double-A Tulsa, striking out 53 and walking 11 in 44 1/3 innings.
Diego Cartaya (C)
The 19-year-old Cartaya, the sixth-ranked prospect in the system, was considered the top international prospect when he signed for $2.5 million in 2018. He has good plate discipline and contact skills for a teenager, he moves well and has soft hands behind the plate. Cartaya is batting .298 with a 1.023 OPS, 10 homers and 31 RBIs in 31 games for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga.
Ryan Pepiot (RHP)
The organization’s seventh-ranked prospect, Pepiot, 23, features a fastball that sits between 93-96 mph, a sharp low-80s slider and an upper-70s curve, but his best pitch is a changeup with lots of fading action. Pepiot, who adds deception with a cross-body delivery, is 3-4 with a 2.87 ERA at double-A Tulsa, with 81 strikeouts and 26 walks in 59 2/3 innings.