The MLB Trade Deadline ended with a bang, but the Dodgers went out with a whimper.
On a relatively quiet start to the trade deadline, the Dodgers were involved in a lot of discussions, but ended the day without the big name reliever they coveted and had been linked to in recent weeks.
Instead, the Dodgers acquired infielder Jedd Gyorko, international cap space, and cash considerations from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for left-handed pitcher Tony Cingrani and right-handed pitcher Jeffry Abreu.
In a second trade that was announced just seconds after the Houston Astros acquired former Dodger pitcher Zack Greinke in a bombshell deal, Los Angeles acquired left-hander Adam Kolarek from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for minor league outfielder Niko Hulsizer.
The relatively minor moves are on par with other recent moves the Dodgers front office has made in the last week; acquiring Tyler White from the Astros, Kristopher Negron from the Mariners, traded Zac Rosscup to the Cardinals, and signed free agent Tyler Thornburg.
However, none of these moves came anywhere close to some of the other big name transactions that occurred on Wednesday:
The Milwaukee Brewers acquired LHP Drew Pomeranz from the San Francisco Giants.
The Oakland Athletics acquired RHP Tanner Roark from the Cincinnati Reds.
The Washington Nationals acquired RHP Daniel Hudson, LHP Roenis Elias, and Hunter Strickland.
The Philadelphia Phillies acquired Corey Dickerson from the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Atlanta Braves acquired Shane Greene from the Detroit Tigers, and Mark Melancon from the San Francisco Giants.
The Chicago Cubs acquired Tony Kemp and Nicholas Casellanos.
The Astros made the biggest impact of the day acquiring Zack Greinke, Aaron Sanchez, Martin Maldonado, and Joe Biagini.
The day began with high hopes for the Dodgers who expected to be a major player in the relief pitcher market. For over a month, the team had their sights set on the top three relievers available in Felipe Vazquez, Edwin Diaz, and Shane Greene.
According to sources with knowledge of the discussions, the Dodgers began with Vazquez, but Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington appeared unwilling to back off his high asking price of at least two of the Dodgers top four prospects. Reportedly, the Pirates were asking for a package of No. 1 prospect Gavin Lux (No. 10) and Dustin May (No. 35) in Baseball America's Top 100 list, and more.
The team pivoted to New York Mets closer Edwin Diaz, but General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen believes the Mets can still compete this season and next, and reportedly did not want to sell Diaz at a lower price than he paid in December when he acquired him from the Seattle Mariners.
Next, the Dodgers engaged in talks with the Tigers on Greene. Other teams were interested as well, including the Atlanta Braves who sources said were in the lead over Los Angeles.
However, as talks continued, the Braves bullpen blew a three-run lead against the Nationals, and Alex Anthopoulos decide to pull the trigger, acquiring Greene and Melancon in separate deals.
With their top backup options off the board, the Dodgers pivoted to other relievers on their list, including Ken Giles of the Toronto Blue Jays. Unfortunately, despite Giles dealing with shoulder inflammation, the Blue Jays were unwilling to lower their asking price from previous talks, and the Dodgers settled for Kolarek.
Kolarek fills a need for Los Angeles: a left-handed reliever who's excellent against left-handed hitters. In 54 games with the Rays, he was 5-4 with a 3.95 ERA and 36 strikeouts. In his career, left-handed hitters have a .209 batting average against him.
Gyorko provides the Dodgers with more depth and a right-handed bat off the bench with Chris Taylor, David Freese, and Enrique Hernandez all currently on the injured list.
Ironically, Gyorko is currently on the injured list as well, and has struggled in 38 games with the Cardinals this season, batting .198 with just two home runs and seven RBI.
Sources said that some members of the Dodgers front office was stunned after the deadline had passed and the team had not come away with more. Expectations are always higher than reality, but many rival executives around the league also were amazed that the Dodgers weren't able to acquire any of the big names available.
The Dodgers will now look internally to bolster their bullpen, with the additions of Casey Sadler and Tony Gonsolin to the major league roster perhaps providing a potential solution moving forward.
In September, the Dodgers are expected to call-up the two prospects they deemed untouchable in Lux and May. Both players are highly touted and could possibly help the club sooner than anticipated.
Thankfully for the Dodgers, they currently hold the best record in baseball at 70-39, and as the frontrunners, may have only needed to make minor improvements and tweaks at the deadline. Nonetheless, it certainly seems like the teams chasing them around the league all got significantly better on Wednesday.