KC Royals: 3 potential NL trade destinations for Scott Barlow

The reliever is the biggest KC Royals trade chip remaining. Where could he end up ahead of the MLB trade deadline?

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
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Los Angeles Dodgers

In life, maturing means realizing how good the Los Angeles Dodgers are at everything regarding baseball. They were the National League's villains until the Houston Astros scandal, and they have never stopped competing since. Fans expected the Dodgers to take a relative step back this season after shedding payroll and being quiet in free agency. Los Angeles is not the NL's best team this year, but there are still likely postseason contenders and they currently lead the NL West with a 57-40 record.

The Dodgers have not been very active on the trade front yet, and there are several directions to go. Can they pry superstar Shohei Ohtani away from the Los Angeles Angels? Maybe, but that is mortgaging the present and future. How much do they need outfield help, especially adding a righty there? A good bit, but not nearly as much as they need pitching help. The Dodgers bullpen has worked the eighth-most innings this season because of some shaky starters.

The Dodgers could absolutely add a starter at the deadline. Los Angeles may look to another AL Central team for starting help, but Barlow would offer help in the bullpen. Barlow is dominant against right-handed batters, an aspect the Dodgers struggle in. Barlow allows a .169 BA with 29 strikeouts against righties, good for a 34 sOPS+. Meanwhile, the Dodgers' right-handed pitchers allow a .247 BA and a 98 sOPS+ against the same group of batters. That is a night-and-day difference right there, even if it only lasts an inning.

Believe it or not, Barlow is also much better with runners in scoring position. Dodgers pitchers allow a .836 OPS with runners in scoring position, compared to Barlow's .782 in the same position. Barlow may not be the closeout man for the Dodgers, but he would still be great in setup or in a platoon setting.

There is something poetic about Barlow returning to the Dodgers in a triumphant way after the organization released him years ago. The best way for that story to end is with Barlow being on a competitive team for the first time in his career and with real championship aspirations.