MLB.com Columnist

Dan O'Dowd

4 teams that need to make August trades

4 teams that need to make August trades

On Aug. 25, 2012, the Dodgers and Red Sox swung a major deal that sent first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, right-hander Josh Beckett, outfielder Carl Crawford and infielder Nick Punto to Los Angeles.

On Aug. 30, 1990, the Astros sent reliever Larry Anderson to the Red Sox for a Double-A bat by the name of Jeff Bagwell. The latter name, of course, would go on to be an all-time great first baseman.

On Aug. 12, 1987, the Braves shipped Doyle Alexander to the Tigers for right-handed pitcher John Smoltz, who would wind up being immortalized in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y.

So, what's the takeaway? Franchise-altering deals can happen virtually any time, even after the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, and we've already seen a couple of big moves in the past couple of days, with the Dodgers acquiring Chase Utley and the Giants trading for Marlon Byrd.

How Utley can help the Dodgers

Look for the following clubs to potentially swing a deal this month as they push toward October.

Note: Deals made before and after July 31 fall under different sets of rules. To learn more about the mechanics of August waiver deals, read this.

Dodgers
The Dodgers have yet to take off following their flurry of July trades, but they sit in first place and are a true World Series threat.

But make no mistake, the Dodgers' brain trust is certainly considering its options on the August trade market, and they already added Utley to the mix earlier this week. Another strong reliever is likely on the radar, even after the club acquired Jim Johnson from Atlanta just several weeks back.

Relievers are an interesting breed, capable of turning around their performance in the blink of an eye. Don't be shocked to see the Dodgers buy low on an arm that is currently struggling despite a solid long-term track record.

A move for Milwaukee stopper Francisco Rodriguez should not be completely ruled out. Despite overall numbers that look strong this season, K-Rod is having a less-than-dominant August for a Brewers team that may not need an expensive late-inning arm while out of contention. The longtime closer has a $6 million club option for 2017 (with a $2 million buyout), terms the Dodgers likely would be able to meet.

K-Rod earns save No. 377

Mets
For as good as this team's rotation has been, you can never have enough pitching. After all, the Mets' starters cannot throw complete games with any sort of regularity. Not with the way the game is played today.

Clubs rarely lose when they enter the eighth inning with a lead. So the Mets, who have lost Jenrry Mejia to suspension and Bobby Parnell to the disabled list, could look for another relief arm. The trade for Tyler Clippard surely helped, but it may not have been enough.

Someone such as Rockies ninth-inning man John Axford could make sense. Despite his recent struggles, Colorado's closer is reportedly eligible for trade to any team after clearing waivers, and he is still striking out a batter per inning.

Axford locks down the save

Orioles
The Orioles have been solid in August, making the playoff push many thought possible.

But in spite of its presence in the thick of the postseason race, Baltimore could use some pitching reinforcement. The club's starting staff is entrenched in the bottom third of clubs in terms of starter ERA, and its rotation members rarely pitch deep into games.

Playing in a competitive American League East division that could have three playoff teams, the O's will have a tough schedule down the stretch. With a decent amount of salary coming off the books this offseason, the club could go out and grab James Shields -- a pricey workhorse -- from San Diego, or possibly Matt Garza or Kyle Lohse from Milwaukee. All three players have extensive postseason experience.

Garza twirls seven strong

Angels
The Angels have been inconsistent across the past two weeks and are entrenched in a competitive AL Wild Card race.

To boost their playoff prospects, the Halos could do everything within reason to acquire a bat to boost their struggling offense. For as good as Mike Trout and Albert Pujols have been, they cannot be expected to carry the load all season.

For a possible answer, the Angels could look to Arizona's Aaron Hill, a veteran with experience playing mostly second base, but also third and shortstop.

On the Halos, Hill could be asked to move around to spell Johnny Giavotella at the keystone and David Freese (currently on the DL) at the hot corner.

A deal for Utley could have been good for the Angels, whose lineup is rather right-handed heavy. However, the righty Hill may not be a bad consolation get.

Although Hill would still cost several million for the remainder of 2015, he has been hitting well of late, posting a .760 OPS since the All-Star break.

Dan O'Dowd is an MLB Network analyst and MLB.com columnist who served as general manager of the Rockies for 15 years, building a National League pennant winner in 2007. Prior to his time with Colorado, he worked in the front offices of the Orioles and Indians. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.