Although we don’t yet know who the Dodgers will ultimately end up acquiring at the non-waiver trade deadline, it’s seems as though the Justin Verlander talks have cooled down, as it appears that the Los Angeles front office is more interested in acquiring Sonny Gray or Yu Darvish.
As much as the management crew is looking at a starting pitcher who can go deep into games and lineup behind Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill and Alex Wood in the postseason, they are looking for a guy that won’t upset the sweet chemistry this team has right now. They’ve worked hard at amassing players that know what their roles are, and put their heads down and play, regardless of the situation.
This is not to say that either Gray or Darvish would upset the current clubhouse status quo. By all accounts, both are upstanding men who wouldn’t ruffle feathers. The major difference between them, without going into stats, is that Darvish is a rental and Gray is controllable, and that Gray might require more assets in return. Based purely on the fact that Gray has a Shawshank Redemption quote on his twitter bio, and he’d be around for next year, and the uncertainty of any number of the current Dodgers’ starter’s health, I’ll go for Gray.
But back to the chemistry. Last Friday, I wrote a story about the unsung heroes of this team. And a few weeks ago, I wrote about how Yasiel Puig should not be traded. Puig, sitting in the eight hole most nights, is quietly having a very good season. At 19 home runs, he’s already matched his career high. He seems to be back to being the patient Puig in the batters box, amassing 37 walks so far, the second most of his career. His display of affection for hitting coach Turner Ward on Wednesday evening shows you everything you need to know about his change in attitude and accepting his role on the team.
Puig also seems to have found a new best friend on the team in Joc Pederson. Just as Justin Turner and Adrian Gonzalez have their selfie routine, Joc and Yasiel seem to play off each other all the time. Whether it’s doing a coordinated fake sign-sending routine to a runner on second, or cheering for the other one after they’ve hit a homer, Pederson and Puig are out there loving life and playing for this team.
Of course, being on a team this good can do a lot to quell any issues that may arise due to playing time or lack of, or issues between players themselves. But this coaching staff has done an excellent job of keeping everyone focused on the end game. There have been reports have spilled out in recent years about discord, and there doesn’t seem to be that this year. It’s nice to be the team that doesn’t have fighting playing out on social media, and for that, I give the coaching staff all the credit in the world.
Regardless of which starting pitcher the front office acquires, and maybe even if they decide the price is too high for either of them, I’m confident this team has all the right attitudes, firepower, and perfect mix of ingredients to finally get through to the World Series.
(FOLLOW ANDY ON TWITTER: @DODGERSANDYINPA)