The Los Angeles Dodgers are not the ’98 Yankees. The Dodgers are not the ’16 Cubs or the ’04 Sox. They are the physical manifestation of what would have been had Bill James, Billy Beane, George Steinbrenner, and Andrew Friedman all shared stories and ideas over coffee.
For the past few years, the Dodgers have revolutionized the game. They have combined the ideals of the A’s and Yankees and they have made it known that a big market team in an endless city can keep money out of the equation, for the most part. They’ve changed the game with their unconventional methods.
Those methods, however, have yet to be proven. It’s yet to give this team what they set out to find; a World Championship.
I, like many of you, think about Game 7 a lot. I think about the irony that the very player this team acquired to help win the World Series played a major role in as to why they didn’t. I think about how everything seemed to fall into place last year, and it still wasn’t enough.
I could go into why, and how the Dodgers lost the World Series, and there are a thousand different reasons, the most logical being that the Houston Astros were the better team. The Dodgers played good baseball, the Astros played great baseball.
This season, however, the Dodgers are playing less-than-average baseball, which begs the question; has their plan started to fall apart?
Nobody could control the Seager injury. Some may believe that it was his choice not to have the surgery after the World Series; it wasn’t. But, even if it was, Seager would still be lucky to be back for the postseason. At least now we know he gave it a shot. He played with a hurt arm in the hopes that he would get better. I’m not saying I’m happy about the current situation, I dare you to find a Dodger fan who is, but the fact is, Seager is injured, and so is Justin Turner. The lack of two players, who combined for 43 homers last season, is a void that will be felt in the lineup, at least until Turner gets back.
So, with the injury bug hitting this team hard, and the bullpen hoping to return to better days, is it time the Dodgers trade for a big name, regardless of prospects or money?
My short answer is no. It’s no secret that the Dodgers have holes to fill in their lineup now, and will have to fix the pen should it fail to regain its consistency. Their problem isn’t at shortstop, Chris Taylor and Kiké Hernandez are more than capable of stepping in, What the Dodgers need is a power bat who will hit 30+ homers a year. If they can get that, they can get back into the mix in the Wild West.
The clear answer, the name that has been mentioned more than anyone else in the past 48 hours, is Manny Machado.
On paper, Machado checks all the boxes. He’s hit over .250 every season since being called up in 2012. He’s hit more than 30 homers each of his last three seasons and, with the exception of 2012 and 2014, he’s played in no less than 156 games. He’s consistent, and he is the very definition of “elite.”
Baseball, however, isn’t played on paper, it’s played on a field, and there are other factors to consider. Factors like how the Dodgers don’t want to over-pay for a rental like Machado. Given how elite of a player Machado is, the Orioles are going to ask for at least one of the Dodgers top five prospects. L.A. has a history of refusing to trade their top prospects, and their insistence on not doing so has turned out pretty well.
It’s not like the Dodgers would try to re-sign Machado at the end of the season, either. Seager is the Dodgers’ shortstop of the future, and Justin Turner is their third basemen. That is not going to change.
So, are the Dodgers’ unconventional methods keeping them from competing with teams like the Cubs and the D-Backs?
No, they aren’t. The Seager injury doesn’t mean the season is over. It doesn’t mean that they can’t catch the D-Backs, or surpass them even. It just means they’re going to have to work a lot harder.
I, like many fans, am superstitious. So, based on how last season ended, I’d rather be worried about this team now than in the 9th inning of Game 7 of the World Series.
The Dodgers’ unconventional methods aren’t failing them, they’re simply forcing the Dodgers to flip the narrative.
(Follow Sarah on Twitter: @SarahManinger)