Most years, the final 24 hours leading up to the MLB trade deadline would be filled with many fans sitting on the edges of their seats, wondering if their favorite squad would make a move to improve their roster.
However, the 2020 deadline is definitely a different animal. Most lower level players are pretty much out off limits, as only players from a club’s 60-man player pool can be dealt. Second, cash flow isn’t the greatest for most clubs this year, so teams may be limited when it comes to acquiring players who might put the teams past their respective payroll budgets. Finally, with the expanded playoffs this season, more squads are in contention for the postseason, so they’re hesitant to give up their key players, even if it is the final year of their contracts.
With regards to the Dodgers, things have been quiet. Nevertheless, skipper Dave Roberts inferred on Sunday that if Los Angeles does indeed make a move, it will be a transaction that greatly improves the landscape of the team’s roster, particularly for one or more seasons down the road.
“We’ve got talent all around the roster,” Roberts saidon Sunday. “Just the way we work, a one-month or two-month rental just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. So, if something were to happen, it would be someone we have control of. Those are just parameters, but like I’ve said, I love where we’re at. Andrew Friedman and the guys in baseball ops are kicking tires. We’ll see what happens.”
In previous columns, we took a relatively close look at some areas of the team that could use improvement. Both the offense and defense are at the top of the majors, so it’s hard to see the Dodgers improving in those areas, unless there’s a magic potion available to help players produce better with runners in scoring position.
Perhaps the two biggest gray areas—at the moment, anyway—are the bullpen and the starting rotation.
As far as the relief corps goes, even without making a deal before the deadline, the Dodgers might get a few reinforcements in the form of Joe Kelly and Pedro Baez. The Dodgers still have some of the best relief numbers in the majors, but an injection of either Kelly or Baez would certainly make things better. Neither player is very close to an imminent return, according to reports, but there isn’t any information saying they shouldn’t be ready for action a few weeks down the road.
In terms of the rotation, many pundits feel that this could perhaps be the club’s weakest area. Clayton Kershaw has certainly found his ace form, but there are many question marks throughout the remainder of the starting five as to who may be the most playoff worthy.
Walker Buehler has shown a few, brief glimpses of greatness, as has Dustin May. As it stands, Buehler would start a prospective Game 2 with May perhaps getting the nod in a Game 3. After that, there’s a ton of speculation. Julio Urias and Ross Stripling seem to be trending downward, while chances that Alex Wood could return to the rotation remain very slim. For all intents and purposes, Tony Gonsolin could swoop in and assume the fourth spot.
Gonsolin took a no-decision on Sunday in the finale against the Rangers, throwing three full innings on 62 pitches and allowing one earned run on three hits and three walks alongside five punchouts.