Just when you think the Los Angeles Dodgers are putting things together offensively, they’ll go on a streak when they’re barely able to plate any runners. Yet, right when it seems like they’re one of the worst offensive clubs in the league, they’ll roll out double-digit offensive bursts that suggest their immense might with the lumber.
This has been the narrative of the 2021 season so far.
Obviously, we keep talking about how injuries have prevented the team from seeing any type of consistency at the plate, but even as the club is becoming healthier, the offensive struggles are still evident. More than anything else, runners left on base continue to haunt the club’s run production.
However, moments like Cody Bellinger’s walkoff homer in the ninth inning of Saturday’s victory against the Cubs indicate just how good this team can be when its stars are clicking at the plate. Nevertheless, should the Dodgers be a handful of games behind either the Giants or the Padres at the All-Star break, will such a deficit cause the team to upgrade at the trade deadline? We all know they’ll likely add pitching in some shape or form, but should the team add somebody capable of boosting the offense?
Commitment to Success
Winning back-to-back World Series Championships is certainly one of the most difficult feats to achieve. Heading into the 2021 season, nobody even imagined the Dodgers would blow past the Luxury Tax Threshold in the pursuit of such an accomplishment. The Mookie Betts signing in the 2019-20 offseason was huge but bringing Trevor Bauer aboard for an annual average value of more than $36 million was a significant indicator on how committed the franchise is to winning.
While adding Bauer undoubtedly boosts the Los Angeles starting rotation, there wasn’t much done to improve an offense that lost the likes of Joc Pederson and Enrique Hernandez. No question, the Dodgers are among the most talented offenses in the league on paper, but they haven’t been able to roll out any kind of consistency so far this season, albeit with the overwhelming injuries. The addition of Albert Pujols provided a brief spark, but as Los Angeles faces some of the National League’s better clubs, the Dodgers’ offense has been mostly dormant.
The Return of Corey Seager
Having a healthy Corey Seager at its disposal should bring the club a bit of uniformity when it comes to daily lineups. Gavin Lux has filled in admirably at shortstop, but Lux’s .224/.300/.371 career slashline over his first 107 big league games might suggest he’s not the long-term answer for the Los Angeles middle infield.
Before Seager’s injury, he was hitting .265/.361/.422. Those are not great numbers by Seager’s standards, but they’re still better than Lux’s .233/.313/.368 averages this year. Don’t forget that Seager slugged five homers, two doubles, and 11 RBI in the 2020 NLCS, securing the series MVP. He also stole MVP honors in the World Series after going 8-for-20 with another two long balls. Seager’s return to the team, in some ways, might provide the same impact of orchestrating a big trade.
The Roster Crunch
Even if the Dodgers decide to add an impact bat, finding room on a very talented roster would be quite challenging, especially with Seager back on board. If all three of AJ Pollock, Betts and Bellinger are healthy, there are very few MLB outfields with more talent. Justin Turner, Max Muncy, Will Smith, Seager, and Chris Taylor at second base might be one of the best overall offensive infields. If a high-profile player is added, where would they fit into the daily lineup?
There is indeed some flexibility with the bench roles, aside from maybe Austin Barnes. The return of Seager might mean the exit of Steven Souza Jr., but there are alternatives being that both Matt Beaty and Zach McKinstry still have options. Some fans also wonder if Pujols will make it to the end of the regular season.
Certainly, there’s still plenty of time for this team to find its identity, but would the addition of a big bat be beneficial to a club that’s already invested so much in a quest for another World Championship?