With the trade deadline just a few weeks away, there hasn’t been an overwhelming amount of news surrounding the Los Angeles Dodgers, aside from a few whispers about infielder Brandon Drury and the perennial rumblings surrounding pitcher Luis Castillo.
The team has been somewhat busy on the bottom-end of the market, having brought back reliever Jake Reed after he was waived by the Mets and signing another reliever in Hansel Robles after being released by the Red Sox.
Nevertheless, the Dodgers probably will make several more moves, as Andrew Friedman and his crew are typically active participants in the summer trading season. How big of a splash the Dodgers make, though, remains to be seen.
One of the big headlines in the baseball blogosphere on Saturday morning was the idea that the Nationals could reach the point of entertaining offers for superstar outfielder Juan Soto. Our friends over at MLBTR reported this weekend through Ken Rosenthal that the 23-year-old lefty-hitting slugger rejected a $440 million deal that would have netted him nearly $30 million per year for 15 years.
Just because Soto rejected the deal, though, doesn’t mean he’ll be heading to another team anytime soon. Washington still controls the 6-foot-2, 225-pounder for another two seasons, meaning that they could offer him another deal or wait closer to his free agency eligibility to trade him to another club.
Soto is earning $17 million this season in his second year of arbitration eligibility. He’ll be eligible to file for free agency after the 2024 season if he doesn’t sign a contract beforehand.
What Lies Ahead for Cody Bellinger?
It’s tough to envision how the Dodgers view their outfield over the long haul, aside from Mookie Betts being cemented in right field for the foreseeable future. A few years ago, it seemed as if Cody Bellinger would be part of that picture, but unless he can show he can produce more on offense, the Dodgers might not be compelled to keep him around solely for his superior defensive skills.
Bellinger still seems to have the power when he barrels up the ball, but he just can’t seem to find a groove making contact. After astonishing the baseball world with a 1.035 OPS in his MVP year in 2019, he has been tumbling quickly, although some pundits still reference a past shoulder injury in his downfall.
Last year, the 27-year-old Bellinger registered just a .542 OPS over 350 plate appearances, almost half the number of his MVP year. So far this season, he’s hitting just .209/.271/.379 in 301 PA.
Andy Pages Chugging Along at Double-A Tulsa
One of the big names on the Los Angeles farm is 21-year-old Andy Pages. The 6-foot-1 righty-hitting Pages recently climbed as high as No. 4 in MLB Pipeline’s team rankings for the Dodgers after being one of the organizational leaders with 31 long balls last year.
However, after his promotion to Double-A this season, Pages is hitting just .240/.350/.460 in 80 games at Tulsa. His power is still obvious with 15 homers and 16 doubles, but until he can raise his OBP, his MLB arrival time could be affected.
Soto is one of the game’s premier hitters, boasting a career .292/.427/.540 slash line in his fifth full year. Last year, Soto led the entire majors with a .465 OPS when he battled Trea Turner for the NL batting title into the final days of the season. Soto led the majors with a ridiculous 1.185 during the COVID-shortened season in 2020.
Soto has settled into the right field role in Washington, but primarily handled the team’s left-field duties in his first two years in the majors.
Although it appears obvious that Trevor Bauer will not return to the Dodgers, there’s still uncertainty whether Los Angeles will be on the hook for any portion of the pitcher’s salary, perhaps making the team hesitant of considering an immediate blockbuster signing.