4 Reasons Why Dodgers Might ‘Stay Put’ at 2021 MLB Trade Deadline

After Saturday night’s 1-0 victory over the Rockies, the Dodgers find themselves maintaining a stronghold on the second-place spot in the National League West with a tidy 60-40 record. Heading into Sunday’s games, Los Angeles trails the struggling first-place Giants by two games. The Dodgers have 62 contests remaining on their regular season schedule.

The 2021 MLB Trade Deadline is less than a week away.

Without question, the narrative for the Dodgers for the entirety of the year has revolved around injuries. From the earliest days of the season, some fans have been thinking to themselves how good this team would be when it finally returned to full strength. However, that day has never really arrived, as one injury always appears to lead into a carousel of others.

Other fans have shifted their thoughts to the summer deadline, wondering if the organization has any plans to upgrade its player roster. Aside from the minor acquisition of Billy McKinney last week, things have been relatively quiet. Nevertheless, as we all know, for as much as a team might want to upgrade, it takes two sides to reach a deal. Sometimes it’s impossible to agree on a mutual barter, especially since the Dodgers have a plentiful crop of young, lower-level prospects that many other organizations envy.

Regardless, even if the Dodgers don’t make any significant moves by next weekend, here are four reasons how improved player health might propel them back to the top of the division before season’s end.

Mookie Betts

From July 8-19, Mookie Betts went a ridiculous 14-for-26 with three homers, four doubles, eight runs scored and 13 RBI. However, he hasn’t appeared in a game since then because of a hip issue that’s been bothering him all year. The current plan is to have the superstar back in the lineup against the Giants next week.

“The goal, the hope is still to have him play on Tuesday in San Francisco, but it’s still day to day,” manager Dave Roberts said this weekend. “I know he wants to get in there, but the pain is just not allowing for him to be in there.”

(Update 4:00 pm, Sunday: Betts officially placed on 10-day injured list, meaning he won’t be available for the beginning of the San Francisco series)

The Dodgers might be able to survive without Betts against some of the worst teams in the league, but his absence against the better ones is obvious.

Corey Seager

Still recovering from a broken hand, at one point there was still a plan in place for Corey Seager to return to the majors in the home series against San Francisco last week, but there wasn’t quite enough improvement to convince the training staff he was back to 100%. As of now, no timetable for a return is definite, but manager Dave Roberts indicated this weekend that Seager will be seeing some action at Camelback Ranch while his teammates face the Giants on the road.

Having last year’s NLCS and World Series MVP back on the field would undoubtedly be huge for the Dodgers, specifically from an offensive perspective. With all the main contributors healthy, a lineup could look something like this:

  • Betts RF
  • Seager SS
  • Turner 3B
  • Muncy 1B
  • Smith C
  • Taylor 2B
  • Pollock LF
  • Bellinger CF

Clayton Kershaw

The starting rotation might be the area where the team needs the most help. When Clayton Kershaw was placed on the injury list with forearm inflammation before the All-Star break, the rotation was decimated, as it was pared down to just two reliable starters at the time. Kershaw’s return could provide a huge boost to the unit.

While his 3.39 ERA this season is his highest since his rookie campaign back in 2008, his respectable 2.98 FIP, 0.978 WHIP and 10.7 K/9 indicate he’s still among the most effective starters in the majors. Likewise, his eight-inning, 13-strikeout gem against the Cubs in late June suggests he has plenty of firepower in the tank.

Kersh threw a 30-pitch bullpen session on Saturday. His next step is to pitch an abbreviated sim game on Tuesday. After that test, it will be determined if he needs a rehab stint or if he can be immediately slotted back into the rotation.

Jimmy Nelson/Corey Knebel

Two key returns by Los Angeles relievers could theoretically be as good as any marginal trade the team might make before the deadline.

After throwing a successful bullpen on Thursday, swingman Jimmy Nelson appears to be ready to rejoin the team. According to reports, the best-case scenario has the righty returning for the finale against the Rockies on Sunday.

Should Nelson need a few more days, the opener against the Giants on Tuesday might be more realistic.

Before being placed on the injured list with a lumbar strain, Nelson had tallied an even 2.00 ERA, 1.79 FIP and a 0.926 WHIP with 41 punchouts over 25 appearances and 27 innings of work.

Corey Knebel also threw a session on Thursday, his second of the week. The 29-year-old righty plans on starting a comprehensive rehab assignment as early as this week.

“I want to make sure I’m ready to go and it’s not going to be get up here and throw, then have to take two days off,” Knebel said last Thursday. “I want to make sure that I’m going to get here and throw every day if I have to.”

Dodgers Starting Rotation: 4 Possible Solutions for Second Half of 2021 Season

(Gregory Bull/Associated Press)

On Saturday night, fans, coaches, managers, and players of the Los Angeles Dodgers reveled in a 22-run outburst against the lowly Diamondbacks, once again showing how schizophrenic the offense can be from one night to the next. On the pitching front, not only was Walker Buehler effective, but he also gave his bullpen somewhat of a rest by going six full innings. However, despite productive games like these, it still doesn’t solve the club’s current starting pitching dilemma.

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Dodgers Reportedly Among Several Teams Scouting Cole Hamels

(Rob Carr/Getty Images)

The misfortunes of the Los Angeles Dodgers seem to be worsening as the 2021 All-Star break draws near. Despite remaining in divisional contention with one of the best records in the National League, the Dodgers fell to the Diamondbacks at home on Friday night, as Arizona collected just its second win over its last 30 contests on the road.

One of the secondary storylines of the evening revolved around former World Series MVP Cole Hamels and the Dodgers’ need for pitching. According to reports, the 37-year-old lefty will be holding a showcase for teams in Texas next week.

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How Will Dodgers Handle Their Starting Rotation Issues?

Things are looking dire in the city of Los Angeles at the moment, at least if you’re a fan of the Dodgers.

It may seem silly to say things are dire when the team is in possession of the second most wins in the MLB, just a game and a half out of first. They still have many of their 2020 World Series championship team on the squad. But things are not looking good at all for the Boys in Blue, especially in the starting pitching department.

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How Lack of Run Support Indirectly Affects Dodgers’ Starting Pitching

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

A slumping offense can affect the performance of a team in more ways than one, especially from a psychological angle. On Thursday, we saw the Dodgers push one run across the plate in the opener against the Brewers, spoiling a complete-game effort from starter Trevor Bauer. It wasn’t Bauer’s most brilliant endeavor with regards to strikeouts or runs surrendered, but he gave his club exactly what it needed in terms of bullpen conservation.

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Dodgers Hope to Bounce Back Against Padres After First Home Loss

(Los Angeles Times photo)

With the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres meeting seven times in ten days, none of the games have lived up short of the type.

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Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers Seek Fifth-Straight Victory

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

After comfortably defeating the Oakland Athletics by a score of 10-3 Monday night, the Los Angeles Dodgers have now won four straight since losing on Opening Day.

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Dodgers Lose Season Opener in Wild and Crazy Game at Coors Field

Games at Coors Field never fail to disappoint in providing some sort of weirdness or treachery, and the first game of the season certainly didn’t let fans down in that department.

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Thoughts and Musings from Dodger Fans as 2021 Season Begins

It’s here, it’s finally here! The beginning of the 2021 Major League Baseball season is beginning today, April 1st, and that’s no joke. (But that was a bad one).

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Dodgers Handle Rangers in Cactus League Showdown

(Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports)

We are now only 13 days from Opening Day as the Dodgers continue to prepare for their season opener against the Colorado Rockies on the road. There are still some tough battles happening for positions on the team’s prospective 26-man roster. The competition for the final few spots will no question increase over the upcoming days.

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