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.”

Is Ian Kennedy a Good Fit for Dodgers?

Considering Friday night’s 9-6 loss to the Colorado Rockies, the Los Angeles Dodgers have a 59-40 record, which is still good enough for second place in the National League West division. Heading into Saturday’s games, the Dodgers trail the first-place Giants by an even three games with exactly 63 contests remaining.

With a little over a third of the season to go, some fans feel there’s no reason for concern. Others believe the last three consecutive losses have revealed just how vulnerable the Dodgers might be down the stretch run of the year. Personally, I just can’t help but think of the brilliant starting pitching that was wasted against the Giants, especially after all the criticism the starting rotation has taken in recent weeks.

Regardless, the 2021 MLB Trade Deadline is a full week away, and many fans of the Dodgers are curious to see what moves the team makes regarding player personnel. We’ve been preaching about the need for starting pitching forever, but what has transpired over the last handful of days might indicate the club could stand for an upgrade or two in the bullpen department as well.

Aside from the purely hypothetical deals concocted by fans, there haven’t been many trade rumors linked to the Dodgers this summer. There were a few whispers about the team having interest in lefty veteran Cole Hamels, but it’s hard to say exactly how much he’d help the team in any role being that he hasn’t been fully stretched out in well over a year, even if he does come to an agreement with Los Angeles.

Some recent chatter linked to the Dodgers has involved veteran reliever Ian Kennedy. The 36-year-old righty has appeared in 31 games for the Rangers this year, tallying 15 saves, a 2.59 ERA, a 1.085 WHIP and a 3.80 FIP alongside 33 strikeouts and seven walks over 31-1/3 innings of work.

Those aren’t the greatest numbers in the world, but the fact he has blown just one save this season could shed some light on his reliability factor.

Kennedy is in the middle of a one-year deal with Texas worth $2.15 million.

Normally extremely durable as far as health goes, Kennedy spent the minimum 10 days on the injured list with a hamstring issue back in May.

Over the course of his career as a starter, Kennedy used a wide variety of pitches, but has focused primarily on his heater since turning reliever with the Royals back in 2019. However, he’ll still mix in the occasional curve and change. According to Brooks Baseball, his four-seam has sat right at 95 MPH for the whole 2021 season.

Brooksbaseball-Chart

Trying to guess exactly how Kennedy would fit into the Los Angeles relief crew would be senseless at this point, but when considering the team has turned to relievers like Edwin Uceta, Jimmie Sherfy, Alex Vesia, Garrett Cleavinger and Mitch White in relatively high leverage situations this season, bringing on someone like Kennedy would help.

Aside from the mop up appearance by Andy Burns back in June — ironically against the Rangers — the Dodgers have used a whopping 22 different pitchers in relief this year.

Along those same lines, it’s tough to guess how Kenley Jansen responds to his latest meltdown and how much skipper Dave Roberts will trust his closer moving forward. Roberts has been especially loyal to Kenley over the years, but we all saw what happened when everything was on the line in last year’s World Series.

By no means am I saying that Kennedy could come on board and be effective in the closer’s role. Nevertheless, based on the current personnel in the Los Angeles bullpen, he’d no doubt be at least somewhat of an upgrade.

Dodgers Acquire Billy McKinney from Mets; Corey Seager Still Not Ready

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(Getty Images photo)

Although the Dodgers continue to hang right beside the Giants in a tightly contested NL West race, things are once again worsening for Los Angeles on the injury front.

Continue reading “Dodgers Acquire Billy McKinney from Mets; Corey Seager Still Not Ready”

Top Pitching Prospect Josiah Gray Set for Major League Debut

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Josiah Gray, one of the highly-touted prospects in the Los Angeles Dodgers farm system, will be making his
major league debut on Tuesday in the second contest of a four-game set against the division-leading San Francisco Giants, who currently sport the best record in the majors.

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Josiah Gray’s Major League Debut Edging Closer

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(Photo credit: Oklahoma City Dodgers)

Although it remains unclear whether the Los Angeles Dodgers will make any significant player deals before this summer’s MLB trade deadline, the team might see an internal upgrade with the prospective debut of righty pitching prospect Josiah Gray.

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Dodgers Face Rockies at Coors Field to Open Second Half

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(USA TODAY Sports photo)

The Los Angels Dodgers will begin their second half of the season Friday on the road against the Colorado Rockies, the same opponent which they faced in the season opener.

 Friday will be beginning of a 16-game stretch when the Dodgers will only play divisional opponents. This stretch will encompass the remainder of July. They won’t face a non division opponent until August 3 when they host the Houston Astros. 

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The Two Most Important Issues for Dodgers in Second Half of Season

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The Los Angeles Dodgers find themselves on the brink of the second half of the season. The MLB 2021 Trade Deadline is quickly approaching. The team is still in second place in the NL West. What can fans expect in the months to come?

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What Will San Francisco Giants Do at 2021 MLB Trade Deadline?

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(USA TODAY Sports photo)

With this year’s All-Star Game festivities behind us, all eyes will now shift toward the 2021 MLB Trade Deadline. For fans of the Dodgers, any news surrounding the prospective return of starting pitcher Trevor Bauer will surge to the top of the headlines, but in the meantime, all focus will be watching how Los Angeles might improve its player roster.

No doubt, Dodgers fans can be some of the most creative people when it comes to dreaming up hypothetical deals with rival clubs. Even though we’re still more than two weeks away from the deadline, we’ve already been imagining ways on what it would take to bring some top-notch talent to Los Angeles, specifically in the forms of players like Max Scherzer or Richard Rodriguez.

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

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(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

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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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