Nothing like the July non-waiver trade deadline to get baseball-minded folks excited in terms of what their favorite team’s main priorities should be. For the past few weeks, many analysts and experts have stated that perennial All-Star shortstop and current franchise-face of the Baltimore Orioles Manny Machado is the player the Dodgers currently have their sights set on to upgrade their roster. However, it’s probably not close to the best available move.
If there’s one thing that can be said about the management crew of the Dodgers during the weeks leading up to the 2018 non-waiver trade deadline, it would be the fact that there are not many clues being left behind as to what intentions the club truly has in terms of upgrading the team. Several weeks ago, we heard about a possible interest in Mets’ ace Jacob deGrom, but that prospective deal was nixed when the New York brass requested young right-hander Walker Buehler in return. Next, the Manny Machado talks gained heavy momentum, as the Dodgers actually appeared as favorites to land the All-Star shortstop at one point. Finally, we heard whispers of the Los Angeles front office contacting the Marlins to prospectively gain the services of one of their young relievers.
With the 2018 non-waiver trade deadline now only a few weeks away, pundits around the league are still only speculating about any potential moves from the Dodgers, as the club’s front office continues to appear relatively calm, despite the team’s obvious need for one or more roster upgrades.
Welcome to July! The month of July means a lot of things in baseball. It’s when the division race starts to take shape. It’s when potential MVP Candidates and Cy Young Award hopefuls start to become clear (I’m looking at you, Matt Kemp and Ross Stripling) and it’s when pennant-winning trades start to happen.
While some fans of the Dodgers believe the club should pursue offensive help as the summer trade deadlines approach, I’m still among those who believe that pitching—most specifically several upgrades in the bullpen—are necessary to make a run at the 2018 postseason. Yes, the team has struggled with the lumber in the weekend series against the Rockies, but I still feel there’s enough firepower on the 25-man roster to do the job scoring runs.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are on another one of their infamous tears, having won 27 of their last 38 games after a six-game losing streak and season-low 10 games under .500 in mid-May. This is the stuff beat-writers dream of—a Dodgers team featuring an All-Star candidate in Matt Kemp that was considered a strong DFA candidate before the season began. Max Muncy is 2018’s 2017 Chris Taylor, and an almost entirely rebuilt rotation has filled in for injured stars, with Ross Stripling turning himself into Clayton Kershaw 2.0.
Up until yesterday, there really hasn’t been much chatter linking the Dodgers to any prospective blockbuster trades with rival clubs anytime soon. Sure, there have been a few whispers about a bullpen upgrade or two, but for the most part, the juicy, eye-opening rumors have been non-existent. However, after Bob Nightengale of the USA Today published a story stating that the Dodgers are the favorites to land Baltimore shortstop Manny Machado, quite the stir began to circulate among Los Angeles fans everywhere.
And so the second half, and the trade cycle, of the 2017 season begins. The Chicago Cubs kicked it off with a trade with their cross city partners, acquiring Jose Quintana from the White Sox for two of their top prospects, plus one other. Quintana had been on the Dodgers‘ radar for the last season and a half. The reigning World Series champs obviously felt they needed to jump to rush to acquire who they thought could help their team.
Moments before the series finale against the Nationals on Wednesday afternoon, skipper Dave Roberts told reporters his plans regarding the Dodgers starting rotation for the weekend, which will feature a three-game set against the Reds to conclude the current homestand.