The Los Angeles Dodgers have a couple of decisions to make and soon. The trade deadline is looming and executives around the league are judging whether their teams have what it takes to make a playoff run. The Dodgers easily call on the buy-side of the ledger. At 61-40, they have the second-best record in the national league, sitting nine games ahead of the Reds for a wild card spot and only two games behind the Giants for the division lead.
The tricky part about the trade deadline is timing your move relative to other teams. The Giants will look to add to their team, attempting to secure any missing pieces that will strengthen their World Series run. Are any of those pieces Los Angeles targets? Possibly.
Knowing you are a buyer is preferable to being a team on the fence, such as the Reds or Nationals. Aside from trying to beat a competitor to the same potential trade piece, teams have to determine which trade piece is most valuable to them. For the Dodgers, that continues to change as injuries are taking their toll.
Do the Dodgers add pitching, hitting, or both?
Yesterday, Los Angeles placed right fielder Mookie Betts on the 10-day Injured List (IL). The placement is officially listed as due to right hip inflammation. Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts provided a more general reason of multiple "nagging" injuries. With a 162 game season, nagging injuries and soreness are inevitable. The issue is when the injuries affect play.
Betts will use the time to rehab multiple injuries that have been held together with duct tape. Los Angeles needs him if they are going to beat the Giants and Padres down the stretch and in the playoffs. The trade deadline problem is Betts is just another batter to go down with an injury.
Seager and Lux are on the IL as well. Seager should be back by the end of the week, as he is set to start a rehab assignment today. Lux, unfortunately, will be out for several more weeks, having suffered a grade II hamstring strain. Bellinger is currently active, but his hamstring could eventually cost him an IL stint. Playing through nagging injuries is a challenge, as evident by Mookie's IL placement. Los Angeles would rather rest him to be 100% for the playoffs, but they don't have the luxury of a comfortable division lead (or a division lead at all).
Los Angeles recently added Jimmy Nelson and Brusdar Graterol, helping shore up the bullpen. Teams can always use bullpen help, but the dodgers may be better served to support the lineup with another strong bench bat or adding rotation help.
Gonsolin has looked good in the rotation - and Price joining has added depth - but losing Kershaw and Bauer has hurt the team. They have gone 7-7 since Kershaw hit the IL. Kershaw is set to return soon, but Los Angeles can't count on Bauer returning. He should be viewed as a bonus. They likely need another rotation arm going into the playoffs.
The pandemic shortened season and disrupted offseason has contributed to the increase in injuries. We shouldn't expect them to lessen, as the rigors of the season are taking a toll. Los Angeles, and other contenders, need to add depth during the deadline. I expect the Dodgers to be busy over the next few days.
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