The Dodgers sit at 15-20 and nine games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks. With such a deficit and so many injuries to them already, it begs the question whether they should make a move or stick with what they have.
Even though it is early, the Dodgers’ chances at repeating as NL West champions grow slimmer and dimmer with each game. They have a disabled list of players that would make up the core of a World Series roster: Clayton Kershaw, Corey Seager, Justin Turner, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Yasiel Puig, Logan Forsythe, and Andrew Toles.
That is a lot of talent to have shelved, and when Seager went down, serious speculation about getting external help arose. A player like Manny Machado started popping up in the same sentences as the Dodgers.
So should the Dodgers go out and make a move, or a few, to help them from spiraling totally out of control, or ride out this bad stretch in the hope of things eventually stabilizing?
The smarter thing to do might be to go with the latter, but if you are going to make a move, keep it at a smaller scale, perhaps in the bullpen.
The current (healthy) roster is no World Series contender, and maybe the playoffs might be stretching a bit. But is not a team that is on pace for 70 wins either, as their 43% win rate suggests.
They still have the talent to be respectable with a winning record. Cody Bellinger may not be hitting for the same power as last year, but he is still having a good season. And it is only a matter of time before the home runs start to pile up again.
Matt Kemp has been one of the surprises of the season in MLB, leading the NL with a .353 batting average and seventh with a terrific .954 OPS. Joc Pederson has quietly been better than expected, and Alex Verdugo is one of the top prospects in the sport who is ready to help right now.
Chris Taylor is bound to catch fire eventually. He has shown spurts where it looks like he is going to break out, but it has not quite happened.
Alex Wood is still around. Rich Hill started off very slowly last season as well before pitching like an ace. Walker Buehler has been living up to the hype thus far, giving hope for a legitimate number two behind Clayton Kershaw.
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So the talent is there to stay afloat. The bullpen is obviously a dumpster fire at the moment so, as previously mentioned, any move that will be made should be solely for the bullpen. The rest of the roster, whether you agree or not, is fine.
You have to keep in mind that Turner, Kershaw, Ryu, Puig, and Forsythe will eventually return. You are not going to go through the next 127 games as presently constructed. There will be a significant talent upgrade.
And Turner’s return may be the biggest one because he is the heart and soul of the team and we have yet to see the team with him this year. His absence has been felt.
When these guys come back, along with Andrew Toles eventually, it will be a similar roster to the NLCS squad without Corey Seager. Are they better without their star shortstop? Absolutely not. But the roster will be a very very good one that can win over 90 games.
And we should have gotten used to slow starts from the boys in blue already. The return of the injured teammates may be the jolt that the franchise needs to go on another big run to move up in the standings.
It does not make sense to make significant moves with how the team is currently playing. The Dodgers are a bad team right now, so there is no need to lose any of their best prospects to reinforce one when you are so far behind. You’re expecting a big trade to help you make up a large deficit. But baseball is the one sport where there are no guarantees, so the price would not be worth it.
And the team will get significant internal returns of their own, not leaving much space for external acquisitions.
All the team needs to do is tread water and get back to .500 (at least) and wait to get healthy. The bullpen needs to be reinforced, but the starting rotation and starting lineup should be left alone. Baseball is all about highs and lows, and the Dodgers are just in a bad rut right now. They will be fine.