As July approaches, there will be all kinds of rumors regarding who the Dodgers could acquire. On Wednesday the rumor mill started churning about the Dodgers and Manny Machado.
Early on this season when Corey Seager went down for the season, there were rumors about the Dodgers potentially being interested in Manny Machado. On Wednesday the first concrete rumor surfaced as the Dodgers were named the front-runners to acquire Machado by Bob Nightengale. That is very interesting, but Machado is not what the Dodgers need.
High Priced Rental
With Machado set for free agency after the season, the Dodgers would be potentially paying a very steep price for 3-4 months of Machado. The Dodgers will get Corey Seager back in time for next season, and Justin Turner is staying at third base so the Dodgers will have no room for Manny Machado next season.
Is it worth giving up a couple of top tier prospects for a few months of Machado? As we saw last season, mid-season acquisitions don’t guarantee success as the Dodgers acquired Darvish and he was terrible in the World Series. The Dbacks traded for JD Martinez, and even with a ridiculous second half, the Dbacks were still swept by the Dodgers.
There is a saying in baseball that you should have a strong defense up the middle meaning catcher and shortstop most importantly. While Manny Machado is an above average third baseman, he has been one of the worst shortstops in baseball this season, and this is supported by his -17 DRS and -14.6 UZR/150 ratings.
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By comparison, Kiké Hernandez has 19.8 UZR/150 rating, and Chris Taylor has a -6.2 UZR/150 rating at shortstop. The Dodgers are better off playing Kiké at short and getting his power to go along with stellar defense. Manny Machado would further weaken a Dodger defense that is already starting Max Muncy at second base some games.
The Real Need
The Dodgers are missing the services of Corey Seager, but replacing what they currently have at shortstop is not one of their pressing needs. Their biggest needs are second base and the bullpen. As last night’s game showed, the Dodger bullpen often struggles to get the ball to Kenley Jansen and acquiring a true eighth inning reliever is the Dodgers biggest concern. Josh Fields was placed on the DL today which puts an even bigger need on pursuing relief help. Blake Treinen is one player the Dodgers should pursue instead.
The Dodgers other need is second base. While Max Muncy has taken a short crash course on second base, he is still much better at first base and doesn’t quite have the speed and range to play second. Scooter Gennett is another rental on the market who could fill the Dodgers offensive void at second base. Logan Forsythe has had enough time to show the Dodgers what he can do, and so far he has been a big disappointment. If Gennett cannot be acquired the Dodgers could also pursue Jed Lowrie from the Oakland A’s.
There is no doubt that the Dodgers could use an offensive force like Manny Machado to replace the loss of Corey Seager. Unfortunately, the Dodgers don’t have a third base opening for Machado, and unless they want to value power over defense, shortstop is not an option. It will be interesting to see what route the Dodgers choose to go at the deadline; the one clear hole is that the Dodgers need a reliable setup man to Kenley Jansen.