Despite possessing the second-best record in MLB, the Los Angeles Dodgers (56-35) will have to do some heavy lifting before the July 31 trade deadline.
The injury to Dustin May and the unlikely return of Trevor Bauer due to the sexual assault allegations he’s facing have upended the starting rotation.
And do we really know Clayton Kershaw is going to be OK for the rest of the way with his elbow inflammation?
And that’s just the starting rotation. The Dodgers also need a lot of bullpen help (what else is new?) and probably an outfielder.
Those are some back-breaking roster issues, but that hasn’t stopped LA from a blistering first half after weathering a disgusting 5-15 stretch earlier in the year. They’re only two games back of the San Francisco Giants, who sport the best record in the league. They’ve managed to stay ahead of the Padres for most of the way, too.
The bones and foundation are good. However, if the Dodgers want to repeat, it’s going to take multiple acquisitions over the next two weeks to do it. Not all of them have to be monumental or of the blockbuster variety, but we’d say at least one has to be. If LA is trying to replace star-like production, stabilize the back end of a bullpen or add another versatile outfielder to the mix, the front office will have to step out of its comfort zone.
Especially for these dream trade targets.
These trade deadline targets would be a dream come true for the Dodgers.
3. Trey Mancini
What a story Trey Mancini’s been. He’s battled back after being diagnosed with testicular cancer and missing all of 2020. For the first two-plus months of the season, he was one of the best hitters in the American League. He’s cooled off since, but he put on an electrifying performance in the Home Run Derby before losing in the finals to Pete Alonso.
Now, you might be wondering why he’s on this list, and the answer is layered. First of all, Cody Bellinger has been straight up awful for almost a month now as injuries have slowed him this year. Will that continue for much longer? Probably not, but we can’t know for sure. Mookie Betts is also experiencing a “down” year for his standards. Can the front office trust AJ Pollock to remain healthy during the second half? What about Gavin Lux? He still hasn’t experienced a breakthrough. Folks, these are all valid concerns for a team trying to repeat as World Series champs.
That’s where Mancini comes in. He’s versatile. He can play first base and left field. He also played 87 games in right field as recently as 2019. Bringing Mancini to LA would help the Dodgers patch up all of their (minimal) deficiencies from a lineup perspective.
Pollock’s out? Mancini goes to right. Bellinger needs a day off? Plop Mookie in center and put Mancini in right or left. Mookie needs a day off? Mancini goes to right. Don’t trust Lux in a big game? Mancini goes to first base and Max Muncy moves to second.
The veteran has been raking for most of this year on a downtrodden Orioles team destined for MLB’s basement. Energize him by putting him on a World Series roster and the results will burst through the roof.