Though we’re currently mired in the offseason and awaiting the lockout, the Los Angeles Dodgers are undoubtedly playing 4D chess at the moment and plotting out a few midseason methods for filling their roster holes, too.
Don’t get us wrong. We’re not saying the Dodgers should delay solving anything just because the midseason trade deadline also exists. Andrew Friedman should still sign Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer. He should still extend between one and two All-Star shortstops. Despite the post-Dec. 1 slowdown, there will be no excuses during this all-important offseason.
We’re simply saying that … some opportunities are going to open up in the middle of July. Some skinflint teams aren’t going to be contending. Some skinflint teams will be contending, and will still be trying to offload some pretty impressive assets.
Those cheapo contenders are otherwise known as the “Tampa Bay Rays.”
In order to determine where the Dodgers will strike midseason, you have to think about which ongoing problems they’ll likely be battling long after the offseason has wrapped.
Throughout 2021, rotation depth was a serious issue — so serious the team pivoted at the break and added Literally Max Scherzer (blocking the Padres helped, too). No matter how well Friedman does in retaining arms this offseason, that need will arise by midseason once more, you’d think.
Outfield depth was also a significant problem, and it’ll get even worse if Chris Taylor departs. If Corey Seager hits paydirt elsewhere, the Dodgers could be eyeing a star second baseman. They’ll also be without a long-term third base replacement for Justin Turner without a Seager re-up, too.
With that baseline in mind, keep an eye on these three emerging trade targets.
The Dodgers should pursue these 3 midseason blockbuster trades.
3. John Means, Baltimore Orioles
John Means has only recently hit the market, but we suspect a trade is more likely midway through the 2022 campaign once he’s reestablished his value, rather than right this minute, when he’s closer to a bum second half plagued by a shoulder issue instead of his hot start.
All things considered, the All-Star lefty posted 4.0 WAR and a sterling 1.03 WHIP during a bounce-back season that cemented him as a viable No. 2 in a stronger rotation than Baltimore’s. He hurled a no-hitter and made headlines. He snapped off enough curves to befuddle the AL East — and only faced the Red Sox once (on Opening Day), which undoubtedly affected the Wild Card race.
His first half was spectacular (2.28 ERA), while his second half was erratic (4.88 ERA). Knowing the Orioles’ Houston-inspired braintrust, they’re certainly not going to sell their top non-Cedric Mullins asset at depreciated value. Maximize, maximize, maximize!
Baltimore’s recent leak of Means’ availability seems strategic to us. If the Dodgers really struck while the iron was hot here, they could get three years of a controllable, top-of-the-rotation lefty at a discount. Wouldn’t the O’s want to roll the dice and try again in July, though, especially considering the way a healthy Means sprinted out of the gate last year?
Table this idea until the deadline.