What to make of Dodgers’ underwhelming trade deadline moves
No Juan Soto. No Luis Castillo. Not even Frankie Montas! That fun Pablo Lopez rumor? A whole lotta nothing! So what in the world did the Los Angeles Dodgers do at the 2022 MLB trade deadline?
Well … they cleared roster spots! Why? Because they still have a number of important contributors set to return at some point. Among them are Walker Buehler, Chris Taylor, Brusdar Graterol, Blake Treinen and Edwin Rios. That’s a large chunk of the roster.
Oh yeah, and we can’t forget about the Joey Gallo trade. He’s here. Not sure what he’s going to do, but he’s here. Outside of that, LA shipped out third baseman Jake Lamb (in a deal with the Mariners), pitcher Mitch White (in a deal with the Blue Jays), pitcher Garrett Cleavinger (in a deal with the Rays), and utility man Zach McKinstry (for reliever Chris Martin in a deal with the Cubs).
The 40-man roster now sits at 38, with the Dodgers seemingly holding those spots for in-house moves coming in the not-too-distant future. More than anything, this tells fans Andrew Friedman trusts the current status quo.
Why disrupt something when it’s operating almost perfectly? Despite the Dodgers’ issues this year, they’re the second-best team in MLB and tops in the NL. Did they really need to empty the farm for another addition? Was anything that glaring?
What to make of the Dodgers’ underwhelming trade deadline
Looking at the Dodgers as a whole, there’s Freddie Freeman and Trea Turner having some of the best years in the entire league. Mookie Betts is obviously Mookie Betts. Will Smith is an All-Star catcher. Justin Turner is slowly rebounding. Gavin Lux has become one of the most productive players in the National League. Trayce Thompson has been performing like an impact deadline acquisition for 31 games now. Taylor’s coming back soon, too.
Truth is, struggling players Max Muncy and Cody Bellinger still offer something and were never going anywhere anyway. Bellinger’s center field defense is second to arguably none and Muncy’s penchant for crushing the Giants (as well as his defensive versatility) is still of value.
And how about James Outman? The top prospect recently debuted and has been crushing it. Can’t we count that as a “deadline addition”?
On the pitching side of things, Andrew Heaney is back alongside Clayton Kershaw, Tyler Anderson, Julio Urías and Tony Gonsolin, with Buehler and Dustin May due back relatively soon (Buehler in Sept. and May in a couple weeks). That’s a full rotation. Maybe not October-worthy yet, but if the chips fall in the right places, then we’re talkin’.
As for the bullpen, Craig Kimbrel remains a problem, but Martin is here to provide some help with Graterol and Treinen on the mend. Evan Phillips is having a career year and Alex Vesia is still handling some big-time moments. And how about Yency Almonte and David Price? Probably not the October solution, but good enough to get the Dodgers through the regular season.
Then there are the potential prospects ready for the leap. Outman’s already here. Ryan Pepiot has shown he can take on a start here and there. Miguel Vargas is ready for his MLB debut. Michael Busch isn’t far off.
Oh wait, that’s Vargas’ music!!
The Dodgers are usually good for a blockbuster or two, but with a monster offseason and a number of players on the mend to further support depth or provide All-Star-level production, Friedman isn’t messing with the current chemistry.
The fact that Friedman wasn’t reactionary to the Padres’ mega moves tells us a lot, too: there’s faith in this group to maintain their division lead and then get enough reinforcements to rip through the NL in the playoffs.