OK … bit of a shift here. But that’s what happens when somebody says something that kind of alters what everyone was previously thinking!
Shortly after the Los Angeles Dodgers concluded their trade deadline with some minor moves, there was a perception that, despite the blockbuster moves occurring around them, the front office trusted the current group, as well as their upper-level prospects, to get the job done in 2022 (and beyond).
Additionally, with so many injured players on the mend — Walker Buehler, Chris Taylor, Brusdar Graterol, Dustin May, Edwin Rios — the Dodgers couldn’t afford to stack more talent on the 40-man roster because of the many returns they’ll see over the next month.
Speaking of Buehler, he’s due back in September, which would be just in time for him to build himself back up and face MLB lineups multiple times before making a playoff start. Or … relief appearance?
President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman talked about Buehler’s progress after the trade deadline and wouldn’t commit to a role for the right-hander upon his return … meaning he could come out of the bullpen.
Did Andrew Friedman confuse Dodgers fans with his Walker Buehler comments?
Now, is that a bad idea? Not sure we’d go as far as saying that. But then why didn’t the Dodgers acquire another starting pitcher before the deadline? Right now, a rotation of Clayton Kershaw, Julio Urías, Tyler Anderson, Andrew Heaney and Tony Gonsolin isn’t exactly a bulletproof playoff rotation. Even with the eventual addition of May, how can that have Dodgers fans feeling insured when he hasn’t pitched in over a year? Is Ryan Pepiot going to be a trusted option down the stretch? Do you feel good about that if Buehler isn’t coming back as a starter?
If there was any thought of Buehler coming back as a reliever — which actually sounds like a fun idea! — then why did the Dodgers follow through with their uneventful trade deadline moves? Getting Chris Martin was smart to help the bullpen, but adding Joey Gallo, who is essentially a worse version of Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy, and not adding a frontline starter looks even more puzzling by the hour.
With Justin Turner hitting the IL now too, it’s perhaps becoming evident the Dodgers are trusting in their in-house options above all, since Miguel Vargas got the call to the taxi squad from Triple-A.
Originally, it seemed like a smart plan to trust who was present because of how well the team is doing while the farm system produces promising results … but removing an ace/No. 2 starter from the equation by potentially shifting Buehler to the bullpen changes the outlook a little bit, doesn’t it? Makes you wonder if there should’ve been a tad more aggression when so many good players were available.