The Los Angeles Dodgers didn’t go nuclear at this year’s trade deadline, which left fans wondering why they held back while the San Diego Padres completed blockbuster after blockbuster. In reality, though, how much better can the best team in baseball get?
Literally, the best team! At 70-33, the Dodgers are two games up on the New York Yankees in the loss column. There are some rotation and bullpen problems, but LA has Dustin May, Walker Buehler, Blake Treinen and Brusdar Graterol on the mend, all hopefully returning in September.
On the position player side of things, a bit more depth was needed. Some perhaps wanted drastic improvements over Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy because their poor performances are killing the Dodgers’ power offerings from the left side of the plate, but what are you going to do? The two offer value elsewhere, and Freddie Freeman and Gavin Lux have raked from the left side.
Importing Joey Gallo felt like a redundant move — adding another ineffective lefty “power” bat — but that’s going to be a bench move that pays dividends. Gallo is a good defender and still gets on base at a decent clip (well, yeah, compared to his .159 average).
The Dodgers already had the depth help they needed on the roster, though! Bringing in Ian Happ or Andrew Benintendi definitely would’ve helped, but Trayce Thompson has been a revelation, and now prospect James Outman is turning heads! Did Outman getting promoted over the weekend shift the Dodgers’ thinking at the trade deadline?
James Outman’s Dodgers debut has been certifiably awesome
Outman tore up Double-A this year in 68 games before the Dodgers moved him to Triple-A OKC for 22 games. He wasn’t as effective there, but he still flashed what was needed, and now in two MLB games he’s 4-for-6 with four runs scored, a homer, three RBI, a walk and a hit by pitch. He also made a couple of nice plays in the outfield.
The Dodgers already have enough postseason experience on this roster. The entire starting lineup is battle-tested, so adding another veteran of that caliber might not have shifted the dynamic here.
Young blood, though? That could be the difference. It’s unclear how long Outman will remain on the big-league roster, but it’s evident he can be a worthwhile reinforcement should the team need the help. Why spend more when you have what you need right in front of you?
Andrew Friedman’s limited action at the deadline told fans one thing: the Dodgers organization trusts the current MLB roster and the talent in the pipeline nearing their big-league debuts.
So much of LA’s heavy lifting was done at last year’s trade deadline and this past offseason. Not every transactional period needs to be earth shattering. Perhaps it’s nice to be content with what you have when the results are exactly what you’re looking for.