The Los Angeles Dodgers had an unexpectedly dramatic trade deadline on Tuesday, considering they'd taken care of most of their business in the days prior by acquiring Lance Lynn, Joe Kelly, Kiké Hernández and Amed Rosario.
Several familiar faces. Very few sure things. This overachieving team acquired one more talent infusion to show a little front office buy-in on Tuesday, and we'd be prepared to give their summer a thumbs up.
Unfortunately, the Dodgers reached the finish line with Tigers left-hander Eduardo Rodríguez, only for the lefty to nix the deal and leave Andrew Friedman flummoxed. That was enough to elicit a Bill Plaschke haymaker, with the veteran scribe's recap column insinuating that Friedman has lost his fastball.
The take was certainly valid. The name-by-name rundown of the pitchers the Dodgers didn't get at this year's deadline was tough to dispute; they certainly did not add any of them! Lucas Giolito seems to be a miss. Justin Verlander on the cheap would've been interesting (and eminently doable, Los Angeles is appealing). Not pivoting after losing Eduardo Rodríguez (or planning to lose him once you learned he hated you) was indefensible. This Dodgers team deserved a ringing endorsement and received a whispered endorsement into a pillow. Kudos to Plaschke.
But when he addressed last summer's deadline in an effort to sell this as a pattern of inaction, he lost us a little.
Dodgers failed at 2023 trade deadline, but you can't fault Andrew Friedman for 2022
Did Friedman bungle the current deadline, or has he bungled his past three opportunities to fortify the team? Hanging over this discussion is the obvious, well-acknowledged cloud: Shohei Ohtani is in their sights. Every move the Dodgers make, or don't make, has to be contextualized thusly.
Additionally, the Dodgers wouldn't be in need of reinforcements if Friedman additions like David Peralta and Jason Heyward weren't performing so expertly.
Plaschke went in with a fork and knife on 2022's deadline, too, and seems to have gone after Friedman for passing on a move he certainly shouldn't have made.
"Needing a starting pitcher last summer to bolster a sagging rotation, the Dodgers didn’t deal for the likes of Luis Castillo and Frankie Montas and instead acquired only reliever Chris Martin."- Bill Plaschke
Frankie Montas? As in, "The All-Star right-hander who hit the trade deadline with a bum shoulder, lied about it, then provided Brian Cashman with a 6.35 ERA in eight starts"? That Frankie Montas? Also ... Chris Martin was great. Tough way to bolster the overall cogent argument.
Plaschke, himself, acknowledges that some of 2023's targets, like Rodríguez and avowed anti-Dodgers activist Max Scherzer, would've been varying degrees of impossible to pull off. The rotation is lagging behind. The Dodgers likely thought Bobby Miller, Emmet Sheehan and Co. would further distinguish themselves by now. They have not.
But using 2023's successful offseason and the decision not to pursue Frankie Montas to justify an "Andrew Friedman's downfall" premonition? After Ohtani makes his decision, then you can push forth on the large-scale judgment. Until then, this is about an E-Rod bungle and very little else.