The Los Angeles Dodgers are the hottest team in baseball at the moment, but as they learned in 2021 and 2022, all that matters is how hot you are heading into October, and there's still six weeks to assess that.
It's been encouraging to see the pitching staff bounce back over the last few weeks, but even the most optimistic of fans understand the situation's still a bit shaky when we're talking about exclusively facing playoff teams when the regular season ends.
Lance Lynn has been a revelation since being acquired at the trade deadline, but was that enough for the Dodgers to weather the rest of the season plus a deep playoff run? Many analysts and talking heads have argued the Dodgers are one starter short.
Maybe time for a debate, then? Was passing on Jordan Montgomery a bit of an oversight by the front office? It was obvious Andrew Friedman wasn't looking to get in any bidding wars with his low-risk acquisitions of Lynn, Joe Kelly, Amed Rosario and Kiké Hernandez, so there wasn't the typical aggression that characterizes the usual Dodgers trade deadline.
But Montgomery has been quite dominant this year, pitching to a 3.12 ERA, 3.54 FIP and 1.20 WHIP across 25 starts between the Cardinals and Rangers. He just finished off arguably his best outing of the year against the Diamondbacks on Monday night (and unfortunately Aroldis Chapman blew it for him).
Dodgers Debate: Was passing on Jordan Montgomery at trade deadline a big oversight?
The official trade ended up being Montgomery and reliever Chris Stratton for top prospects Tekoah Roby and (No. 11) and Thomas Saggese (No. 14) as well as lefty pitcher John King. What would have the equivalent of that deal been for the Dodgers if they had traded for Stratton, too (somebody they definitely could've used in the bullpen)?
Let's say ... River Ryan and Jorbit Vivas? What about Michael Busch and Ryan Pepiot? Nick Frasso and Rayne Doncon? There are various ways to get creative here because of Roby and Saggese being Double-A talents.
Would any of those packages had fans taken aback by the cost? Really doubtful! Montgomery has been an absolute machine mowing down playoff contenders, hurling 11 quality starts dating back to June 9. Stratton has a 1.29 ERA and 0.57 WHIP in his eight appearances with the Rangers.
In theory, the Dodgers are fine right now with Clayton Kershaw, Julio Urías, Bobby Miller and Lynn. The bullpen has also improved. But with the amount of injuries that have compromised this roster so far, the front office can't bank on a clean bill of health the rest of the way.
Insurance in the form of Monty and Stratton would've been a great sequel to the Lynn/Kelly acquisition, and the pitching staff would've been set up for the long haul, even after the injuries to Tony Gonsolin, Michael Grove and Yency Almonte.
A massive oversight? Not quite. But a little bit more aggression might've gone a long way for the Dodgers without them having to give up talent they weren't comfortable with.