The Los Angeles Dodgers have been playing excellent baseball as spring turned to summer and have found themselves back atop the National League West. As it stands right now, the Dodgers would be the second seed in the NL, which is important as it would give the team a bye straight to the NLDS.
The team has done this despite battling some of the worst injury luck in the entire sport. It has been an up-and-down season for the Boys in Blue, but they obviously have serious talent and fans want to see Andrew Friedman and the front office capitalize on that.
For that reason, many fans are expecting the Dodgers to make splashy moves at the deadline this year. There certainly are a lot of intriguing targets for the team, even if the Los Angeles Angels are being stubborn with Shohei Ohtani. It is just a matter of when a trade will happen — not if — right?
Well, probably not. While the Dodgers are bound to make some kind of move at the deadline, fans shouldn't be expecting any big names to be traded the Dodgers' way.
History indicates the Dodgers' targets at the trade deadline will be underwhelming
The Dodgers have established a bit of a trend at the deadline in recent years that's worth mentioning. The team almost never overpays for players that have multiple years of team control left under contract. If they are going to trade for a bigger name at the deadline, it's going to be a rental.
Yu Darvish, Manny Machado, Max Scherzer, Rich Hill, Josh Reddick, Brian Dozier. All rentals. The only big-name trade acquisition that was more than a rental was Trea Turner, who they got for a year and a half. That was a different circumstance, though, as he came with Scherzer and was very obviously a one-year replacement plan for Corey Seager leaving that upcoming winter.
The problem this year is that the rental market is not the best. Lucas Giolito is one of the biggest rental names on the market and the Dodgers are reportedly interested, but even he isn't an All-Star- caliber player anymore.
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The upcoming free-agent class is pretty bleak, and the list of upcoming free agents on bad teams is even bleaker. Shohei Ohtani really is the only prized jewel of the rental market and all signs are pointing to the Angels holding onto him for the rest of the season.
So what should fans expect? If the Dodgers do make a "big" trade, then the biggest it will get is probably Giolito. Outside of that, history tells us that the Dodgers will add a few bullpen arms (like when they traded for Tony Watson and Tony Cingrani in 2017) and will add a right-handed bat to platoon, like when the team brought in David Freese in 2018.
Will it be enough to actually compete for the World Series and get past the juggernaut Atlanta Braves? Only time will tell. Will it be enough to satisfy a fanbase that is always hungry for splashy moves every summer? Absolutely not.