You can't say the Los Angeles Dodgers didn't try. Maybe they could've been more aggressive, but no team could've prepared for the disaster they've endured with their pitching staff this year. And even their top contingency plans would've failed, too.
Justin Verlander's return to Houston hasn't exactly been "great." He has a 3.86 ERA, 4.61 FIP and 1.18 WHIP with just 45 strikeouts in eight starts (49 innings). Lucas Giolito? Ha, we don't even need to elaborate. Jordan Montgomery, who could still be deemed a "miss," has fallen off a bit too. Michael Lorenzen has been straight up bad ever since his perfect game for the Phillies.
And everything else in between ... you get the picture. But the final blow came on Wednesday when the Texas Rangers announced Max Scherzer would miss the remainder of 2023 due to a strained teres major after he left his start on Tuesday night against the Blue Jays.
First, Jacob deGrom went down for Texas. Nathan Eovaldi was next. The Rangers made the aggressive and logical decision to go after Scherzer and Montgomery with a purpose, and they succeeded. It took some serious farm system capital, but they got it done because they were even more confident about 2023 and 2024.
Max Scherzer injury is further proof Dodgers pitching plans were cursed all along
The Dodgers were reportedly in on Verlander and Scherzer at the trade deadline but either the Mets preferred other teams' farm systems or the Dodgers weren't willing to part with their top talent in exchange for Steve Cohen taking on most of the pitchers' remaining money.
In the end, the Dodgers would've further been in shambles had one of these guys arrived and either couldn't pitch in the postseason or weren't performing up to standards. The season would've been viewed through a much different lens by the fans.
Are we saying Lance Lynn, Ryan Yarbrough, Ryan Pepiot, Gavin Stone and Emmet Sheehan are better solutions? Not at all. But the fact fans know that's what the team is working with helps normalize expectations rather than inflate them and result in greater disappointment.
More importantly, for all the fans out there that wanted the Dodgers to be cutthroat at the deadline and acquire more blockbuster options, almost all of them would've backfired. And all of them would've been underwhelming. There was, somehow, no winning on the pitching front for the Dodgers (or really anybody else) at this year's trade deadline.
It's not a reason to celebrate because it's admittedly disheartening for the sport at the moment, but Dodgers fans no longer have to beat themselves up about what could've been if Andrew Friedman and Co. went "over the edge" to improve the 2023 roster's fortunes. The World Series is the Braves' to lose ... but perhaps that's what the Dodgers wanted all along.