Though by a slim margin, the Los Angeles Dodgers are in first place in their division, are carrying a record payroll, which includes the best pitcher in the game, but the desire and discussion within the organization on how to improve remains constant.
To a certain extent, the Dodgers ability to dig themselves out of a 9.5-game hole in the National League West standings with an oft-injured and struggling Hanley Ramirez, along with a slumping Yasiel Puig, speaks to the team’s overall talent.
Strong starting pitching has been key for the Dodgers, however it now appears to present more questions than answers. Josh Beckett was placed on the disabled list Tuesday and Dan Haren has struggled since a 4-1 start to the season.
According to Bill Shaikin of the LA Times, general manager Ned Colletti said Beckett’s injury won’t have an impact on the Dodgers’ strategy with the trade deadline looming:
It won’t change our approach,” Colletti said. “We are hopeful Josh can be back before the end of the month.
Colletti reiterated the Dodgers would be buyers if it meant improving the team:
Typically, we have been active in July and August. If there is a deal we feel can make us better, we will pursue it.”
The general manager identified the bullpen as needing some work before the trade deadline and he also stated the Dodgers had been involved in plenty of conversations regarding trades, though offered no specifics.
One of the conversations the Dodgers reportedly held was for Jeff Samardzija, but the Dodgers’ reluctance to include elite prospects in a trade prevented the talks from gaining traction.
Losing Chad Billingsley to season-ending surgery stripped the Dodgers of potentially adding a fresh arm to the rotation midway through the season, which in turn may have placed more of an emphasis on acquiring a pitcher.
Considering Mattingly’s assertion the Dodgers will only go so far as their pitching will take them, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to expect the Dodgers to trade for a pitcher before the dust settles.
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