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Dodgers: Three Needs to Address Before the Trade Deadline



The 2021 season is moving right along, and the time has come for teams to decide if they will be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline.

As usual, the Dodgers find themselves primed for a postseason berth. This time around, however, they are facing some stiff competition from both the Padres and the Giants in the NL West. With July 30th and the trade deadline rapidly approaching, let’s take a look at some areas where the team could look to upgrade.

3. Another Starting Pitcher

The biggest strength for the Dodgers heading into the season was their tremendous starting pitching depth. With 8 solid options to start games, the only question on everyone’s mind was how on earth the team would deploy their weapons.

Fast forward two months and that depth is largely depleted. Dustin May is out for the year, Tony Gonsolin barely made his season debut after missing the first two months with an injury, and both David Price and Jimmy Nelson have been relegated to bullpen duties when healthy.

Coming off of a shortened season, it’s highly unlikely that the team will want their starters throwing much more than 200 innings – particularly Julio Urías, who has never thrown 80 innings in a major league season.

Expect the Dodgers to comb the market for an innings eater if the price is right.

2. A Bat Off the Bench

The offense has been one of the biggest question marks for this team throughout the first half of the season. The dry spells are largely due to the numerous injuries that the lineup has faced, but that doesn’t change the fact that they’ve taken a large step back.

Chris Taylor has played like an All-Star this year and helped carry the offense along the way. But with his name being penciled into the starting lineup almost every night, who becomes the bat off the bench? Albert Pujols has been incredible since arriving from Anaheim, but expecting him to sustain it for the entire season might be pushing it. Matt Beaty has been excellent when given opportunities, but for some reason, Dave Roberts likes to leave him on the bench in critical moments. McKinstry has largely cooled off after an impressive run, and none of the minor leaguers have shown enough to solidify a spot on the roster.

This team has World Series aspirations, and the bench as currently constructed won’t get it done come October.

1. A Shutdown Reliever

The Dodgers bullpen has been a mess all season. looking at earned runs alone, the team comes in at number 12 with a 3.82 bullpen ERA. While that may not be a great number, it also isn’t terrible. The true weakness has come in closing out games, where the Dodgers have blown 15 save opportunities – second only to the Miami Marlins who have 16.

As expected, the Dodgers have had a revolving door out in the bullpen, already using 17 different arms in relief. Kenley Jansen has enjoyed a resurgence this season, but I don’t know of a single fan who wouldn’t mind giving him some more reliable backup. Last season showed how valuable a shutdown arm can be in October, with Julio Urías becoming their go-to arm. Now that Julio seems to have the 4th rotation spot locked down, however, the team will need results from someone else.

NEXT: Tony Gonsolin is Back, Why His Return is Huge for LA, Plus Seager, Graterol, Injury Updates

Written by Daniel Palma

Daniel is an avid sports fan who loves his hometown teams. If he's not watching baseball, you can find him playing or coaching. No matter what, he'll always root for the Boys in Blue!

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  1. Starting pitcher – yes. Another bat on bench – no; Pujols is the guy they needed to supply punch against LH pitching, and Beaty/McKinstry/Raley is all that is needed from the left side. Reliever? Only if the price is right. I believe Victor Gonzalez can handle closing duties when needed.

    • I agree with SoCalBum. The name Sherzer comes to mind for starting pitcher. I believe also that Victor G. can be our guy. We have a wealth of bats on the bench now that King Albert has joined the party.

    • The Dodgers need one of each. They should target another starter, true. They DO need another bench bat. A bench of Tsutusgo-.155/0/7 .451 OPS, Pujols-.217/9/24 .698 OPS, Barnes-.230/2/14 .693 OPS, McKinstry-.243/3/16 .732 OPS, and Beaty-.283/3/26 .790 OPS. If I’m an opposing team, that bench isn’t scaring anybody. The only two who have produced are Beaty, and Pujols against lefties. They need another right handed bench bat. And they need another reliever, NOT another closer. Victor Gonzalez, Kenley Jansen, and Blake Treinen, if you’ve seen-are the only three reliable arms in the bullpen. None of the lottery tickets Friedman bought-Knebel, Morrow, and Nelson-have panned it. You get what you paid for-and it’s no wonder they haven’t worked out. Two due to injuries yet again, and Nelson himself has been inconsistent. There are a couple from the Pirates and Marlins worth looking into.

      • Knebel was very good before going down. He is not a throwaway.

        Trading Dylan Floro was a head-scratcher at the time and remains so. Floro was good at inducing grounders and DPs. Alex Vesia in return has made that trade look worse.

    • I agree with you, and we have plenty of ‘good arms’ in Farm System. There is plenty of talent of talent on the bench, We have good depth on in the bullpen.\\\\*
      SELAH!-Stop,Think about this,Reflect on it!*

  2. I understand that the Dodgers have a world series hangover. I am of the opinion that this team has so many weaknesses, that a repeat is slim to none. Don’t enjoy struggling against last place Pittsburgh. Simply put, we are a very average team in 2021, and I am very disappointed in the season to date.

    • I doubt you’re a fan then if you think this team is “average”. This team still ranks among the league leaders in ERA, has the 2nd best record in the NL, 2nd best run differential, and averages the 3rd most runs per game. The bullpen is clearly the main weakness-apart from Victor Gonzalez, Kenley Jansen, and Blake Treinen-there are no arms in the bullpen that can be trusted. They need another reliever, another bench bat, and another “average” starter. Other than that, this team is every bit as good as it was a year ago.

      • some might argue they are even better than last year’s team! So many injuries and yet they are right there for best MLB record. starting pitching is amazing, Kenley the best he’s been in years! Lux, Beatty and McKinstry big improvements over last year. We are slowly getting back players. Just think where this team will be when Seager returns. and finally looks like Betts is starting to play!

  3. At the start of the season, the team had 8 viable starters. Since then, they’ve lost May and just got Gonsolin back from the IL. By my math they still have 7 viable starters. Price and Nelson are both better options than some middling pitcher that cost prospects.

    Pujols was exactly what they needed and has performed better than they expected.

    RP is the area to look at. If Knebel can recover they’re good; If not, they’ll need to look at someone.

  4. We don’t need anyone else. This team has what it needs right now. If Knebel could return healthy that would be nice. I’d like to see Graterol come back strong. Gonsolin will get back in the flow. I have questioned Jansen as closer for the last three years, but he actually seems to have improved and picked up velocity somehow. The Dodgers should stick with what they have barring any additional injuries.

  5. Just don’t trust Kenley. Again we need a big rh bat and a shut down closer. Having AP is nice but he is not the answer.

  6. Who do we need? I would like to see one more big gun at the plate and relax the pitchers all around. Muncy is this big gun now. I think putting him in the line up at the 2 spot is perfect or almost and the addition of Albert will make the line up strong. Anything else, keep eyes open by everyone

  7. If Dodgers feel there’s someone out there at the deadline to help them get to October, then fine. First, no more BP games. If not convinced Gonsolin will be the answer to a 5th starter going forward, then that’s an area to look at. But most important is roster balance meaning 13 pitchers and 13 position players. Continuing with this 14-12 ratio won’t cut it as the year goes on. Yes, Urias has actually contributed offensively but this year’s team may not still be as good as last year’s team offensively mainly because of no DH. Last year having a DH gave some regulars times off their feet while still keeping their bat in the lineup instead of having the usual out recorded with a pitcher batting instead.

  8. When Seager comes back the line up will be solid and balanced to face lefties or righties. The bench also will be balanced w/ righties Pujols and Pollock; lefties Z. Mck. and Beaty. Would be also intriguing to have a contact switch hitter that can play various positions…..that would give Doc many options off the bench and keep the oppo. mngr. guessing. Another thing to balance the BP is look for another high leverage type of LH reliever who can get both RH and LH bats out. The RH relievers of the BP looks good but Price and Gonzalez are only solid when facing LH bats. Barring anymore injuries and guys coming back, they shouldn’t trade prospects or expend unnecessarily, unless those options come @ a low cost.

  9. This team needs a couple things. One a lockdown not closer but bullpen arm that can come in and shutdown any inning. Personally I think going to Minnesota and trading for Taylor Rogers would work. Two we need a right handed bat off the bench( What I wouldn’t give for David fresse right now) but I think calling the Royals for Whit Merrifield will do. I don’t think we need another starter, I am hoping that Tony can pitch well enough for the rest of the year. I also think we only need on bullpen arm because I am holding out hope that Kenbel can come back and be another good arm for us.

  10. The Rockies are desperate for a major league ready catcher. The 2 that they have are both hitting below the Mendoza line. Also, Jon Gray and Trevor Story will be free agents and need to be traded. I would offer them Ruiz and Lux straight up provided Gray and Story will sign a long term contract with us. This would be protection for us if we lost Seager to free agency.

  11. Roberts has to start playing Beaty more and consider moving CT3 to leadoff with Mookie 8th. That still leaves him in a spot where he can start some innings while figuring things out. Otherwise, sit him and let him heal. Another bullpen arm is needed but not a SP. Just get Price to start earning his pay!

  12. Dodgers don’t need a single player. They are stacked and just need everyone back healthy and playing. They’ll be in first before the trade deadline, and AF won’t see any need to add, or improve the best team in MLB!

    • Looks like McKinstry might beat out Lux at 2nd unless Lux gets his s- -t together and lives up to his minor league production. With our loaded minor league catchers, Ruiz might be stuck in AAA, so my idea of trading him for Story and/or even swaping our Gray for the Rockies Gray would be good insurance IMHO. Does anyone know if Seager is happy to be a Dodger? After all, I’m sure he was aware of AF’s desire to acquire Lindor prior to him signing with the Mets. If we had both Story and Seager, maybe we could move JT to first base and Seager to 3rd and Muncy to 2nd. That would free up CT3 to play left field or any other position when players need a day off.

  13. I have said this before the Dodger even got him. Albert was actually released form the Angeles and personally I thought what a asset to any line up he would be. This is what draws people to the game He never had to prove anything. Thank you Angeles, what a mistake you made. Its not every day you get a hall of fame, future hall of fame player. We don’t have to even think about it.

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