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Dodgers: Trade or No Trade, They’ll Be Good

Christmas came and went quietly for Dodgers fans. Any that were like myself, spent a lot of time looking on Twitter for news on the potential Francisco Lindor & Mike Clevinger trade rumors. Well, no such luck. Those Christmas wishes of the Dodgers tipping the scales in their favor with a blockbuster trade are still just that, wishes. While there is still plenty of time for the Dodgers to make a big trade happen, they are in good shape as they are.

Offense

From an offensive standpoint, the Dodgers are currently poised to bring back the same position players that led the National League in home runs, RBIs, runs, slugging percentage, and OPS. Their situational hitting was also exceptional as they grounded into the second fewest double-plays while also leading the NL in sacrifice bunts and flies. Furthermore, the Dodgers’ batters showed tremendous discipline at the plate as they had the third most walks and third fewest strikeouts in the NL.

It’s important to remember that as impressive as the stats are, the Dodgers missed out on a full season of Alex Verdugo production due to injury and a shortened first month due to platoon situations. Corey Seager was also just a shadow of his former self as he struggled to shake off the rust of a full season spent recovering from injuries. Lastly, the Dodgers have been steadfast in objecting to any trade where second baseman Gavin Lux is the cost. 

Lux, who was the Minor League Player of the Year, slashed .347/.421/.607 while mashing 26 home runs and 76 RBIs. Given regular playing time, Lux could very well put up some similar numbers at the major league level.

Pitching

At present, the Dodgers are currently working with a 4-man core starting rotation of Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Kenta Maeda, and Ross Stripling. The loss of Rich Hill and Hyun-Jin Ryu to free agency certainly impacts how to fill that fifth starting spot. Julio Urias might finally get his chance to start on a regular basis, but the Dodgers also have Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin looking to spend their first full season in the Majors. With likely innings restrictions for May and Gonsolin, I can foresee the Dodgers starting the season platooning the fifth starting spot between them and Maeda, Stripling, or Urias to keep innings down.

While people may feel bleak about missing out on a “ryu”nion, there’s plenty upside to the Dodgers pitching depth. In fact, ESPN just ranked LA’s rotation Top 10 in MLB for the 2020 season. Ross Stripling didn’t pitch enough innings to qualify for the leader board, but he still posted good numbers. In his 90.2 innings pitched Stripling had a 3.47 ERA, 9.23 K/9, 1.99 BB/9, and very respectable 3.47 FIP.  Maeda’s 153.2 innings pitched earned him a 4.04 ERA, 9.90 K/9, 2.89 BB/9, and a 3.95 FIP.  Lastly, Urias who threw just 79.2 innings had a 2.49 ERA, 9.60 K/9, 3.05 BB/9, and a 3.43 FIP.  They may not be staff aces, but these three along with the rookies do have enough firepower on the mound to follow Kershaw and Buehler. 

Final Thoughts

Its December, sure the Dodgers have missed some opportunities to boost their rotation.  Not for lack of trying, their offer to Gerrit Cole was very reasonable. In fact, it was an uncharacteristic kind of offer from the Dodgers front office. So uncharacteristic though, that now everyone expects some other kind of “big splash” move that may or may not come. Either way the fanbase is sure to be split. No acquisitions will leave the fanbase feeling “unheard” and “unvalued”. However, any “big” acquisition at this point will have to come via trade.  Such a trade will undoubtedly come at the cost of fan favorites and/or top prospects. 

Personally, I’d like to see one more quality starting pitcher and that elusive right-handed power bat wouldn’t hurt either. The latter is not a necessity though. The Dodgers offense is going to be the same next season, if not better. Really, an additional starter isn’t a necessity either, but it does give the Dodgers an edge. Previously I’ve stated the Dodgers should give Seager one more year and I stand by that, but if Seager is the only way to add another starter and get Lindor in return, I’m all for it. Add some insurance by re-signing Rich Hill to a short-term contract and the Dodgers could quickly move to the top of the power rankings.

I love everyone on the roster and, just as it was with Ryu, it’d be sad to see them go. Above all else though, I’m a Dodger fan. I want the Dodgers to improve as a team, win a championship, and to do so while remaining sustainably competitive. If they must part ways with “fan favorites” or anyone else really in order to accomplish that, I’m in. Whatever it takes, win now.

NEXT: Dodgers Need To Get Aggressive, Says Sirius XM MLB Radio Host

Written by Jason McClure

Technically a Dodgers bandwagon fan. At 5 years old, I decided they were my favorite team after hearing they won the World Series on my mom’s car radio in 1988. My father (technically my stepfather) watered that seed, teaching me the game and introducing me to the beauty of Dodger Stadium. We got to know each other and bonded over games. Even when we couldn’t get along during my teenage years, we could come together over Vin Scully’s voice and a game. Dodger baseball is, and will always be, so much more than just a game.

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    • Perfect post Tim !
      I am so tired of hearing all those regular season stats .
      Dodgers need post season players the caliber of Rendon , Soto , Cole ,Strasburg.
      I tip my LA cap to the FO for trying , the price for Cole was steep so I get that and seems they would have tried with Rendon had he been interested , same maybe with Strasburg.
      I just hope they don’t give up on Lindor . Seager is not playoff caliber .
      Same with Pollack , surely some team would take him and his albatross contract , especially is LA would pay a portion of it , I think it would be a good move .

  1. No der they’ll be good… for the season. Then all of their deficiencies will bite them in the playoffs like every year

  2. Making the playoffs is hard enough. Doing it for as long as the Dodgers have done it is incredible. Someone is doing something correctly.

  3. I would guess most here including me totally disagree with this page. First of all, the offense is unbalanced and every time a LHP faces Dodgers Roberts will shuffle the lineup around believing that Kiki and Taylor will be the answers from the right side…Bull butter! Roberts will do his usual stuff and should the team make it to the PS he and the rest of this ‘good’ team will be exposed by elite pitching, especially LHP.. To say a RH impact bat is not a necessity is totally ludicrous. Pitching? it won’t be enough to carry team through 162 and certainly will not be good enough in October.

    • Dodgers lineup is good, lots of teams would love to have it or half of it! What needs to happen is these guys need to show up when the post season starts. They need to make adjustments at the plate and that actually starts during the season. The coaches, manager, especially the manager, pitchers & batters all need to step up to their “A” game in the postseason!! It’s time to put your BIG LEAGUE UNIFORM on!! Shut up, step up & put up!!!

      • Maybe so as far as the lineup goes, but then it’s how Roberts plays musical chairs with them mainly because there is still an unbalance here. At least 1 impact RHB to put behind Bellinger might very well give Bellinger better pitches to hit. Putting Kiki or Taylor behind him is not the answer. Against the elite LHP Dodgers are still a bit short. But correct in them having to step up in October, that’s a given. If the lineup is so good, why then does Roberts find it necessary to shuffle it around every time the team faces a LHP?

        • Most if not all MLB managers play the right/lefty game today. Not just Robert’s. I, for one, would like to see a mostly set lineup this year with a few tweaks for game planning. Just take the pitching decisions out of Docs hands if we are fortunate enough to get to the playoffs again.

          • Ralph, correct but the other teams do not do the R-L-R-L match ups to the extent Roberts does. I have read on several pages fans asking why he would sit a hot bat just because of the hand the opposing pitcher throws with. i concur a more set lineup that HITS BOTH RH& LH, meaning not too bad of splits between them.. Of course account for an off day for some and or injuries. But it has had to be difficult for the offense to maintain consistency when players are in different spots in the order daily with the exception of a couple guys, and also not knowing if they are in the lineup or not and where they might be in the field.

        • Paul, that’s Roberts and/or Friedman and all of the analytics they want to swear by on how they make out the daily lineup. I’ll bet that has had an impact on not being able to get some of the big name free agents to come to L.A. too. I agree on needing a GOOD right handed hitter per your reasons above. I think a deal could be done with the Cubs for Kris Bryant that would help both teams without the Dodgers having to overpay. If that could happen along with another good starting pitcher and/or reliever, we should definitely be set!

  4. McClure your an idiot. Your probably on Friedman payroll. The team is good, but an organization that gets 4 million in attendance every year the fans deserves more. Than a good team. So stop protecting is greedy monster. Friedman is the worst person to ever be involved with dodger baseball. And until he’s gone I will never go or hope they win. I’m headed south down the 5 fwy. And I’m starting Red instead of blue.

  5. What Andrew means is, as long as the rest of the NL West is poor, and we sell 3.8 million tickets, and Guggenheim doesn’t spend money, we’ll look like kings!

  6. The Dodgers will be good enough to win the division with the current roster. Perhaps they could even do it blindfolded. The Giants, Rockies, and Dbacks are all lame. And the Padres are still a year away from contending. But the Dodgers are not good enough to win in the postseason without another established starting pitcher. If you’re satisfied with another division win, and getting bounced quickly out of the postseason (like last year), don’t do anything.

  7. I honestly think they can win the division 2 more years for sure, the other teams in the division are looking better with their own prospects, now it will be exiting to see the dodgers fight for a division title, finally something for us fans to cheer about, a hard fought division title!!!!

  8. Trade or not Trade, the Dodgers may be good, but NOT GOOD ENOUGH. I’m tired of just winning the Division. I want to get to the World Series and win the dam thing, my goodness!

  9. Once again the Dodgers need a right handed power hitter and a proven starting pitcher. If they don’t do that they will fail again. And I agree Roberts needs to stop his stupid platonning.

  10. What makes you guys think the Division is a lock? None of these farm players like Smith, Lux, or May,Gonsolin,Verdugo have played 162 game season. Not even Urius has made more than 100 innings. The Dodgers farm players are being touted as these saviours and Champions but last time I checked none of them have won any championships in the minors either.! Oklahoma city made it to the championship in 16 , but came in second! So what guaranteed formula will we all of the sudden attain that says all of these guys will lead this team to a championship? These are the question marks that the FO has been guaranteeing Dodgers fans as their reasoning to not pay for, or trade for any bonafide major league players! Then when these farm players choke in big moments, the complacent excuse is that ” wait until they develope”! I personally have heard enough of the excuses. This article is like reading a used car salesman’s pitch to sell cigarettes to some 3 rd graders.

    • LOL, Kirk but correct here in all points. Remember now what I saiod a while ago tthat explains to a degree what your are talking about as far as excuses go…
      Some teams have what it takes…
      And the Dodgers just have excuses!

      • Paul,NODH, and many more here! I hate sounding unimpressed, or not agreeing with experimental money ball idealism, but a duck is a duck and what most all of you guys understand is the game first, and then comes fandom and personal choice of teams! Paul and NODH both have been accurate regarding needing a big time starter and a RH power bat! Not only do we need those, we desperately have needed a true leadoff hitter that can hit 300, has speed and steal bases, contact hitter that can sac bunt, squeeze, hit and run and just simply be able to do fundamentals! The only current Dodger that can do this is Bellinger ! We also need a shut down closer, Kenley is not ever returning to his better self ” unless Roberts only uses him against sub 500 teams and a 3 run lead”. That’s 4 still glaring weaknesses that have not been addressed! We still need a catcher also as relying on Smith is a stretch, and not having anything better than Barnes is a stretch. It amazes me how many fans drink the Friedman kool aid and think all of these weaknesses will just all suffice when the touted triple A gems develope. Friedman is using the big league club like he should be using the triple A club! And is exactly why Oak City hasn’t won any Championships in the Pacific Coast league! Their best players are developing at the big league level taking roster spots from already developed top tier talent that should be helping the majors team!! Its all a never ending excuse! Developing talent!! Blah blah, yeah sure Andrew, sure you are!

  11. Owners, Kasten, and Friedman should be run out of town on a rail while wearing hot tar and feathers! Despite $334Mill per year for TV (that most of us cannot watch), more filled seats in each of the last 7 years than anyone else in the MLB, plus revenues from radio, merchandising, and advertising, Ownership’s obvious goal is field a team only good enough to win the Weak, Weak West each year to fill seats while NEVER spending into the MLB luxury tax. They pretend to be “in” on all top tier talent available but then purposely follow a strategy that guarantees NOT bringing the big Salary to Los Angeles even if it WOULD result in a likely WS Championship win.

  12. “their offer to Gerrit Cole was very reasonable.” We all know, “reasonable” is the same as putting in a bid in an auction just so you can say, “we tried…” Well, trying doesn’t feed the bulldog. Winning does. How about we quit trying and actually “DO” something for a change. Just getting to the playoffs and occasionally going to the World Series with no real expectation to win is like showing up to a gun fight with a knife!

  13. The dodgers will be good again. And should have no trouble winning their lousy division for the 8th straight year, but will not make it back to the world series if they face a team with great pitching.
    If they do make it to the world series, the Yankees will have them beat by adding Gerritt Cole.

  14. Until other divisional teams start to challenge the Dodgers and jeopardize their chances of making the playoffs, Friedman will continue to work with no urgency thus no big trades and no long term lucrative contracts to top free agents. While us Dodger fans will continue to lament 32 years of WS championship drought, Friedman and current Dodger ownership view their drought to have started when they took over 5 years ago. Until other team divisional team challenge the Dodgers, Friedman and ownership will put financial gains first and winning WS championship second.

  15. All the points you make are mostly correct, but this team is built to win a division title, not a world series. Their starting pitching is weaker with the loss of Ryu, adding one reliever is good but we don’t have a dominant bull pen, a decent one but not one that will shut down top hitters that any team in the playoffs will have. We are still weak on RH hitting, decent but do need a htter with power and can hit for a decent average. Prospects are just that, prospects. Friedman had his chance to sign the free agents that were available which wouldn’t have cost him any prospects and didn’t do it as of yet. You know his history and he is to tight to spend the bucks which he has plenty of. He is pissing off the fan base as is Kasan. Yes, will will win the West because its weak, but I doubt this team as it is constructed will win a WS. You are kidding yourself if you seriously think so.

    • Well, let me ask you and others here this:
      Do ya all really want the Dodgers to again sneak into the PS due from playing 76 games of their schedule against a sub par NL West? I mean to say is are you again prepared to see another PS elimination on our home field? Honestly, at this point, if Freidman and Co. won’t do anything else to shore up the holes than I would rather they miss October this year so we do not have to be embarrassed again in October. I am not sure I could stomach a 4th straight PS elimination on our home field.

  16. If the Angels were really good in 2020; good enough enough to make the payoffs and be a real threat to anyone they played against, I’d be very happy for them. It would be a tremendous improvement for that team. (Not that I think there is a chance in hell that will happen.)

    However, being just good enough to make the playoffs isn’t good enough for the Dodgers. Winning their rather weak division isn’t good enough either. There is no reason for Dodger fans to support this team with their dollars if the owners and F.O. won’t take the risks and pay the price to be the very best, in order to win it all. I foresee the Dodgers F.O. tinkering around the edges in 2020, just like last year..

  17. “Good Enough” Not “Great.” Not a shot at “World Series Championship Team.” Just “Good enough.” That’s the Goal for the Owners, Kasten and Friedman; just Good Enough…to win the Weak, Weak West while not committing to any long term payroll. Despite 7 straight years of highest attendance in the MLB and a $334Million TV contract, the Owners are looking for partners to buy into the Dodgers and the “Business of the Dodgers” is the highest priority, NOT a WS Championship, just keeping the seats full

  18. Jason, as usual a good analysis of the Dodgers situation. Guess we have to wait and see what path they will take.

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