Dodgers: Bowden Gives LA an A Grade for Off-Season Improvements

Over at The Athletic, former MLB general manager Jim Bowden recently gave his off-season grades for each team. Of course, a big part of the grading was contingent on a few big trades getting done over the weekend…

He gave the Dodgers an A for their off-season changes. Acquiring Mookie Betts probably helped, maybe?

Here are some of Bowden’s thoughts on the biggest Dodgers move.

The Dodgers made the best trade of the off-season on [Sunday] when they acquired right fielder Mookie Betts, one of the best players in baseball, and left-handed starter David Price from the Red Sox.

The Dodgers are now favorites to get back to the World Series because of the trade and it gives them their best chance of winning their first World Series since 1988.

This Changes Everything

That subheading is not just a platitude. I had this piece mostly written before the Mookie Betts acquisition happened (again). As anyone who has ever written anything, even a paper in high school, to a speech for thousands, highlighting a huge chunk and deleting means something behemoth has happened. Well, something behemoth has happened.

The Dodgers have acquired an MVP and a four-time gold glove award winner. All of this to say nothing of acquiring a 100-mph throwing pitcher in Brusdar Graterol. To say nothing of also acquiring a world series hero in David Price.

Anaheim Backs Away

For reasons passing most people’s understanding, the Angels have declared the no longer have interest in acquiring Joc Pederson or Ross Stripling. While Joc Pederson is reportedly still on the trade block for any other teams interested, this means that Andrew Friedman acquired Betts, Price, and Graderol without giving Joc Pederson or Ross Stripling. Ross Stripling himself has shown to be very happy to still be a Dodger. 

Where Would Those Put The Dodgers?

This easily puts the Dodgers at the best in the NL West. Los Angeles was projected by experts to win 99 games even before the Mookie Betts trade. Adding Betts and Price brings that to a number every Dodger fan is smiling about. 99 wins would win the NL west easily, and give the Dodgers another good chance in October.

The addition of Mookie Betts and company makes those numbers look unreal. This to say nothing of the fact that earlier in the off-season, LA added pitchers Jimmy Nelson and Blake Treinen. Those are two arms coming off bad years or injured years who could easily be revitalized by the pitching staff.

Treinen had 38 saves while posting a 0.78 ERA (!) and a ridiculous 531 ERA+ in 2018. Fixing his 2019 issues could once again make him an elite closer in a bullpen that was sorely in need of help last season. Of course, Treinen has come out and said he has no plans to take Kenley Jansen’s job.

Jimmy Nelson did not pitch much in 2018 or 2019, but his 2017 was very impressive. He posted a 12-6 record with a 3.49 ERA, and his FIP indicates he may have been a little better than those numbers show. These are underrated acquisitions that could propel the pitching staff in 2020.

There are no promises. This does not mean the Dodgers win. But Dodger fans have longed for that key piece to make them an absolutely unstoppable team. Mookie Betts and a revitalized David Price can do that. As the cliche goes, only time will tell.

NEXT: Former GM Examines Dynamic of Betts & Bellinger Together

AJ Gonzalez

AJ is a lifelong Dodgers and Lakers fan who grew up in California. His whole family is also lifelong Dodgers fans. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, two kids, his guitars, and beagle Kobe.

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