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.