Stunned by the Dodgers’ failure to land a front-line starter?
How Andrew Friedman approached the commerce deadline was how he approached the offseason.
The Dodgers’ president of baseball operations can say no matter he desires about liking his workforce and its possibilities of profitable a World Collection this 12 months, however his actions in the course of the previous eight-plus months have revealed one thing completely completely different.
His most vital acquisitions in the course of the winter had been reclamation tasks akin to J.D. Martinez and Noah Syndergaard.
His main additions in latest days had been extra gamers with comparable descriptions, akin to Kiké Hernández and Lance Lynn.
No workforce with a $240-million payroll may be accused of punting on a season, however no workforce that has nickel-and-dimed as a lot as these Dodgers not too long ago have may be described as going for it both.
The Trevor Bauer fiasco wasn’t resolved till mid-January and perhaps they had been restricted over the winter by the unsure monetary impression. Perhaps proprietor Mark Walter determined to chop again on spending. Or perhaps they actually had been saving to make a run at Shohei Ohtani subsequent winter.
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Regardless of the case, there was by no means a sense the Dodgers had been constructing a World Collection workforce.
This suspicion was just about confirmed in latest days, as an underwhelming offseason has now been adopted by an underwhelming commerce deadline wherein their reinforcements included Amed Rosario, Joe Kelly and Ryan Yarbrough.
Supervisor Dave Roberts didn’t put on his trademark smile on Tuesday, trying about as cheerful as Sean McVay was days earlier when the Rams coach talked about his rebuilding workforce’s prospects for the upcoming season.
The Dodgers proceed to be stricken by the identical downside they’d earlier than the commerce deadline.
Their rotation stays shaky up high, with Julio Urías underperforming and Clayton Kershaw working his manner again from a shoulder harm. They’ve an inconsistent bullpen and a top-heavy lineup.
Roberts is once more being set as much as fail.
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Prioritizing the long run over the current, Friedman refused to deal the mandatory prospects to amass the likes of Justin Verlander or Dylan Stop, who had been accessible for the suitable value.
Requested if groups had been asking an excessive amount of for high-end pitchers, Friedman stated that wasn’t the case, pointing to a proposed commerce with the Detroit Tigers that unraveled when left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez invoked the no-trade provision in his contract.
“I imply, one we lined up on,” Friedman stated, conveniently ignoring the fact that Rodriguez isn’t the identical caliber of pitcher as Verlander or Stop.
The Dodgers have made blockbuster offers on the deadline underneath Friedman, for Yu Davish, for Manny Machado and for Max Scherzer and Trea Turner. In every of these situations, nevertheless, the fee was restricted to a handful of prospects with restricted upsides.
The postseason discipline was expanded to 12 groups final 12 months, reworking the commerce market into extra of a vendor’s market. This isn’t an atmosphere wherein the Dodgers prefer to function. Friedman’s image-sensitive nature calls for they win every commerce. Friedman is but to point out the willingness to overpay for a participant, even when that participant would drastically enhance the workforce’s possibilities of profitable a championship.
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The Dodgers aren’t a workforce that might commerce for a pitcher like Verlander or Stop underneath such circumstances. Final 12 months, additionally they had been extra observers than members on the commerce deadline, as they watched the San Diego Padres purchase Juan Soto and Josh Hader and the Seattle Mariners get hold of Luis Castillo.
Requested if the shift within the commerce market might require the Dodgers to rethink their technique, Friedman once more pointed to the near-trade for Rodriguez.
“We had been capable of line up on a man that we felt might have featured prominently in October,” Friedman stated, as if he was about to strike a deal for Bob Gibson.
Rodriguez has a profession earned-run common of 4.05.
To be truthful, touchdown a No. 1 starter akin to Verlander or Stop wouldn’t have assured that the Dodgers would take down the Atlanta Braves within the postseason. Urías would have nonetheless needed to rediscover his previous kind. Kershaw would have nonetheless needed to return from the harm record and stay wholesome. However the Dodgers would have given themselves an opportunity.
As an alternative, by refusing to commerce for Verlander or Stop, the Dodgers kind of assured their season will finish the way in which the final one did, someplace in need of the World Collection, in a spot the place their followers would marvel if the entrance workplace wished to win as a lot as they did.
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This story initially appeared in Los Angeles Occasions.