While several contenders made dramatic moves to increase the depth of their pitching staff the Los Angeles Dodgers largely stood pat in the non-waiver trade deadline, opting to hold on to their prospects and resist the urge to deal Joc Pederson, Corey Seager or Julio Urias. The good thing for the Dodgers is that the majority of the big moves took place in the American League, where the Detroit Tigers and Oakland Athletics made major moves to trade for David Price and Jon Lester. Over in the National League the St. Louis Cardinals moved to improve their pitching staff, trading for Justin Masterson and John Lackey—not flashy moves but trades that could impact the National League playoffs should the Cardinals qualify.
In the midst of deciding to not make a move at the trade deadline the Dodgers are in the best form of the season, winners of six consecutive games including three game sweeps of the San Francisco Giants and Atlanta Braves. Like over the weekend in San Francisco the Dodgers starting pitching was dominant in their sweep of a very good Braves team. Thursday night Clayton Kershaw was masterful on the mound again, with another complete game victory. Kershaw has now won ten consecutive decisions, lowering his ERA to a miniscule 1.71. He’s well on his way to another National League Cy Young Award, potentially his third in four seasons. The Dodgers welcome the Chicago Cubs this weekend, a team depleted by the trade of their top two starting pitchers to the Oakland Athletics on the 4th of July.
Did the Dodgers make the right move in standing pat?
If Los Angeles goes on to not reach the World Series, or loses to a Tigers or Athletics team in the World Series many may point to their decision to not deal for Jon Lester or David Price. Hindsight is always 20/20 in professional sports, but the types of players the Dodgers would have had to deal to get either ace starter just weren’t worth it. The Red Sox received slugger Yoenis Cespedes for Lester while the Tigers had to deal outfielder Austin Jackson and starting pitcher Drew Smyly. Cespedes had huge value due to his reasonable contract, while Jackson and Smyly are proven major leaguers. The Dodgers decision to hold on to their prospects and resist the urge to deal for a potential rental player reflects a long-range vision for the franchise. It also likely reflects confidence in the current roster. Sure it would have been nice to pick up an extra starting pitcher, but the Dodgers top three starters are as good as any group in baseball. Postseason baseball often requires a number four starter and Josh Beckett, based on his performance this season, may be up to the task.
If Matt Kemp continues is recent production the Dodgers may very well receive the jolt of energy that a deadline trade can bring a franchise. His recent tear, specifically from a power standpoint, indicates that the former superstar may be returning to form at the right time. A productive Kemp adds another element to a Dodgers lineup that doesn’t have many holes right now.
After the short term rental Price and Lester should still be out there after the season, with Los Angeles in a financial position to sign them long-term, avoiding dealing a major prospect for them.
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