LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers will go into the All-Star break with an MLB best 61-29 record. They have been trading punches with the Houston Astros for the better part of a month now for the MLB crown. If the team can somehow manage to keep up their blistering pace, they are on track for a National League record setting 109 win season, last achieved by the 1909 Pirates. This possibility isn’t too outlandish, considering the boys in blue are only the fourth team in the last 40 years to win 60 games before the All-Star Break. They join the 1998 New York Yankees, the 2001 Seattle Mariners and the 2003 Atlanta Braves, who went on to win 114, 116, and 101 games respectively, per ESPN stats & info.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 9, 2017
One could ask the question: what do they need to get better? Well, considering the Dodgers have the number one pitching staff and one of the most feared offenses, not much. Manager Dave Roberts will tell you, like all coaches say, “we can always get better.” That’s the attitude of any manager with a team in a good situation.
Having said that, the Dodgers don’t have glaring needs, but they could add another impact bat and/or a reliever to fortify the bullpen.
That is what the Chicago Cubs did last season, and it won them the coveted World Series title. But the Dodgers are in a different situation than the Cubs. They don’t need a top notch closer, with the presence of Kenley Jansen. All they need is another minor piece that they can acquire without breaking the bank.
A highly talked about reliever is the Padres’ lefty Brad Hand, who is having another stellar year. He boasts a 2.30 ERA, with 60 Ks and 13 BBs in 47 innings pitched. According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, the rebuilding Padres could possibly let him go for Brock Stewart and number 16 prospect Trevor Oaks. This would not be a huge loss to the Dodgers as they get a quality reliever for two top 20 prospects. It would also be appealing to the Padres, as both players are MLB ready and under team control. It remains to be seen whether the Padres will be willing to assist in the Dodgers’ quest for another NL West pennant and the ever elusive World Series title.
Another reliever the Dodgers could inquire about is the Detroit Tigers’ hard throwing lefty Justin Wilson. He, like Hand, has been having a terrific year. Wilson owns a 2.48 ERA, with 48 Ks and 12 BBs in 32.2 innings pitched. One could presume Wilson’s trade value is somewhere close to Hand’s. I personally like Wilson a little better because he has a 97 mph four-seam fastball to pair with his 93 mph cutter. Also, what makes him even more appealing is that the Dodgers have been rumored to be interested in Tigers’ outfielder J.D. Martinez. He is on an expiring contract and the Tigers are not in contention to make the postseason. The Dodgers may be able to kill two birds with one stone and acquire both pieces.
The Dodgers don’t have any glaring holes at the moment, so they are not in a position where they will be forced to break the bank to get better. Without any additions, they still have the best pitching staff in baseball and rank amongst the best in on base percentage, slugging and OPS. Don’t be surprised if the Dodgers stand pat at the trade deadline.
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