Hi, and welcome to a bonus edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, wondering why the Dodgers haven't clinched the division yet after acquiring Yu Darvish. What's taking so long?
The rest of the story
We covered the deadline deals the Dodgers made in Tuesday's newsletter, so in today's bonus edition of Dodgers Dugout, let's take a look at what the teams the Dodgers may face in the NL playoffs did.
Acquired reliever David Hernandez from the Angels for pitching prospect Luis Madero.
Acquired infielder Adam Rosales from Oakland for pitching prospect Jeferson Mejia.
Acquired catcher John Ryan Murphy from Minnesota for minor league left-hander Gabriel Moya.
Hernandez strengthens the bullpen, as he haD a 2.23 ERA and a 1.86 FIP in 36 1/3 innings with the Angels. Rosales was acquired to shore up the infield after Chris Owings broke his finger and Ketel Marte was away for a while after his mother was killed in a car accident. Murphy is a very good defensive catcher who hit .222 in triple A this season. In other words, no potential game changers among the players Arizona acquired.
Acquired catcher Jonathan Lucroy from Texas for a player to be named.
Acquired reliever Pat Neshek from Philadelphia for minor leaguers Jose Gomez, J.D. Hammer and Alejandro Requena.
Lucroy has been having a down year (.242/.297/.338) , but has been a much better hitter than that in his career. The Rockies' catching has been poor this season, hitting a combined .231/.311/.306), so Lucroy is a definite upgrade at that position.
With his sidearm delivery and ability to keep the ball down, Neshek will be one of the Rockies' top relievers. Neshek, who had a 1.12 ERA for the Phillies and was on this year's
NL All-Star team, was acquired a couple of days before the deadline and has already pitched for the Rockies.
Both of these guys are significant improvements for Colorado, who should be able to solidify their grip on a wild-card spot.
Acquired reliever Justin Wilson and catcher Alex Avila from Detroit for infielders Jeimer Candelario and Isaac Paredes and either cash or a player to be named.
Wilson is a good reliever, a better left-hander than either of the guys the Dodgers got. He had a 2.68 ERA and 13 saves for the Tigers this season, striking out 55 in 40 1/3 innings. Lefties are hitting .220 against him. Avila will become the Cubs' backup catcher and would be a starter on a lot of teams. He's hitting .274/.394/.475 this season.
In short, the Cubs shored up a couple of weaknesses as they prepare to defend their World Series title.
Acquired reliever Jeremy Jeffress from Texas for minor league pitcher Tayler Scott.
Acquired reliever Anthony Swarzak from the Chicago White Sox for minor league infielder Ryan Cordell.
Swarzak is having the best season of his career, with a 2.23 ERA, and will become the setup man for Milwaukee. Jeffress has a 5.31 ERA and will be just a guy in the bullpen until he proves that he can pitch like the guy who saved 27 games last season.
Acquired closer Brandon Kintzler from Minnesota for pitching prospect Tyler Watson and international spending rights.
Acquired IF/OF Howie Kendrick from Philadelphia for minor league pitcher McKenzie Mills and international bonus spending rights.
The Nationals have had one of the worst bullpens this season, but Kintzler will help there. He had 28 saves and a 2.78 ERA with the Twins, but isn't your typical closer. He has struck out only 27 in 45 1/3 innings, but he generates a lot of ground balls, keeps the ball in the park and needs a good defense behind him. Kendrick, the former Dodger and Angel, hit .340 for the Phillies in limited playing time and will fill an Enrique Hernandez-type role for Washington.
Those are the major deals. The Dodgers did more to improve their team than most others in the NL, with Colorado and Chicago also making key acquisitions. It looks like we might have another Dodgers-Cubs NLCS on our hands.
Bill Plaschke writes about how Dodger executives have given the team what they need to win the World Series. Read all about it here.