Dodgers earn their 25th victory, show why they might not need to make a deadline deal
The Dodgers are approaching Monday’s major league trade deadline like someone who comes to a car show in a custom-made Ferrari.
Sure, there’s always something else that could be added to the collection, another luxury acquisition to park in the garage. But the team already is driving a high-performance machine. The Dodgers won’t be afraid to bid, but they don’t seem desperate to overpay on the open market either.
On Saturday in Arlington, Texas, the team got a first-hand look at one of the few trade pieces it is reportedly interested in, hanging four runs, three of them earned, on Texas Rangers starter Lance Lynn en route to a 7-4 win at Globe Life Field. But after becoming the first in baseball to reach 25 wins, the Dodgers demonstrated why they might not need to do anything before the deadline, especially with prices possible to inflate and supply almost certain to be dwarfed by demand.
The Dodgers recalled top prospect Gavin Lux on Saturday, adding the 22-year-old infielder to the major league roster for the second time this week.
“Our mind-set in this is just to be around the backboard for things, get a feel for what’s potentially moving and what the cost is,” Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman told SportsNet LA last Sunday. “We’re not looking around our team right now saying, ‘We have an acute need at this position, let’s go out and get the best one that we can.’ We feel really good about our group, the depth.”
Manager Dave Roberts said this year “is as good as I’ve ever felt” about his roster entering a deadline.
“I feel confident,” he added during a postgame video call. “I feel confident in the front office that if there is something, we’ll do that. If not, we’re completely OK with standing pat. I think we’re in a good place.”
Saturday was a textbook win for the Dodgers. They tagged Lynn, whose 1.59 earned-run average entering the day was third lowest in baseball, with twice as many runs as his previous season high. Ross Stripling served up a four-inning, three-run start despite allowing successive third-inning solo home runs. And the bullpen provided five near-shutdown innings, charged with only one unearned run the rest of the day.
Matt Beaty opened the scoring on a second-inning AJ Pollock double, racing home from first after Shin-Soo Choo bobbled the ball in left field. Cody Bellinger sent a towering two-run homer to right in the third. And Max Muncy recorded four RBIs, including a three-run seventh-inning home run to break open what was a one-run game.
“He’s tough,” Roberts said of Lynn. “Cody took a great swing on one, which is great to see, and then we did a little manufacturing.... Collectively, we had a good game plan.”
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No doubt, someone such as Lynn — or any of the other seemingly available starters on the market, including the Angels’ Dylan Bundy, Cincinnati Reds’ Trevor Bauer or Cleveland Indians’ Mike Clevinger — could aid a Dodgers rotation that has yet to settle on a preferred third option beyond Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler.
But a club that in the past has been reluctant to splurge could be especially so this year, with the league’s few sellers reportedly commanding steep asking prices with a newly expanded 16-team playoff field keeping most clubs in contention.
Even travel logistics are unclear. If the Dodgers were to make a move, could their acquisition drive to Los Angeles? Could they get a private or chartered flight? Or would they be forced to fly commercial, a likely last resort because of coronavirus concerns.
Key plays from the Dodgers’ 7-4 victory over the Rangers on Saturday night.
“Flying commercial … you could be putting yourself at risk, even unknowingly,” Roberts acknowledged during a Friday video call. “So how that player gets from here to there, that’s a really good question.”
When asked, hypothetically of course, if that would make it all the more convenient to trade for a Rangers player who’d be able to fly on the team plane back to Southern California, Roberts chuckled as he answered.
“Yeah,” he said. “That would be the best-case scenario.”
But, really, there aren’t a lot of bad scenarios either. Even before the trade deadline, the Dodgers are arguably the best team in baseball. There’s only so many ways to improve on what they already have.
Three takeaways on the Dodgers
— Muncy played third base and hit third in the lineup in place of Justin Turner, who missed the game with what Roberts called a low-grade left hamstring strain. Turner will sit again Sunday and be reevaluated after the team’s day off on Monday.
— Top prospect Gavin Lux was recalled Saturday for the second time this week and went hitless in four at-bats with a strikeout. Though Lux has yet to record a hit this season, Roberts noted he has “cleaned up his swing, taken a lot of at-bats [at the team’s alternate site] and feels in-sync.”
— A Kenosha, Wis., native, Lux is also setting up a GoFundMe page to support the predominantly Black-owned businesses affected by the recent protests in his hometown following the shooting of Jacob Blake. He told AM 570 that he will donate to the fund for every hit he gets the rest of the season.
Harris reported from Los Angeles.
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