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Dodgers Dugout: What are the odds a trade deadline deal is made?

Austin Barnes
Austin Barnes
(Danny Moloshok / Associated Press)

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell and doesn’t it seem nearly impossible to get all these Dodger Stadium renovations done by opening day?

Austin Barnes sent to minors

The Dodgers sent struggling catcher Austin Barnes to triple-A Oklahoma City and recalled catcher Will Smith. It was a move long overdue. In his last 21 games, Barnes is hitting .117/.182/.183. At some point “yeah, but look at his defense” does not become a great excuse. You can’t have gaping holes (counting the pitcher’s spot) at the bottom of the lineup forever. (By the way, over the same time frame, Kenta Maeda is hitting .375/.375/.375).

Barnes hasn’t hit for two seasons, and Smith was extremely impressive in his two short stints with the team earlier this season.

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By all accounts, Barnes worked hard on his hitting and there’s nothing bad you can say about his defense. It’s just one of those things. Hopefully he can straighten himself down in the minors.

Just thinking out loud

The Dodgers have promoted catcher Keibert Ruiz to triple-A Oklahoma City. Barnes is now there. And the other day they removed Rocky Gale from the 40-man roster and outrighted him to Oklahoma City. That’s three catchers on one minor-league team. Does this feel like anyone that it is setting up for a trade? Unless you can have two catchers playing at the same time, someone’s development time will be hurt.

What are the odds of a trade?

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Andrew Friedman spoke about that possibility with Jorge Castillo in a story you can read here. Let’s take a look at some key quotes:

“I think the best way to frame is our mindset in previous Julys has been to be really aggressive,” Friedman said. “That continues to be our mindset. We’re just going to stop if it reaches the point of stupid. And I would hope that’s what our fans would want us to do.”

But, while getting a top reliever would be nice, there will be no panic moves or any stupid moves.

“We would be stupid if it guaranteed we would win a World Series,” Friedman said. “But it doesn’t. That’s the problem.”

Here’s what we know: Friedman has made trade deadline deals every season. Yu Darvish, Manny Machado, Rich Hill. The list goes on. At this point, I would expect some sort of relief help to arrive before Aug. 1. But, we know the Dodgers hate trading top prospects. We also know that a lot of teams that the Dodgers would talk to are also within striking distance of a playoff spot. So they won’t be so quick to trade a top reliever unless the Dodgers knock their socks off with an offer. If you asked me to bet, I would say no top reliever (such as Felipe Vazquez or the other Will Smith) coming, but some secondary relievers could come over.

The one caveat in the is the Detroit Tigers. They are not going to make the playoffs and apparently are willing to trade closer Shane Greene and outfielder Nick Castellanos (.282/.339/.478). Knowing that, and knowing the Dodgers’ liking of multi-team trades, there may be a possibility there. Greene is 0-2 with a 1.22 ERA and 21 saves. Most analysts have him as one of the top relievers on the trade market. However, there is some evidence he has been lucky this season, as his FIP (click here for an explanation) is 3.73 and he had a 5.12 ERA last season.

We will just have to wait and see what happens.

A trade was made

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The Dodgers acquired first baseman Tyler White from the Houston Astros on Thursday for minor-league pitcher Andre Scrubb.

White, 28, hit .225 with three home runs in 71 games for the Astros this season. The Dodgers can’t send him to the minors, so they will have to make room for him on the roster, perhaps by putting Kiké Hernandez (sore left hand) or David Freese (knee tendinitis) on the injured list.

In other words, this is not the trade everyone has been waiting for. The best-case scenario is he turns into the new Max Muncy or was acquired as prelude to another trade. The worst-case scenario is that he’s just Tyler White.

New look at Dodger Stadium

Dodger Stadium is one of the best stadiums in baseball despite being the third oldest. The only things I would change about it are the horrible traffic in the parking lot (there aren’t a lot of great ways to fix that unfortunately), the fact you can’t walk all the way around the stadium and the fact there is no real sense of the rich history of the organization when you are at a game.

Those last two things will be changing soon.

On Tuesday, the Dodgers unveiled a $100-million plan to renovate Dodger Stadium. According to the team the renovations, scheduled to be complete before the 2020 season begins, will include:

Creation of Centerfield Plaza: The new Centerfield Plaza will create a stadium “front door” with unique food offerings, entertainment and kids areas, retail locations, more social and standing room areas and greater access for those with special needs. A new kids play area will be constructed just beyond the wall in straight-away center, and fans will be able to enjoy the game from above of a newly-constructed batters eye wall. The new Centerfield Plaza will pay homage to Dodger history with statues and a permanent home for the “Legends of Dodger Baseball” plaques.

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Pavilion Renovations: Renovations to the Left and Right Field Pavilions will include new restrooms, enclosed bars with views into the bullpen, the creation of standing room areas at the top of each pavilion, enhanced ADA seating and “home run seats” just beyond the outfield wall.

Sandy Koufax Statue: The Dodgers will honor Hall of Fame left-handed pitcher Sandy Koufax with a statue, the second at Dodger Stadium following the dedication of the Jackie Robinson statue in 2017. Both statues will reside in the Centerfield Plaza, as the Robinson statue will be re-located from the Left Field Reserve.

New Elevators and Bridges: Elevators are currently under construction in the Right and Left Field Plazas to help move fans easily to and from this new Centerfield Plaza. Additionally, bridges will be constructed to connect the new pavilion standing room decks to the rest of the stadium for a 360-degree connection around the park’s perimeter. These new elevators and bridges will also provide easier access to the Dodger Stadium Express stop in Lot G through the Centerfield Plaza.

New Sound System: A new sound system will replace the current speaker tower and provide an enhanced audio experience to fans on all levels of the ballpark with more directed sound inside the stadium.

Speaking as a Dodger fan since I was 7-years-old, this all sounds and looks pretty good. The inability to walk all the way around the stadium has always been a problem. We’ll have to wait and see how it actually looks and works to know for sure. But it’s no secret that many other stadiums have surpassed Dodger Stadium as far as pre-game ambiance, and this is a giant step in the right direction. It will take a great park and make it um, even more great?

Stan Kasten said at the news conference that he wants Dodger Stadium to have a “front door” and this will definitely give it one. I’m excited to see how it will turn out.

Now if it only didn’t take half-a-year for some people to get in and out of the parking lot at games.

Ask Ross Porter

Ross Porter will once again answer reader questions this season. All you have to do is email me your question at houston.mitchell@latimes.com. I will forward the question to Ross, and he will answer some each week. Take it away, Ross.

R.J. Macmillan of Vero Beach, Fla. asks: Ross, has a Dodger team ever lost 100 games?

Ross: No. The 1992 team lost 99, one year after dropping just 69, and one season before 81 losses. Eric Karros was the first of five consecutive Dodgers to win NL rookie of the year honors in 1992.

Jane Lake of Oklahoma City asks: Is Clayton Kershaw the senior member of the Dodgers?

Ross: Yes, he is, Jane. Clayton has been with the team since 2008. Kenley Jansen came in 2010, Justin Turner and Joc Pederson in 2014. Russell Martin was a Dodger from 2006 to 2010, then returned this year.

Kirk Chittick asks: Since teams seem married to the shift, what do the numbers show?

Ross: Shifting occurs when an extra player moves to the other side of second base. Shifting has nearly doubled every year since 2011 and nearly 25% of pitches this season have been thrown with shifts on. There has been more incentive to take pitches against shifts, so slightly more walks and more home runs have come against them. But shifts make it more difficult to get hits. Famed sports agent Scott Boras says shifts are discriminatory against left-handed batters. More runs have been saved with shifts and strikeouts have increased. Mike Petriello of mlb.com reports in the last two years, the Astros used infield shifts the most—34% in 2017 and over 40% in 2018. Kris Bryant of the Cubs was the only right-handed hitter to see a shift more than 50% as he pulled over 80% of his ground balls. Justin Turner has remarked, “you don’t beat the shift by hitting around it or through it, you beat the shift by hitting over it.”

Lance Davis asks: What decides which dugout teams have?

Ross: There is no set rule. 10 NL and 8 AL teams are in the first-base dugout at home. Six from each league choose third base at home. Size and condition of dugouts and locker rooms are factors as well as which dugout faces the sun.

Paul Tessaro asks: Do umpires receive free tickets to the Dodgers home games they are working?

Ross: They sure do, six tickets.

You can follow Ross on Twitter: @therossporter

Up next

All times Pacific

Tonight: Dodgers (*Hyun-Jin Ryu) at Washington (Anibal Sanchez), 4 p.m.

Saturday: Dodgers (*Clayton Kershaw) at Washington (TBA), 1 p.m.

Sunday: Dodgers (Walker Buehler) at Washington (Stephen Strasburg), 10:30 a.m.

*-left-handed

And finally

Vin Scully emcees unveiling of 2020 MLB All-Star Game logo at Dodger Stadium. Watch it here.

Have a comment or something you’d like to see in a future Dodgers newsletter? Email me and follow me on Twitter: @latimeshouston.


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