Time is running out for the Dodgers to buy

Time is running out for the Dodgers to buy

In the same way that the Angels were not going to trade Shohei Ohtani to their nearby rival Dodgers at the trade deadline, the L.A. boys cannot be outspent by the Halos at the deadline.

With time winding down until the 4:00 p.m. Mountain Time deadline on Tuesday, August 1, the Angels are winning the head-to-head battle, with the transaction log looking as follows:

Angels: SP Lucas Giolito (improved numbers from 2022, career 4.9 WAR on a lot of bad teams), 1B CJ Cron (very solid defensive 1B), RF Randal Grichuk (on track for first career .300 BA season)

Dodgers: Kike Hernandez (terribly inefficient in 2023 but served utility role fine for the Dodgers 2015-2020), SS Amed Rosario (step back offensively this year, still slightly above average infielder), RHP Lance Lynn (sixth team since 2017), reliever Joe Kelly (back with the Dodgers)

By no means is it some otherworldly beatdown, and this group of additions is in line with the way the Dodgers have treated the 2023 season.

But with a slim two-game division lead and recent injuries to Mookie Betts and Will Smith, a 6.18 ERA among starters in July (worst in any month since the team moved to LA), and a bullpen ERA that still sits in the bottom third of the league, it is time for the Dodgers to get back to a level of spending that fans have become accustomed do.

Playing a game of front office power rankings is something I am not interested in doing, nor am I qualified to do so. Manipulating payroll is one of the elements at the top of the list that separates the haves from the have-nots when it comes to front offices that put their team in the best position to win a championship.

The end goal does not change: Shohei Ohtani is still the prize at the end of the season.

While the Halos use the rest of the season to try to convince Shohei that he can win in Anaheim, the Dodgers’ objective is to find and put together the Ohtani fund, put it aside, and figure out what is left to spend on other talent.

Sooner rather than later would be good.

On the flip side of all of those negative stats, Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, and Clayton Kershaw are all playing high-level baseball (to put it lightly), and Will Smith is putting himself in a position to be the best-hitting catcher in the league and, despite those poor pitching numbers, the Dodgers still sit on top of the NL West.

If you ask baseball people, most would tell you that the National League currently goes through Atlanta, not L.A. The Braves are deep and every single starter can beat you at any moment. On paper, the Dodgers have the top-end talent to match and neutralize some of Atlanta’s dominance. Top to bottom, the team that beat the Dodgers in the 2021 NLCS looks to have the advantage again in 2023.

With pitchers like Giolito and Max Scherzer off the market, do the Dodgers turn to Justin Verlander to try to squeeze what’s left out of that 40-year-old arm? Do they try to catch lightning in a bottle again like they did with the likes of Chris Martin? Or does the focus turn to one more bat?

Pitching should be the priority when looking at a short-term rental. It is clear as can be that the staff needs all the help it can get across the board.

The Dodgers have struck gold in the form of J.D. Martinez and Jayson Heyward. Teams that spend money the way L.A. does are usually not as comparably successful when it comes to getting the most out of players that teams no longer want.

We should remember that, along with the Shohei factor, the Dodgers still had to pay Trevor Bauer this season and went into the campaign with an active goal of avoiding the luxury tax.

Even with the Shohei sweepstakes on the way, this season cannot end early because the Dodgers did not bring in an extra quality piece or two at the deadline.