With the 2021 All-Star break now in the rearview mirror, the next significant date on MLB’s calendar is the July 30 trade deadline.
For the Los Angeles Dodgers, who resume play Friday only two games behind the first-place San Francisco Giants in the National League West standings, they figure to be among the most active teams looking to upgrade their roster this month.
At 56-35 the club is well on track to return to the postseason for a ninth consecutive year despite being plagued by numerous injuries in the first half. L.A. finally is nearing full strength on the position player side of things but the same can’t be said for the pitching staff.
With so much uncertainty surrounding the group, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman revealed his biggest focus is adding pitching in the coming weeks, per Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
“I think augmenting our pitching is something that is definitely front of mind for us. If it’s a starter, that’s ideal. But we can’t just manufacture a starter that’s available and fits. So if it’s strengthening the ’pen that’s something we’ll look at as well. That’s primarily where our focus will lie in the next two weeks.”
As Friedman noted, the ideal acquisition for the Dodgers would be a starting pitcher given the current state of the rotation.
Dustin May was lost to season-ending Tommy John surgery, Clayton Kershaw is sidelined with left forearm inflammation, and there’s no telling when Trevor Bauer may return to the mound amid an ongoing investigation into alleged sexual assault.
However, Friedman additionally is open to bolstering the bullpen if a deal for a starting rotation can’t be made. The unit has been one of the best in baseball this season but several key contributors such as Victor Gonzalez, Corey Knebel and Jimmy Nelson currently are on the shelf with injuries.
Roberts: Dodgers must improve defense in second half
In addition to bolstering the pitching staff, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts believes the team must get better defensively. “I think good, not great,” he said of the team’s play in the first half.
“I think every team’s gone through some things, we as well. I think the hitting at times has been really good, at times been not good, so that’s been sort of inconsistent.
“I think the thing that we need to get better at and clean up is the defense. That’s probably the most glaring — infield defense in particular. The pitching has been really good for us. The starters and guys in the ‘pen have done a fantastic job.”
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