No matter which way you cut it the Los Angeles Dodgers have underperformed through the first third of the 2016 season. Injuries have certainly played a factor in the club hovering around .500 for much of the year, though so too have underwhelming performances from expected stalwarts.
“It’s been a strange year in that the sequencing of events have been off. [Thursday] night we score six runs and don’t win,” Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman told David Vassegh on “Dodgers On Deck” on AM 570 LA Sports.
“There are so many games we lost in the last couple of weeks where six runs would have won the game. When we pitch extremely well, we haven’t been hitting very well. And when we’re not pitching well, it’s typically when we’re hitting better.”
Some comfort can be found in knowing Brett Anderson, Andre Ethier, Brandon McCarthy and Hyun-Jin Ryu should return at some point this season. But for a team with World Series expectations, the Dodgers can ill-afford to continue slipping in the standings as they await the returns of the aforementioned players.
Friedman is also banking on Adrian Gonzalez, Howie Kendrick, et al. turning the corner. “With our veteran players they have that established watermark of production. We believe in that track record and the process they’re putting in right now,” Friedman said.
“As we look from this point forward, we’re really optimistic about our offense being more of a strength than it has been to date.” As for external options who may upgrade the roster, Friedman noted trade talks historically begin to heat up after the MLB Draft and into July, and the Dodgers are doing their due diligence.
“We’ve been very active in terms of making sure our scouts are in the right ballparks with the targeted guys we feel like have a real chance to be available,” he said.
“I think with the depth of our team and strength of the Minor League system, it allows us to focus on elite-level players. That’s for the most part where our focus will be during the trade deadline and we’ll kind of see how it plays out.”
Last season the Dodgers acquired Bronson Arroyo, Luis Avilan, Jim Johnson, Mat Latos, Michael Morse, Jose Peraza and Alex Wood in a three-team trade with the Atlanta Braves and Miami Marlins.
Morse was immediately traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates, and only Avilan and Wood remain with the Dodgers. Then in August, Los Angeles traded for Justin Ruggiano, who also is no longer with the club.