The Los Angeles Dodgers remain among the 2023 World Series favorites and are atop the National League West, but president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman has nevertheless taken a proactive approach ahead of the MLB trade deadline at 3 p.m. PT on August 1.
Albeit largely due to the Boston Red Sox facing a roster crunch, Friedman jumped the market by one week in trading for Kiké Hernández. On Wednesday, the Dodgers traded Noah Syndergaard to the Cleveland Guardians for Amed Rosario.
Those deals were then followed by the Dodgers trading Nick Nastrini, Jordan Leasure and Trayce Thompson to the Chicago White Sox for Lance Lynn and Joe Kelly.
“I would argue we’ve raised the floor and the ceiling,” manager Dave Roberts said of the Dodgers’ trades.
“I think that with Kiké, there’s a familiarity. There’s something that we feel that we could tap into and essentially get him opportunities versus left, use the versatility on defense. And I think that with Joe, familiarity, and I’ve mentioned the culture part of it.
“I think that there’s some things with with Lance, the sequencing, the unluckiness, all that stuff. I think there’s certainly with his strikeout rates, there’s certain things that can raise that ceiling. And then with Amed, I think that his buy-in, his athleticism.
“He’s now the fastest player on our ballclub, so that speed element, the ability to move him around the diamond, to lengthen our ballclub versus left-handed pitching, has raised the ceiling.
“So I feel great about those moves.”
Dodgers plans after trades
Hernández has been in the Dodgers lineup for each of their two games since the trade, with both instances coming against a left-handed starter.
Roberts said the Dodgers plan to primarily play Hernández at second base and center field, and his starts will occur when the team faces a southpaw. Hernández may eventually see some time in left field as well.
Rosario made his Dodgers debut at shortstop, where he’ll continue to play until getting more comfortable at second base and center field.
Like Hernández, Rosario figures to provide the bulk of his value against left-handed pitching.
Lynn is 6-9 with a 6.18 ERA, 5.22 FIP, 1.44 WHIP and allowed an MLB-worst 79 earned runs and 28 home runs this season. He nonetheless should provide the Dodgers with length in starts, which uncharacteristically has been a point of weakness for the team this year.
Roberts said a decision has not been made for when Lynn will make his Dodgers debut, or which starter in the rotation the veteran will replace.
Lynn’s contract includes an $18 million team option for 2024, which the Dodgers can decline in favor of a $1 million buyout.
Kelly also is looking to rebound in his second stint with the Dodgers.
“I would argue that his stuff is even better than it was when he was with us,” Roberts said. “The velocity, the curveball, all that stuff.”
Kelly essentially did away with throwing his curveball this season, but it could be a pitch the Dodgers look to have the right-hander again incorporate.
Kelly likely is to be among the Dodgers relief pitchers utilized to build the bridge to late-inning options Caleb Ferguson, Brusdar Graterol and Evan Phillips.
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