The Dodgers are a great team, but if they’re going to repeat as World Series champions, there are a few roster tweaks that are needed.
The reigning World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers have proven over the last decade they will do whatever it takes to win. It’s admired by fans of frugal-minded teams like myself, and it’s a philosophy that has kept LA competitive. Things are no different this year, and once again the Dodgers will look to add reinforcements in the coming weeks which could put them over the top in preparation for October.
Entering Tuesday, the Dodgers have a record of 40-26 and sit one game back of first place in the NL West behind the San Francisco Giants. All things considered, 14 games above .500 is pretty good, especially given the horrendous stretch of baseball LA played from late April into mid-May when they lost 13 of 17 games.
That said, “pretty good” is not good enough for the Dodgers who expect to win the World Series. Anything less than those expectations will be considered a failure. It’s a mindset that has earned eight straight division titles, three pennants and one World Series title since 2013.
Whether it’s through their drafting and international pool, free agents, or trades, the pieces that have moved in and out of this contending juggernaut have found ways to contribute to the winning culture more often than not. It’s not a perfect depth chart from 1-to-26, but for the most part, they’re still pretty darn good. However, a trade and a promotion of one of their top prospects can see them put some distance between them and the contenders in the West and National League.
Dodgers should trade for Cubs closer Craig Kimbrel
The Cubs may be buyers at the deadline but with Craig Kimbrel a free agent at the end of the year, he may be a part they move to get some young assets in return.
Many were quick to write off Kimbrel after a poor 2019 and a rough start to his shortened 2020 season. His resurgence began last September, and it’s carried over into a more dominant form of Kimbrel to begin his 2021 campaign. In 28 appearances, Kimbrel has posted a 0.66 ERA, 0.695 WHIP, and a 14.8 K/9 across 27.1 innings pitched. He’s also converted 18 of 20 saves.
The Cubs are 10 games above .500 and are tied for first place in the NL Central, yet there is still a feeling of uncertainty and a lack of confidence regarding their ability to seriously contend for a World Series. The fact of the matter is they have three stars set to hit the market this offseason (Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, and Anthony Rizzo). If they won’t compete in October, Chicago’s front office and ownership will need to consider moving their most valuable assets instead of letting them walk away for nothing in return.
Kimbrel, 33, earns $16 million this season and has a $16 million team option as well as a $1 million buyout for 2022. You could make the argument relievers are the coveted pieces at the deadline among contending teams and if the Cubs begin to fade their phone lines will be busy regarding Kimbrel’s availability.
The Dodgers bullpen isn’t exactly in desperate need of help, but there’s no question there is still room for improvement. As a group, their relievers hold the 11th-lowest ERA in the majors (3.80) along with the 14th-lowest (4.04 FIP).
There will be cheaper options available such as Pittsburgh’s Richard Rodriguez, but if the Dodgers want to assert their dominance and roll the dice, it would come in the form of Kimbrel should he be available.
Having some form of Kenley Jansen and Kimbrel at the back end of games would make for one of, if not, the most lethal 1-2 punches in baseball.
If they choose not to buy relief help at the deadline, they could get a boost from this top prospect.