The Los Angeles Dodgers had the chance to make a big splash at the MLB Trade Deadline. Instead they decided to play the hand they were dealt.
The Dodgers could have had David Price, who went to Detroit for Nick Franklin (from SEA), Drew Smyly, and Willie Adames. The organization could have dealt for Jon Lester, who went to Oakland for Yoenis Cespedes. They came close to nabbing John Lackey, but he went to St. Louis instead for Joe Kelly (he’s gone!) and Allen Craig.
With all of the financial firepower and abundance of assets, most thought the Dodgers would make a bold move to become the clear frontrunners in the National League. Almost everybody thought the organization would at least bring in some bullpen help to sure up the back end. Instead, the Dodgers stood pat.
It’s sometimes difficult to understand why a team with such promise would stand pat when a couple of minor league 20-somethings would bring them a player like David Price. However, the new Dodgers ownership has made it clear that they want to build the organization from within.
While trading Joc Pederson and/or Julio Urias as the centerpiece of a package would have likely landed them Price, Lester, or Lackey, the team felt that they are strong enough to hoist a trophy as currently constructed. Colletti and the ownership simply didn’t feel like any of the potential blockbuster trades were worth risking the future of the organization. Can’t say I blame them, though David Price would have looked pretty sweet in Dodger blue.
Not all is lost. The Dodgers still hold the best record in the National League and are probably the favorites to reach the World Series out of the senior circuit. Teams can still make trades via waivers. There is still a chance that the Dodger team you see on the field tonight may not be the one you see going into September.
The Dodgers could try to get Cliff Lee from the Phillies, who is a prime waiver target considering Philadelphia is motivated to move his contract. If the Dodgers are able to claim him (they currently have the last spot in the NL waiver claim due to their league leading 61-47 record) they would have 48 hours to work out a trade, if the Phillies are inclined to trade Lee.
Other waiver trade possibilities include Joaquin Benoit, whom the Dodgers desperately covet and tried to claw away from the Padres this week. They could go after another reliever. Heck, they could try and get any player who hits the waiver wire.
Is it likely to happen? Probably not. But remember this: the Dodgers have made a waiver trade each of the past two seasons. We all remember the 2012 trade that brought Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, and Nick Punto to Los Angeles from Boston. In 2013 the Dodgers acquired Michael Young, him of the double-play ball, from the Phillies.
The Dodgers have a distinct advantage when it comes to waiver trades due to their financial situation. The organization would have no problem picking up the rest of, say, Cliff Lee’s contract which is $25 million this year, prorated for how many games are remaining on the schedule at the time of the trade, plus $25 million in 2015 with a $27.5 million vesting option — tied to 2015 innings pitched — for 2016.
While it’s unlikely at this point that the Dodgers would acquire a frontline starter, it’s definitely possible. The Trade Deadline may have come and gone, but the Dodgers probably aren’t done just yet.