Deadline aftermath leaves Dodgers facing three primary questions

August 7th, 2022

This story was excerpted from Juan Toribio's Dodgers Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

LOS ANGELES -- The 2022 Trade Deadline was one of the wildest in recent memory. For the Dodgers, however, it was one of the most tame Deadlines in quite some time.

There’s a reason for that. The Dodgers feel confident that their big additions will come from within. Los Angeles has plenty of players scheduled to come off the injured list. Their lineup is also the best in the National League.

It’s hard to question anything a team that is 41 games over .500 does. President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman has proven he’s one of the best in the business. With that being said, let’s play the contrarian here for a bit.

Let’s take a look at three post-Deadline questions the Dodgers still need to answer over the next two months.

Did the Dodgers miss an opportunity with Juan Soto?

Friedman said it best. Players like Soto don’t become available very often, especially with two-and-a-half years left of team control. So, why were the Dodgers not as aggressive as the Padres in pursuing a Soto deal?

First of all, the Dodgers did make repeated attempts to acquire Soto. But a reluctance to include players on the Major League roster was ultimately too much to overcome. The Dodgers were also not necessarily willing to part ways with five or six of their top prospects, which is essentially what the Padres gave up.

But why not?

Since Friedman took over, the Dodgers have prided themselves on having the best chance to win every year. That’s hard to argue against, considering they’ve made the postseason every year under Friedman. Ultimately, they believed giving up a plethora of top prospects would limit their depth moving forward.

On the flip side, adding Soto to the current configuration would’ve made them nearly unstoppable. With Soto in the middle of this lineup, the Dodgers would have separated themselves even more from the pack -- trotting out arguably the best starting lineup in league history. Also, not only would they have improved, but Soto wouldn’t be playing against them in the division.

Nothing guarantees you a title, not even adding a guy like Soto. But it sure would’ve helped. Only time will tell if the Dodgers made the right decision.

Why Joey Gallo?

Friedman and the Dodgers were in the mix for a bunch of players, but acquiring struggling outfielder Joey Gallo from the Yankees was the move on the position player side they were able to pull off.

After a disastrous time in New York, the Dodgers are hoping a change of scenery can help the two-time All-Star get back to form. Gallo has been taking live batting practice before games in hopes of finding something that helps him get back to that point.

In order to clear space on the 40-man roster, the Dodgers felt comfortable enough to deal Jake Lamb to the Mariners for a player to be named later or cash considerations. It was essentially a swap of the two players.

Over the next two months, the Dodgers are banking on Gallo’s ceiling being higher than Lamb’s.

Can you depend on injured pitchers coming back?

Well, the Dodgers are about to find out. Dustin May, Brusdar Graterol, Tommy Kahnle, Blake Treinen, Danny Duffy, Victor González and Walker Buehler are all projected to come off the injured list over the next few weeks. Clayton Kershaw also landed on the injured list on Friday with low back pain. A timetable for his return is still unclear.

Any combination of those pitchers returning will be a big boost to the Dodgers’ bullpen. The question will be: How impactful can those pitchers be?

Treinen’s right shoulder has healed better than most expected, but the right-hander might not be able to handle the same level of workload he did before the injury. Same goes for Kahnle, if he’s able to return this season. Nobody has seen González and Duffy pitch in over a calendar year.

As for Buehler, the right-hander will likely not be fully built up once he returns. But adding him would be a significant boost, even if he has to return as an opener/reliever. With Yency Almonte and Evan Phillips continuing to stand out, the Dodgers might have one of the strongest bullpens in recent memory if they get a few of their key pieces back in the mix.