LOS ANGELES -- When franchise history includes being on the wrong end of Mike Piazza and Pedro Martinez trades, it's understandable if the Dodgers' current management is reluctant to be the guys who let Julio Urías or Jose De Leon or Grant Holmes get away.But last year, they passed on
LOS ANGELES -- When franchise history includes being on the wrong end of Mike Piazza and Pedro Martinez trades, it's understandable if the Dodgers' current management is reluctant to be the guys who let Julio Urías or Jose De Leon or Grant Holmes get away.
But last year, they passed on Cole Hamels, so there's the dilemma with one week left until the Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline.
Win now or build for the future? Winning is tough enough when you're focused on that alone, without the stated multitask of also trying to build for the future while your competition is all-in now.
Los Angeles opens a five-game homestand Tuesday night against Tampa Bay, and rumors are swirling that Rays ace Chris Archer will switch clubhouses. The Dodgers -- committed to an eight-man bullpen because the starters don't pitch deep enough -- are also supposedly looking for a reliever.
What the front office actually is doing is murky. Whether or not it can pull off a major deal, this management team takes pride in camouflaging its intentions.
In the Dodgers' clubhouse at last year's Deadline, however, there was bitter player disappointment, because the front office wasn't more aggressive improving a team that had a healthy Clayton Kershaw and a dominating Zack Greinke. This year's team has neither.
Yet, some of those same disappointed players seem confident that this year's acquisitions will make more of an impact -- as if there's any way to guarantee that.
Maybe Guggenheim ownership has leaned on its baseball operations department to deliver a title sooner than later. Maybe the Dodgers' baseball ops has independently concluded that tinkering around the edges doesn't get it done.
Or maybe the Deadline will come and go with a replay of last year's unsuccessful roster shuffle.
At last year's Deadline, the Dodgers were a first-place team, although a 5 1/2-game lead had been reduced to 1 1/2 games. This year, even with a current 15-8 run since Kershaw went on the disabled list, they trail the Giants by three games in the National League West, and they lead a five-team battle for the second NL Wild Card spot.
There are fewer elite players like Hamels available this year, and the four players the Cubs gave up for Aroldis Chapman on Monday set the bar high.
This management group hasn't traded away any top-five prospect as ranked by MLBPipeline.com, but it has traded first-round picks Zach Lee and Chris Reed after both had fallen out of favor.
Don't rule out a trade of current Dodgers Major Leaguers. Management is probably willing to move anyone other than Corey Seager, Justin Turner, Kenley Jansen and the injured Kershaw. Turner and Jansen will be free agents after this season.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com.