After quiet Deadline, Dodgers get 70th win

August 3rd, 2022

SAN FRANCISCO – The process was the same for Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman. He did his due diligence on the trade market, exploring every avenue to try to improve the Dodgers for the 2022 season and beyond.

The Dodgers, who have developed a reputation as one of the most aggressive teams in previous Trade Deadlines, were in the mix for several players, including superstar outfielder Juan Soto. In the end, however, it turned out to be a quiet Deadline for the Dodgers as their only move to address the Major League roster was to acquire outfielder  from the Yankees.

“Maybe we were quiet outwardly, but there was a lot going on,” Friedman said. “With that being said, we felt really good about the team that we have in place. Obviously our offense and our pitching staff have been very high performing.”

Up to this point, the results have certainly proved Friedman right. There is plenty to feel good about. With a 9-5 win over the Giants on Tuesday at Oracle Park, the Dodgers became the second team in the Majors -- and first in the NL -- to win 70 games. They’ve won 23 of their last 28 games.

But after a quiet Deadline, did the Dodgers not capitalize on an opportunity to widen the gap among the elite teams in the NL even further? Let’s take a look at how things played out.

The Soto sweepstakes

Acquiring Soto wasn’t a need for the Dodgers. But when a player of his caliber becomes available, the Dodgers will always be interested. Los Angeles made a significant attempt to acquire Soto, according to sources. The Dodgers and Nationals talked all the way until Tuesday, but Washington ultimately liked the Padres’ offer more.

The Padres gave up players from their Major League roster, something the Dodgers were always hesitant to do. There were multiple combinations discussed for a potential trade. Tony Gonsolin was a pitcher of interest for the Nationals, according to a source. The Dodgers weren’t interested.

Friedman and manager Dave Roberts have both said they believe this is one of the closest clubhouses in the last couple of years. Keeping that intact was a driving force in negotiations.

“We fully expected [Padres general manager AJ Preller] and his crew -- they’re really good at what they do and really aggressive,” Friedman said. “They made their team way better in the last couple of days and we look forward to that competition.”

Reinforcements on the way?

The Dodgers’ only two moves on the pitching side were to acquire right-hander Chris Martin from the Cubs and to trade away right-hander Mitch White to the Blue Jays, opening up a spot on the 40-man roster.

Those spots on the 40-man became a focal point for the Dodgers because of the injured pitchers they expect back at some point over the next two months. Dustin May, Walker Buehler and Blake Treinen are the three biggest names out of that pool of injured players who are expected back.

May has progressed well and the stuff has been encouraging during rehab outings. So encouraging, in fact, that the Dodgers backed off the starting pitching market. He could be back with the Dodgers in about two weeks. Buehler and Treinen aren’t expected back until at least early September, though both of those timetables are fluid.

The Dodgers are also hoping to have Victor González, Brusdar Graterol and Danny Duffy back in the mix. Graterol should be back in two weeks. González and Duffy are much bigger risks, though the Dodgers remain confident that they’ll pitch this season.

“We feel really good about the potential of what our pitching staff can look like in October,” Friedman said. “We’re not relying on all of them coming back and being great. Some combination of that puts us in a really good position to have a really strong October pitching staff.”

Why Gallo?

The Dodgers were in the market for a left-handed bat, but the decision to acquire Gallo was a bit of a head scratcher. Gallo led the league in strikeouts last season and has had a nightmare season with the Yankees, posting a .159 average.

But the Dodgers believe a change of scenery can help Gallo get back to his All-Star form. Gallo will likely be part of a platoon in left field with Trayce Thompson. His role can change again once Chris Taylor returns from the injured list in about a week.

Aside from Gallo and Soto, the Dodgers had deep conversations with the Red Sox for J.D. Martinez, but the asking price was too much for L.A. Same goes for Ian Happ and the Cubs.