'It's what we needed': Lynn delivers in Dodgers debut

Veteran comes through after Trade Deadline passes without a splashy move from LA

August 2nd, 2023

LOS ANGELES -- When the Dodgers acquired Kiké Hernández from the Red Sox and from the White Sox last week, the team was hopeful those moves were just the beginning of what was going to be a busy stretch of upgrading a roster that has surprised through four months.

But when the Trade Deadline hit at 3 p.m. PT on Tuesday, it was mostly quiet at Dodger Stadium. There were no players out on the field and no coaches waiting behind them. It turns out it was also quiet in the front office as the Dodgers, a team expected to be active in the pitching market before the Deadline, only landed a depth piece in left-hander Ryan Yarbrough from the Royals in exchange for prospects Devin Mann and Derlin Figueroa.

Despite a calmer-than-expected Deadline day, however, both Hernández and Lynn played key roles in the Dodgers’ 7-3 win over the A’s in the evening's series opener.

"We added five guys in the last week, and a lot of them contributed big today," said Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman, who went 4-for-5 on Tuesday, his fourth four-game hit of the season. "We feel good. We love our team. We had a first-place team going into the day, and we have a first-place team coming out of tonight. We love the team we have."

Lynn, who turned out to be the unexpected big addition on the pitching side, fared well in his team debut, allowing three runs (all on solo home runs) and struck out seven over seven innings. Lynn became the first Dodgers starter to complete seven innings since Clayton Kershaw on June 20.

"It’s what we needed," said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. "He was a pro. Efficient. Attacking the zone. Made pitches when he needed to. It’s been quite some time since we’ve had a starter get through seven. So to go out there and use two guys tonight out of the 'pen and feel really good about tomorrow, it’s just what we needed."

The veteran right-hander showed flashes of why the Dodgers acted quickly last week. His different combinations of heaters gave the A’s some trouble, and Lynn leaned on the curveball more than he has in previous outings. Unfortunately for Lynn and the Dodgers, the right-hander still struggled to keep the ball in the ballpark, and has now given up 31 homers -- the most in the Majors. 

"We won, so it was good. That’s all that matters," Lynn said. "I made a couple mistakes that left the ballpark. But we won, so that’s all that matters."

As for Hernández, Dodgers fans are no strangers to the utilityman coming up with big hits. Facing reliever Tayler Scott, a right-hander -- not the role the Dodgers acquired him for -- Hernández cleared the bases with a two-out, three-run double in the fourth inning to give the Dodgers a 4-0 lead.

In the end, however, all the talk around the ballpark surrounded the pitchers they failed to add before the Deadline. The Dodgers were pursuing Justin Verlander, but knew that they faced an uphill battle as it appeared the right-hander had his eyes set on a return to Houston. While the Dodgers could’ve swept the Mets off their feet with an impressive prospect haul, it was ultimately Verlander’s decision because of his no-trade clause.

Then there’s the saga with Eduardo Rodriguez. After coming to terms with the Tigers on a deal that would’ve sent the left-hander to the Dodgers, Rodriguez opted not to waive his no-trade clause. According to sources, multiple players on the Dodgers were in communication for days with Rodriguez, trying to convince him to come to Los Angeles. Rodriguez, however, said he wasn’t interested, a right he earned when given a no-trade clause.

"We knew that this year, there was a smaller number [of options] than there typically is, for various reasons," said Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman. “But there were a couple guys we aggressively pursued, and that’s how it goes. From our standpoint, we feel really good about the team we have and the depth we have behind it. That said, you always want to feel even better." 

Whether the Dodgers are better following Tuesday’s Deadline is up for debate. They failed to land a high-end impact starter that could help their chances in October and improve a rotation that had a 6.18 ERA in July. Lynn’s start does give them some optimism moving forward, but how it all shakes out remains to be seen. 

"We got who we got now. We like who we have,” Freeman said. “So we’re ready for the next 57 games."