Los Angeles Dodgers: 8 Weaknesses the MLB Trade Deadline Won't Address
As the trade deadline nears, the Dodgers may not be able to fill all of their various needs which include power, speed and a new first baseman among other things.
It is likely they will get a good starting pitcher and probably replace Juan Uribe at third.
In this column last week, a fantasy-like team was created perhaps out of desire, but also out of the feeling that the new management was going to go for the big guns on the market.
And, the Dodgers will be left with some holes to fill.
Here are a few areas that will be left wanting.
Dodgers Need Help in the Bullpen
The Dodgers bullpen looked pretty good in the first half.
Even as closer Javy Guerra struggled and then went on the DL, they were able to get immediate help from fireballer Kenley Jansen who now has 18 saves and an ERA of 2.01. He also has 67 strikeouts in less than 50 innings.
But, Jansen is not enough.
Anyone who watched the Dodgers play the Mets probably had to reach for the Pepto as their stomach turned.
With a 6 to 3 lead going into the eighth inning, Ronald Belisario gave up two runs. Then Jansen got two outs in the ninth, walked two and barely got out of the inning and the game with a save.
Josh Lindblom, Scott Elbert, Todd Coffey are not names that instill confidence and the middle relief is troubling to say the least.
Look for this to be a weakness going forward as the Dodgers are unable to secure a solid reliever at the deadline.
They Need a Better Shortstop
Will the Dodgers continue to stick with light-hitting, poor-fielding, base-stealing Dee Gordon at shortstop?
Gordon, who had been the lead-off hitter most of the year, was batting a meager .229 when he injured his thumb and was put on the DL.
He was replaced by someone named Luis Cruz.
Is that who the Dodgers need at shortstop in order to finish the season in first place? Is this the guy they want for the future in this key position?
There really isn't anyone on the market to replace Gordon who definitely has an upside with his base-stealing aptitude.
But, when the trade deadline passes, they will be stuck with him and whoever they decide to platoon at the position. A decided weakness.
How About a Solid Left Fielder
Quick, who's the Dodgers left fielder?
If you said Bobby Abreu, Juan Rivera, Jerry Hairston, Jr.,Scott Van Slyke or Elian Herrera you would be correct.
There is nothing wrong with platooning left field. It is done a lot and plenty of teams hide good hitters who are bad fielders in left.
But, the Dodgers could use a solid, swift and maybe even powerful left fielder, which it doesn't appear like they will get at trade time.
Alfonso Soriano is out there, but he is also OUT THERE and you never know what you will get although he definitely can add power to a team.
With the Dodgers concentrating on a starting pitcher and a third baseman, it looks like this will remain a weakness.
First Base Is a Empty
Alot has been written about and a lot of leeway has been given to James Loney, the Dodgers long time first baseman.
The fans like Loney, perhaps for his quiet demeanor and great glove.
But, he has never really grown into the hitter the Dodgers need.
This year he has only two home runs. Two! And, he is batting .245 with 25 RBI.
He often comes alive in the second half of the season, but to save himself once again, he would have to hit 20 more homers and bat .285. Even that may not be enough.
Juan Rivera, another veteran player, has been switching off with Loney, but he is no way as good a fielder.
First base is often reserved for power hitters like Ryan Howard, Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, guys who hit 40 homers and bat .300. Your classic clean-up hitter.
Suffice to say that those kinds of players are few and far between and none are on the horizon now.
Sad that had the Dodgers changed ownership last year, they may have been able to get Fielder or even Pujols.
Instead, they are left with Loney.
No Power Beyond Kemp and Ethier
Beyond Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier there is a black hole of power on the Dodgers.
Kemp and Ethier have hit 25 home runs so far while the rest of the team has hit 34.
That ranks them last in home runs in the majors.
So, there is little question they need some run production via the big bang.
Don't hold your breath on this one as there are so few power hitters available. They tried to get Carlos Lee, for instance, and he went to Miami. Not even sure if there are any other borderline power men out there from which to choose.
They will have to continue to win on pitching and guile.
More Speed Would Be Good
There is only one true speedster on the Dodgers right now and that is Dee Gordon.
With 30 steals prior to going on the DL, Gordon was on pace to lead the National League in the category.
Shades of Maury Wills! Shades of the classic Dodgers teams which won on a hit, a steal, a sacrifice and a fly ball and then some amazing pitching.
The Dodgers have the pitching, but that is about it. Who knows how much Gordon will play going forward and if so, whether he can get on base enough times for it to matter.
In the meantime, Matt Kemp, who can steal 30 or 40 in a year, is probably favoring that injured hamstring so he looks hesitant to do much running.
Beyond that, there isn't much and speed, whether in the outfield or on the bases is a very valuable asset.
Do you think they will get that before the trade deadline?
Will They Get Any Younger?
The Dodgers could use a bit of youth to pep them up.
With Ted Lily, Bobby Abreu, Juan Rivera, Adam Kennedy, Jerry Hairston, Jr., Aaron Harang, Chris Capuano and Juan Uribe all in the second or third phases of their careers, there is definite room for a younger crew.
The team made a move in the right direction by signing 21-year-old Cuban outfielder Yasel Puig, but it would nice to bring in some other guys in their twenties to add some energy to the team.
It is always good to have a blend of vets and youth, but the Dodgers seem to be too heavy in the grey-hair area.
What they need is some hip hop in their step which may not come at trade time.
Let's just say that on top of everything else, the Dodgers could use a great clutch hitter or two.
Now, they have Scott Van Slyke and Juan Rivera and Tony Gwynn, Jr.
Actually, I made that up. These are just guys on the team. They really aren't good pinch hitters. They just come off the bench, get up to bat and pray.
Imagine if the Dodgers had a guy with some pop who might hit a pinch hit home run?
Probably not going to happen this year.