MLB Postseason: Are LA Dodgers Legitimate World Series Contenders Post Deadline?

Robert PaceContributor IIIAugust 8, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 05:  Hanley Ramirez #13 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates with teammates after hitting a RBI single in the ninth inning to defeat the Chicago Cubs 7-6 at Dodger Stadium on August 5, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

The Dodgers had an eventful trade deadline this year.

Unlike years past when the Dodgers hardly made any moves under owner Frank McCourt, Ned Colletti and the new management did some serious business this year—and without breaking up the core of the team.

The majority of the team’s problems were addressed—and well-addressed, indeed.

In the fading days of July, the Dodgers acquired former NL batting champ Hanley Ramirez, speedy Gold Glove outfielder Shane Victorino (addressing the team’s need for offensive catalysts), flame-throwing reliever Brandon League and sidearm lefty Randy Choate (addressing the need for bullpen depth).

Although the team had made such monumental moves, many fans and analysts were critical of the Dodgers decision to leave the gap in their rotation unaddressed after trading promising youngster Nathan Eovaldi to Miami in the Ramirez trade.

However, Ned Colletti worked his magic with Philadelphia Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. and fortified the starting by acquiring veteran Joe Blanton on waivers after the deadline.

Although nothing became of it, the team also inherited waiver rights to Cy-Young pitcher Cliff Lee, which had fans excited at the prospect of two Cy-Young winners in the Dodgers rotation.

With a much-improved roster for the remainder of the 2012 season and potential postseason run, are the Dodgers legitimate contenders for their first World Series since 1988?

Before making any lofty predictions, let’s first take a look at the Dodgers chances of merely making the playoffs, as they currently are neck-and-neck with the San Francisco Giants for first place in the National League West.

With strong teams like the Atlanta Braves, Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals battling it out in the NL wildcard race, the Dodgers' most realistic chance of making the playoffs will be by winning the division.

For the remainder of the season, the Dodgers have a fairly balanced schedule and should manage to maintain a positive record as they face lesser opponents like the Padres, Rockies and Marlins among challenging opponents such as the Giants, Braves and Nationals.

While it won’t be a breeze with the Giants and Diamondbacks on their heels, the Dodgers should top the NL West and secure a playoff bid.

As it stands right now, the Dodgers will face the Nationals in the Division Series, a team that they swept in their first series, which isn’t too indicative of how they would perform against them in the postseason but certainly indicates that they are capable of beating them.

The National League teams that would give the Dodgers trouble are the Braves and the Cardinals; however, the Blue Crew may have the fortune of avoiding those teams if they get a good postseason draw.

Adding Hanley Ramirez to the lineup was huge for the Dodgers’ postseason chances as he has had a big impact in the meat of the lineup despite maintaining a .231 batting average.

As he demonstrated this Sunday with a walk-off hit against the Cubs, Ramirez is a clutch hitter and will be an even bigger factor when he is back up to his normal hitting performance. The same holds for Victorino, who has been hitting the ball well but hasn’t gotten it to drop yet.

Solid all-around performances from the two newcomers combined with the key addition of veteran pitcher Joe Blanton (who won a World Series in 2008 after joining the Phillies) give the Dodgers an outstanding chance to win the National League Championship Series.

However, even with their newly improved roster, the Dodgers probably won’t be able to win their seventh World Series to cap off the 2012 season.

The Blue Crew simply doesn’t match up well against the top American League teams, as the team proved when it faced the Angeles, White Sox and A’s in interleague play by posting a 6-9 record against the teams.

Nevertheless, Dodgers are set for an exciting postseason run that may include an NL pennant.

While the team’s new arrivals breathe hope for a World Series title in the future, the Boys in Blue probably won’t be bringing the Commissioner’s Trophy back to Los Angeles this year.