Los Angeles Dodgers: Why No Move Is the Best Move at Trade Deadline
Although the Dodgers have added a handful of premier players in the past year—including heavy-hitting infielders Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez and Cy Young winner Zack Greinke—there are still rumors swirling that the organization has its eyes set on a few star players to round out its roster.
By making a deal for Marlins' right-handed starter Ricky Nolasco to fill the void at the end of the rotation, the Blue Crew has proven that it's still willing to dish out more money in hopes of winning its first World Series since 1988.
However, should the Dodgers continue to pad their roster with top talent in order to secure the likelihood of achieving that goal?
With the non-waiver trade deadline less than a month away, the Dodgers have been linked to Philadelphia Phillies' star infielders Michael Young and Chase Utley, who would both be significant contributors to the Dodgers' offense.
Although his power numbers have declined in the past two seasons, Young is still an above-average hitter (.288 BA .344 OBP 6 HR 24 RBI) and can still hold his own at third base.
Better yet, the 36-year-old veteran, who spent all but the most recent of his 13 seasons in the MLB with the Texas Rangers, would supply the Dodgers with some added postseason experience, having gone to the World Series twice with the Rangers.
Among his many other redeeming attributes, Utley has playoff experience as well.
In his past nine seasons in Philadelphia, Utley has been a member of three Phillies teams that have made deep postseason runs, including one NLCS title and a thrilling World Series run in 2008 in which they defeated the Dodgers in the NLCS.
Barring a string of injuries that have had him intermittently sidelined since 2011, the 34-year-old second baseman is still performing at a high level (.276 BA .340 OBP 11 HR 30 RBI) and would be a welcome addition to the Dodgers.
Nevertheless, the Dodgers shouldn't make a deal for neither Utley nor Young.
There is no denying the potential benefits of bringing either Phillies infielder to Los Angeles, but the Dodgers simply do not need to add another star player to the roster at the moment.
Sounds bizarre and counterintuitive, right? How could the Dodgers possibly not profit from adding one or two more good players to their roster?
Easily. Can I direct you to last August and September? Star players brought in, high expectations formed, high expectations not met, rampant disappointment for the franchise and its fans.
With the Dodgers now on a roll, having won 13 of their last 16 games and ditching their longstanding last-place spot in the NL West for a second-place slot, it's easy to forget the woes this team faced less than a month ago, when it was 29-40.
While we can examine the underlying reasons for the Blue Crew's early-season tribulations (e.g., injuries) and their recent turnaround (e.g., return of key players from DL, emergence of Puig), two factors had to have been negatively influencing the team in some way: high expectations and lack of team cohesion.
Although the Dodgers had all the right pieces in place with a stellar rotation and an incredible batting order on paper, the team merely wasn't jelling.
Stats like their league-lowest team batting average with runners in scoring position (since improved to 21st at .245) suggested that the team was suffering under the high expectations that cast a heavy shadow on their lustrous lineup.
Yet, the Dodgers have somewhat miraculously made a drastic comeback and salvaged their sinking season just before the All-Star break, now only two games below .500 (43-45) for the first time since early May.
So, with the despair of the past in mind, why take a gamble by adding another piece to a puzzle that has finally taken shape?
Why run the risk of shaking up the clubhouse chemistry again?
If winning is the ultimate goal and this team is winning now and has all the talent to sustain that winning, then why add another element to the flask?
After undergoing multiple facelifts in the past two seasons, the Dodgers need stability right now.
Should the Dodgers make a move before the trade deadline?
If Young and Utley are available in the offseason, the Dodgers should consider bringing them to Los Angeles, but now is not the time for that deal.
If the Dodgers do indeed make any moves before the trade deadline, they should do so to acquire a middle reliever—someone like the White Sox's Jesse Crain, or even a closer like the Cubs' Kevin Gregg who would enable Kenley Jansen to return to his setup position.
The risk-reward probability isn't promising for the Dodgers if they do opt to bring another big name to L.A.
The front office may have a thick wallet, but it's best if they keep that overflowing wallet in their deep pockets for this one.
As the Dodgers have discovered, there are certain things that transcend money.
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