Now the Dodgers Are in Some Real Trouble

The Dodgers aren’t in first place in their division. And it’s not just that they’re further out of first than the Rockies and Giants. They’re further out of first in the NL West than the White Sox are in the AL Central. The Dodgers have sputtered, and the Diamondbacks have been hot, and that’s created a meaningful separation. A seven-game difference on the last day of April is nothing to sneeze at.

But I don’t think there’s been all that much worry, not yet. This morning, by our math, the Dodgers were still favored to finish in first. Certain little things have changed, sure, but remember that last year, the Dodgers had a stretch in which they lost 16 of 17 games, and they still finished with the best record in baseball. They won the NL West by a mile. The Dodgers are one of those teams you give the benefit of the doubt. If the roster isn’t too terribly different, you should expect that the team will find its own level.

Well, the roster is going to look terribly different:

Corey Seager is done for 2018, having never fully recovered from the elbow problem that dogged him down the stretch. The team decided to try the rest-and-rehab plan, as opposed to sending Seager into surgery right away, but it didn’t work out. Justin Turner will be back sometime soon, sure. Yet Seager is among baseball’s very best shortstops. Enrique Hernandez is not. Breyvic Valera is not. Chris Taylor might now return to short for all I know, but that’s more shuffling than a solution. There’s no way to lose someone like Seager and not be a lot worse off for it. (Update: for now, looks like Taylor to short.)

Given how the Dodgers have always prioritized depth, I’m sure they’ll try to figure out a way to proceed via internal options. To his credit, Valera has seemingly learned how to hit, and maybe he can blossom out of nowhere. You don’t often see important trades this early anyway, so expect the Dodgers to stay as they are. But of course, one player looms, and that player would be Manny Machado. Machado is good, and the Orioles are bad. I don’t need to explain this to you. It’s not something that’ll happen tomorrow, but it’s something you’re likely to hear about more and more often as the season draws closer to June. Even if the Dodgers never engage in serious talks, writers are going to want them to, so the chatter will be there. It’s too obvious a link to leave alone.

Machado wouldn’t feel like a Dodgers-y move. Squeezing value out of Breyvic Valera or looking toward Alex Verdugo and/or Andrew Toles would feel like Dodgers-y moves. But then, these are special circumstances. The Dodgers are in a hole, and they’ve been substantially weakened. It’s going to be that much more difficult to make up lost ground.

We hoped you liked reading Now the Dodgers Are in Some Real Trouble by Jeff Sullivan!

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Jeff made Lookout Landing a thing, but he does not still write there about the Mariners. He does write here, sometimes about the Mariners, but usually not.

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Francoeurstein
Member
Francoeurstein

I immediately thought of Machado when I heard the terrible news. I know it’s not a Dodgers-like move, but I would like to see it at some point in the season.

Also, how is Chris Taylor as a SS?

mikejunt
Member
Member
mikejunt

Taylor’s been fine at SS in the sample I’ve watched him in, the real question will be who can play a credible CF on the roster besides him.

Maverik312
Member
Member
Maverik312

Nimmo to Dodgers plz

RonnieDobbs
Member
RonnieDobbs

You are thinking that they need a left-handed OF to fill the void left by Seager.

420Smash
Member
420Smash

Matt Kemp and Corey Seager to the Orioles for Manny Machado, Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman.

steelehere
Member
steelehere

That would be a panic move for the Dodgers. No way they’re trading Corey Seager (even if he’s injured) for a one year rental in Manny Machado.

RonnieDobbs
Member
RonnieDobbs

Downvotes for you reasonable reply! Yes, lets trade several years of free service of Seager for a rental!

RonnieDobbs
Member
RonnieDobbs

The Dodgers just lost their best bat, I don’t think sending Kemp away sounds like a good idea. I know there is never a bad reason to take a shot at Matt Kemp’s lack of value, but I think they need his bat in the middle of the lineup more than ever now. I can’t imagine the Dodgers even considering dealing Seager – they know he is the player their offense is built around. Good time for an extension?

shaneous
Member
shaneous

His Agent is Scott Boras. An extension is not happening.