The Los Angeles Dodgers acquired relief pitcher Mike Kelly and utilityman Enrique Hernandez prior to the trade deadline, and both players were a part of the team that won the 2020 World Series. The Dodgers also added starting pitcher Lance Lynn and shortstop Amed Rosario in trades this week.
Los Angeles Dodgers acquired utilityman Enrique Hernandez, seen here celebrating a victory with the Boston Red Sox, in a trade to bring back the former Dodger. (Image: AP)
The Atlanta Braves are the best team in the National League with a 65-38 record. The Dodgers are the second-best team in the NL at 58-44, even though their pitching staff has been ravished with injuries. The Cincinnati Reds (57-48) are the surprise team in the NL this season, and they’re fighting to win the NL Central title thanks to a double-digit winning streak in June.
The Braves and Dodgers are among the most active teams at the deadline. They top two World Series favorites seek to strengthen their rosters for a postseason run. The Braves attempt to win a second World Series in the last three seasons, and the Dodgers are on a mission to deliver a second championship since 2020. Both teams had disappointing exits in the 2022 MLB playoffs.
Hollywood ER: Banged-Up Dodgers
The Dodgers’ starting rotation is in shambles. They lost starting pitcher Dustin May to season-ending elbow surgery. Former ace Clayton Kershaw is currently on the IL. Walker Buehler has been slowly recovering from Tommy John surgery. Noah Syndergaard was a bust. Julio Urias has been healthy, but inconsistent.
Manager Dave Roberts had been rolling the dice with a trio of rookies — Michael Grove, Bobby Miller, and Emmet Sheehan, Bobby Miller — all of whom stepped up and provided the Dodgers with strong outings. The Dodgers know they’ll need additional arms down the stretch, especially veterans when the postseason rolls around.
The Dodgers also parted ways with Syndergaard. The right-handed starting pitcher nicknamed “Thor” due to his long hair, signed a one-year contract this past offseason. Syndergaard posted a 1-4 record with a 7.16 ERA and 1.45 WHIP in 12 starts with the Dodgers before he headed to the IL with blisters on his pitching hand. They traded him to the Cleveland Guardians where he expects to get a fresh start.
The Dodgers added righty starter Lance Lynn in a trade with the White Sox. Lynn struggled this season with a 6-9 record in 21 starts. He posted a 6.47 ERA and 1.46 WHIP, and coughed up an MLB-leading 28 home runs this season. Roberts will rely on Lynn to soak up innings in August.
The Dodgers are still shopping for starting pitchers, which is why there’s plenty of rumors swirling around Tinsel Town that they have their sights on Justin Verlander from the New York Mets.
Dodgers Bring Back Hernandez and Kelly
The Dodgers acquired the versatile Hernandez in a trade with the Boston Red Sox for right-handed relief pitchers Nick Robertson and Justin Hagenman. Roberts will platoon Hernandez at second base, and he could also see time in the outfield.
It’s weird to be here,” said Hernandez. “It feels like it’s been forever, but at the same time it feels like it was yesterday that I was here.”
Hernandez was an integral part of the 2020 team that won the World Series. He spent six seasons with the Dodgers, and the feisty Hernandez had become a fan favorite during his previous stint. Hernandez struggled with the Red Sox, and hit only .222 this season.
The Dodgers also added another member of their 2020 championship squad with Kelly. The right-handed reliever spent three seasons with the Dodgers between 2019-21.
Kelly battled injuries this season including a strained groin and elbow inflammation. He appeared in 35 games with the White Sox this season. He went 1-5 with a 4.97 ERA and 1.31 WHIP.
“I would argue that Kelly’s stuff — the velocity, the curveball — is even better than it was when he was with us,” said Roberts. “He’s a guy, like most players, when they’re in a winning environment, they thrive.”
The Dodgers sent outfielder Trayce Thompson to the White Sox, along with minor league pitchers Nick Nastrini and Jordan Leasure to complete the trade for Kelly and Lynn.
The Dodgers also acquired shortstop Amed Rosario from the Guardians in a trade for Syndergaard. Rosario appeared in 94 games with the Guardians and posted a slashline of .265/.306/.369.
Betting the Dodgers Down the Stretch
The Braves are the consensus favorite to win the 2023 World Series at +330 odds, and the Dodgers are second on DraftKings’ futures board at +500 odds.
The Braves are +160 odds to win the NL pennant, and the Dodgers are right behind them at +240 odds.
The Dodgers have a 13.4% chance to win the World Series, according to FanGraphs. The Braves are the only team with a higher projection with a 24.8% chance to secure a World Series victory.
The Dodgers dominated the NL West over the last decade with nine division titles. They won 104 or more games four times since 2017, but failed to win the World Series in any of those seasons. Last year, the Dodgers won a franchise-best 111 games, but were eliminated in the NLDS by the San Diego Padres.
Despite some phenomenal seasons since 2017, the Dodgers only have one World Series victory which occurred during the pandemic-shortened season of 2020.
The Dodgers hold a two-game lead over the San Francisco Giants in the NL West standings. The Dodgers are huge favorites at -500 odds to win the NL West for a tenth time in the last 11 seasons. The Giants are +650 odds to win the division for a second time since 2021. According to FanGraphs, the Dodgers have a 78% chance to secure the NL West crown, and the Giants have only 11.8% chance to win the division.
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