Andrew Friedman looks ahead to complete Dodgers trade plans

Andrew Friedman did not refer Juan Soto by names.

He shouldn’t have.

If this year Aug. 2 trade deadline is approaching, DodgersThe president of baseball operations said the club is doing a typical exercise in assessing specific needs, analyzing its capabilities. farm systemand figuring out ways to plug holes in a championship-challenging team.

These are not the only calculations in the game.

Not a year from now, someone like Soto, the 23-year-old star outfielder for the Washington Nationals, couldn’t be on the move.

“It’s more about assessing a specific need, as well as top-end players who aren’t necessarily needed but don’t become available that often,” Friedman said during an interview on Saturday, leaning against the railing of the Dodgers. ‘ domestic dugout.

“When they do it, you always see the process through to the end. That’s our thinking in the last couple of weeks.”

Dodgers definitely not. need Soto.

They currently lead the National League with a record of 63-30.

They entered Sunday’s game leading baseball in team hit-and-miss percentage (.776) and second in runs per game (5.16).

According to Fangraphsthey are already a virtual castle for the postseason (100% computer projection chance), almost certain to win their division (97.4% chance) and have the second best chance of winning the World Series (15.9% chance).

If there’s one area that seems to need the most reinforcement, it’s probably the pitching staff, who have weathered the injury wave but may be prone to trouble until they’re back at full strength.

“We’re going to add some really talented pitchers again,” Friedman said, referring to an expected return. Walker BuhlerDustin May, Blake Trainen and other key pitchers at the end of the season.

“So the question is, in the worst case, what if X of them come back, and where do we feel like we have that kind of coverage to put together a championship-level pitching team in October? Obviously, these are the issues that we will be wrestling with in the next couple of weeks.”

However, the sudden availability of a generational talent like Soto has added wrinkles to the discussions this year.

Although Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said last month that his club would not sell Soto, the player’s recent rejection of a $440 million contract extension has changed that.

Now the two-time All-Star and 2020 NL champion is not only potentially available, but is already generating a lot of interest from several clubs.

Andrew Friedman oversees team practice.

Dodgers baseball team president Andrew Friedman watches the team practice at their spring training facility in Glendale, Arizona, in February 2018.

(Carlos Osorio/Associated Press)

Rumor has it that the Dodgers, with their seemingly endless financial resources, wide range of potential clients, and a well-established track record of big deals.

When asked how much the deadline market has changed in recent days since news of Soto’s renewal rejection first surfaced, Friedman smirked.

“At any time – and obviously not specifically related to it – but every time star-caliber players become available, it’s hard to get access to them,” Friedman said. “So whenever they do, you always have conversations. But obviously we’ve traded a lot of really talented young players in the last five years. It is the ubiquitous issue of balance between the present and the future.”

During Friedman’s eight years in Los Angeles, the Dodgers got through that tightrope well.

After trading for Yu Darvish in 2017, Manny Machado in 2018, Mookie Betts in 2020, and Trea Turner and Max Scherzer last year, the Dodgers have continued to funnel talent into the big leagues — Tony Gonsolin and Gavin Lux have become homegrown stories. success this year. — and supported the development process, their truss system is currently ranked as the fifth largest company by MLB Pipeline.

This year, they built a first-place team full of depth – bolstered by off-season signings like Freddie Freeman and Tyler Anderson – and elevated the club’s game as the season progressed, opening up a double-digit lead in the NL West.

“There is a special camaraderie within our group that we are sensitive to as we pursue potential development,” Friedman said. “We’re really mindful of how the guys will fit in.”

With just over a week left before the deadline, they will have to start making some final decisions.

Go all in for Soto?

Try to catch a starting pitcher like All-Star Luis Castillo of the Cincinnati Reds?

Staying relatively calm and protecting the most valuable parts of the farm system?

Or explore another route in pursuit of the championship?

“This is the hardest part of what we do,” Friedman said. “We have to constantly keep our finger on the pulse, not only now, but also what the consequences are in the future and how this relates to our player flow, our financial obligations and do our best to maintain this high level for as long as possible.” as far as we can see.”