Hernandez: Dodgers can avoid Angels-Trout debacle by signing Soto

Phenomenon is now an old man.

Mike Trout It has back problem that he will have to cope for the rest of his career, diagnostics coach Mike Frostad told reporters in Kansas City, noting another wave of trouble. Angels.

The news served as a warning to Dodgerswho are exploring the possibility of trading with Washington Nationals per Juan Soto.

The lesson here should not be about the risks of betting big on a single player, but about what can happen to teams that don’t use their opportunities.

Rather than dissuade the Dodgers from pursuing the 23-year-old Soto, the Angels’ failures with Trout should force Andrew Friedman into a deal with the Nationals before August 8. 2 trading term.

The windows are closing, as the Angels painfully realized. Arte Moreno’s team is in no man’s land. The Angels have no chance of winning with Trout as their main link, the lack of quality local players and the run down state of their farming system make it almost impossible for them to win in the near future. Shohei Otani will be eligible for free agency after next season.

They also cannot trade Trout. Trout turns 31 next month and is six years away from last season, in which he played over 140 games. His recent back problems, which Frostad attributed to costovertebral dysfunction of the T5 vertebrae, have kept him out of action since July 12. The Angels will be lucky if they just find a team to take over what’s left of his $426.5 million contract.

Trout is now 11th full season in the big leagues. The Angels had 11 chances to line up around him and each time they failed, often because of Moreno’s impulsive buys that ruined the roster. Their punishment: inevitable mediocrity.

The Dodgers have won the National League West in eight of the last nine seasons. Last year, when they were runners-up to the San Francisco Giants, they advanced to the NL Championship Series.

However, a playoff berth is not enough for the Dodgers, who hold themselves to a higher standard than their I-5 neighbors.

And in as many games as they have won under Friedman, the Dodgers have only one World Series title.

They now have the opportunity to win another championship or two in the next few years as they have a powerful offense based on two of the most feared hitters in the league, Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman.

Betts is in the second year of a 12-year, $365 million contract. Freeman is in the first year of a six-year, $162 million contract.

The Dodgers did not sign them to long-term contracts because they expected them to maintain current production levels until their contracts expired. Betts and Freeman were signed to help the team win now.

Freeman will turn 33 in September. Bets will turn 30 next month.

The Dodgers should aim to maximize what’s left of their primes. They should be looking for a trade for Soto, who has 20 homers for the last-place nationals.

Washington Nationals right guard Juan Soto puts on sunglasses before entering the field.

Washington Nationals right fielder Juan Soto, 22, puts on sunglasses before taking the field at halftime against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday.

(Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times)

The Dodgers will have three Octobers with Soto if they trade him this year unless he becomes a free agent before the end of the 2024 season.

The Dodgers’ most obvious weaknesses are the pitching, but there’s no reason why the team can’t get both Soto and a reliever. As for the kickoff, the Dodgers have a lot of weapons. They could use the ace – who couldn’t? – but they are out of stock.

The concern about Soto has less to do with his .243 batting average than with his acquisition cost.

The Dodgers were supposed to send the Nationals a package of their high-profile prospects, but remember, prospects are just prospects. Last year, the Dodgers made a deal with the Nationals for Max Scherzer and Trea Turner. Returnees included two prospects, Josiah Gray and Cabert Ruiz. Gray would almost certainly not be in the Dodgers rotation if he was still here; Ruiz would be stuck behind Will Smith in a trap.

But what if Soto, who has already turned down a $440 million renewal offer from the Nationals, comes to Los Angeles and ends up leaving the Dodgers no choice but to re-sign him as a free agent?

Well, that would mean he performed exceptionally well and took the city by storm in the process. This would mean that the Dodgers found a player who could replace Betts as the team’s cornerstone.

The day after Freeman agreed to the Dodgers deal, Clayton Kershaw mentioned that the Dodgers now have two of the top three hitters in baseball, Freeman and Betts.

Another striker Kershaw placed in this category was Soto.

Now the Dodgers have a chance to put together a roster that will include all three, and Turner before the end of this season.

They have an opportunity and they should take advantage of it. Missing this chance is too big a gamble.