It was the trading deadline day otherwise known as Andrew Friedman Appreciation Day, a day usually rife with popping corks and pats on the back.
However, for Dodgers an organization that routinely kicks every transaction out of the park, Tuesday was filled with a strange, lonely sound.
It was a swing out.
This time Goliath did not rob. This time, the rich didn’t get richer. This time the mighty Dodgers got it, well Padred.
This word? That is how it should be.
Failing to acquire a capable hand other than average pitcher Chris Martin while their San Diego pals traded for baseball’s best Josh Hader, the Dodgers got the Padres.
By acquiring another underwater striker in Joey Gallo while their San Diego friends added stable Josh Bell, the Dodgers got the Padres.
No, the Dodgers aren’t going to give up their double-digit lead in the National League West to a ridiculously runner-up team. The Dodgers have the best pitching staff in baseball and the second-best offense. They don’t stack. Yes, the Dodgers can still win the World Series with their current roster, and probably should.
But make no mistake, this trade opens up a three-year window for the Padres’ championship hopes, with the 23-year-old Soto under club control for three pennant races. At the same time, it closes the window a little for a Dodgers team that will get a little older, a little creaky this winter and could lose one of their co-MVPs, Trea Turner, to free agency.
What if… this October… the Padres survive the newfangled wild card and somehow face the Dodgers in a divisional or league championship series? What if they were playing a winner-take-all game?
The Dodgers will be led by their worldwide four: Mookie Betts, Turner, Freddie Freeman and Will Smith. But now the Padres can take on a foursome of Fernando Tatis Jr., Manny Machado, Soto and Bella.
The Dodgers have a starting pitching advantage, but not by much, especially when you consider that their Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw is frail, their ace Walker Buhler is injured, their fan favorite Julio Urias is fickle, and their backups Tony Gonsolin and Tyler Anderson are out of the Playoffs. proven.
Then the Dodgers may have to close with a cranky Craig Kimbrel while the Padres finish with Hader’s heat.
Who do you have in the one game series?
Don’t answer it.
“They’ve made their team a lot better in the last couple of days and we’re looking forward to this competition,” Dodgers baseball team boss Friedman said of the Padres on a conference call with reporters Tuesday.
The thought that these Padres were even in the Dodgers league was unthinkable just a few days ago, but their general manager, A.J. should be interrupted. anyone for anything.
Friedman usually owns this day, remember? Yu Darvish, Manny Machado, Max Scherzer and Turner, remember? And then there was the off-season trade for the Betts.
Does any casual fan remember all the perspectives these players exchanged? History will show that trading children for superstars is almost always justified. In Soto’s case, he’s both a child and a superstar, a unicorn or a player who was only traded because he wasn’t going to accept a 15-year, $440 million contract offer.
Soto was a once-in-a-lifetime signing, and while the Dodgers certainly didn’t need him, they certainly didn’t need him to go to one of their division rivals.
It was perhaps the biggest adventure of Friedman’s illustrious career.
“Our track record suggests that we were obviously aggressive in trying to figure things out,” Friedman said.
But he acknowledged that with the team playing so well, his earlier willingness to turn down their best prospects had waned somewhat.
“We felt very good with the team that we have,” he said, adding later, “We have a really special dynamic in this room right now, that’s something we’re aware of.”
Understood. But if they weren’t going to go after Soto with their elite prospects like catcher Diego Cartaya, pitcher Bobby Miller and third baseman Miguel Vargas, who had just been promoted to the big leagues on Tuesday, then why didn’t they go elsewhere for a kickoff? feed? depth? Why not make a serious bet on Cincinnati’s Luis Castillo, who ended up with the Seattle Mariners? Or bring home Frankie Montas, who has become a New York Yankee?
Friedman believes they’ll add a lot of pitching as several strong arms return over the next six weeks from injury to join the newly active Andrew Heaney. He talks about the likes of Dustin May, Blake Trainen, and perhaps even the visionary Buhler.
“With some combination of hands, we could potentially come back… that’s a high bar,” he said. “We felt very good about the potential of what our pitching could look like in October.”
However, this is another gamble, especially with rotation. Over the next two months, problems in the back of the bullpen could be resolved with a few revolver pitchers, but the problem in the front of the rotation remains undefined.
“I’m happy with the team we have and how they performed,” Friedman said. “If we have an urgent need, you will see that we will be more on tilt. I feel good about how aggressive we were.”
But were they aggressive enough? The answer will come in October. The Padres will be waiting.