Andrew Friedman did not mention Juan Soto by name.
He didn’t have to.
As this year’s Aug. 2 trade deadline nears, the Dodgers’ president of baseball operations said the club went through the typical exercise of assessing specific needs, taking stock of its farm system and determining how to plug holes in the list of can a team fighting for a championship.
Those aren’t the only calculations at play.
Not in a year could someone like Soto, the 23-year-old Washington Nationals star outfielder, be on the move.
“It’s more about assessing specific needs, and also the top-end players that aren’t necessarily needed but don’t become available as often,” Friedman said during an interview Saturday while leaning on the Dodgers’ railing leaned ‘ shelter.
“If they do, you always look through that process. That’s kind of our attitude for the past few weeks.”
Certainly not the Dodgers to need soto
They currently lead the National League with a 63-30 record.
They entered the game on Sunday and led baseball in team OPS (.776) and finished second in runs per game (5.16).
According to Fangraphs, they are already a virtual postseason suspension (100% computer prediction odds), will almost certainly win their league (97.4% odds) and have the second highest probability of winning the World Series (15.9 % quotas). ).
If there’s one area that seems to need reinforcements the most, it’s probably the pitching staff, who have weathered a wave of injuries but could be vulnerable to problems until they’re back to full strength.
“We’re going to bring some really talented pitchers back into the mix,” Friedman said, citing the expected return of Walker Buehler, Dustin May, Blake Treinen and other key pitchers by the end of the season.
“So the question is, worst case scenario, what if X of them return and where do we feel we have that coverage to put together a championship caliber pitching team in October? These are of course the questions we will be grappling with over the next few weeks.”
However, the sudden availability of a generational talent like Soto has added a wrinkle to this year’s considerations.
Although Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said last month his club would not sell Soto, the player’s recent rejection of a reported $440 million contract extension has changed the situation.
Now the two-time All-Star and 2020 NL batting champion is not only potentially available, but is already attracting significant interest from multiple clubs.
The Dodgers, with their seemingly endless financial resources, large pool of potential clients, and established track record of swinging big trades, have been consistently rumored to be part of the mix.
When asked how much the term market has changed over the past few days since news of Soto’s rejection of the extension first broke, Friedman chuckled.
“Anytime — and obviously not specifically associated with him — but anytime high-quality players become available, they’re difficult to access,” Friedman said. “So whenever they do it, you always have conversations. But of course we lost a lot of really talented young players in the last five years. It is the ever-present challenge of balancing the now and the future.”
During Friedman’s eight-year tenure in Los Angeles, the Dodgers walked that tightrope well.
After trades for Yu Darvish in 2017, Manny Machado in 2018, Mookie Betts in 2020, and Trea Turner and Max Scherzer last year, the Dodgers have still funneled talent into the big leagues — Tony Gonsolin and Gavin Lux were this year’s Success Stories – and maintained a development pipeline, their farming system currently ranks fifth in the majors by MLB Pipeline.
This year they’ve built a first-class team that’s packed with depth – bolstered by off-season signings big and small, like Freddie Freeman and Tyler Anderson – and raised the club’s level of play throughout the season to opening a double-digit game advantage in the NL West.
“We have a special camaraderie in our group that we’re sensitive to when we potentially want to add something,” Friedman said. “We’re very careful about how the guys fit in.”
With just over a week to go before the deadline, they must start making some final decisions.
Going all in for Soto?
Are you trying to snag a starting pitcher like the Cincinnati Reds All-Star Luis Castillo?
Remain relatively calm and protect the most valuable parts of the farm system?
Or explore a different route in search of a championship?
“That’s just the hard part of what we do,” Friedman said. “We have to constantly have our finger on the pulse, not just now but what the implications are going forward and how that relates to our pipeline of upcoming players, our financial commitments and anything we can to maintain this high level.” to be maintained forever as far as we can see.”
https://www.latimes.com/sports/dodgers/story/2022-07-24/andrew-friedman-dodgers-trade-deadline-juan-soto Andrew Friedman looks ahead to Dodgers trade deadline plans