It has been an intriguing offseason for the Los Angeles Dodgers that has seen them face much criticism for the lack of significant movement to acquire any superstar talent. However, things changed drastically for the Dodgers on Tuesday night with the blockbuster three-team deal that landed them former AL MVP Mookie Betts and All-Star pitcher David Price from the Boston Red Sox. It was the move that their fans had been waiting for them to complete that brings aboard one of the best players in the game, along with some help in their starting rotation.
Here’s why this considerable move could be what they need to put them over the top.
Mookie Betts brings presence at the top of batting order
The Dodgers have been one of the top teams in the league for the last several years behind their deep and talented roster that has become a strong blend of youth and veteran players.
Beyond his stellar play in the outfield as a three-time Gold Glove winner, the addition Betts could provide a significant spark at the top of their batting for the Dodgers. He should fill right in at the leadoff spot, where he has found success throughout his career as he has a triple slash of .302/.537/.910.
That has been a spot that Los Angeles has struggled to get consistent play. Chris Taylor had been a reliable asset in that role, but he struggled with his health and production in 2019. What may also make an even more intriguing situation is that reigning NL MVP Cody Bellinger will hit in the No.2 spot, where he has found a great deal of comfort over the last couple of years.
There will be those that point to the cheating scandal involving former Red Sox manager Alex Cora, which puts into question how much it impacted the production from their star players like Betts. Nonetheless, the four-time All-Star will have the opportunity to prove that the situation didn’t dictate his strong performance at the plate.
David Price could provide much-needed starting rotation stability
Things have come full circle for Price as he had been taken in the 19th round of the 2004 MLB June Amateur Draft before deciding to go the professional route in 2007 after a stint at Vanderbilt.
There have been questions about Price’s character, durability, and effectiveness over the last few seasons. However, he has proven throughout his career to be a stable arm in the rotation despite coming off an injury-ridden campaign that saw him make just 22 starts where he held a 7-5 record with a 4.28 ERA in 107.1 innings pitched.
The Dodgers mark a fresh start for the 34-year-old where he could make a significant impact. Los Angeles lost Rich Hill to the Minnesota Twins in free agency while another trading another rotation option in Kenta Maeda to the Twins in the three-team deal. Meanwhile, Hyun-Jin Ryu joined the Toronto Blue Jays in free agency.
That leaves an opportunity for Price to step in at the very least in the No.3 starter spot behind Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw. He could prove to be that pivotal arm that can give them that needed success in the playoffs. Price has had his struggles in the postseason, but he had a strong 2018 postseason as he held a 3-1 record with a 3.46 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 26.0 innings pitched in six games played with five starts.
That saw him dominate the Dodgers in the World Series that year, where he held a 2-0 record with a 1.98 ERA with two starts in three appearances. Price was critical in series-clinching Game 5 as he threw 7.0 innings, giving up just one run. Yes, there is plenty of risk with this move, but Los Angeles could greatly benefit from the addition of another proven arm.
Dodgers making the most of World Series window
The game of baseball, unlike many other sports, is more dictated on a collective effort on the field and at the plate.
However, there is something notable missing from the Dodgers with their inability to get over the top. They aren’t far off being back in the World Series picture given the talent and continuity on their roster.
There will be lingering questions about the bullpen, but Los Angeles has once positioned themselves to make a strong push to finally get over the hump to secure their first World Series title in more than three decades.