The Lights are Bright in Lala Land

Photo Credit: Sporting News | Getty Images

by: Eric Boston @EricBoston3

The Los Angeles Dodgers are all in on getting back to the World Series.

After falling in Game 7 of last year’s Fall Classic to the Houston Astros, the Dodgers came out of the gates slow in 2018. For the first couple of months of the season, it did not seem like the team would be able to get on track enough to catch up in a strong National League West division.

Injuries played a large part of these struggles.

The team’s ace Clayton Kershaw has made multiple trips to the DL in 2018. All-Star short stop Corey Seager was lost for the year with a UCL sprain. Yasiel Puig is dealing with an oblique injury. Even with the obstacles, the reigning NL Champs kept plugging away.

Now, a week after the All-Star Game, the club sits atop the division and just landed the biggest name of the trade market.

The Dodgers added Baltimore short stop Manny Machado more or less during the All-Star Game itself (Machado pulled out a phone and found time to take a selfie with new teammate Matt Kemp as the OF reached second base). While acquiring Machado was a no-brainer, especially considering the injury to Seager, it was not a certainty.

The Dodgers are not a team that is willing to give out huge hauls of prospects, especially for a potential rental player (Machado is set to hit free agency this winter). But that is exactly what they did and it was the correct decision.

The package included Top 100 prospect OF Yusniel Diaz (who is now pegged as Baltimore’s top prospect), RHPs Dean Kremer and Zach Pop, and INFs Rylan Bannon and Breyvic Valera. Bannon was the Dodgers’ #27 prospect with Kremer directly behind him at #28.

Like I said, the NL West is a tough division with four out of five teams sitting above the .500 mark currently. Machado may well be the piece that LA needs to clinch the division and make another run to the World Series. That is why ultimately the Dodgers had to up the ante to get the deadline’s biggest name.

Now they need the gamble to pay off.

Not only do they need success in 2018, but they are going to spend the rest of the year putting themselves in a position to keep Machado in LA for the long-term. One of the biggest determining factors there seems to be his desire to play shortstop.

Machado spent several big league seasons at third base due to roster construction, but came up through the minors as a SS and it is the position he wants to play. With Seager in the fold you have two more than capable players to handle the spot.

Perhaps moving Seager to the hot corner coming off of his injury would make sense. At third, you do not have as much ground to cover. Of course getting Machado re-signed is step one and working out the details can be worried about afterward.

With the splash the Los Angeles Lakers (NBA) made this summer bringing LeBron James to town, LA is reminding everyone that it is still the City of Stars.

Machado may not have the worldwide popularity of James, but he is without a doubt one of baseball’s best and now he is expected to put on a show for the Dodgers.

Up to this point in the season it appeared all of baseball’s elite teams reside in the American League, although don’t tell that to the Chicago Cubs who have made an impressive run as of late. The Dodgers could find themselves in that privileged group as well.

With Machado now in the fold and players hopefully getting healthy, LA is set up to once again be the kings of the NL. 

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