Dodgers explore options for squad reinforcements ahead of MLB trade deadline

Denver – Max Muncie It looked like he got it. Curve ball with a full count of RockyKyle Freeland He fired a missile from Muncie’s racket and fired toward the gap. Even in the endless grass of Corsfield Saturday night, he was eager to find at least some space. You’ve walked a predicted 403 feet in a racing glove Randall Grechuk In the position to finish the sixth game, which became a 5-3 loss to Dodgers. Muncie took a look at the center of the field, then another. Another nearly missed a season full of them as his OPS season dropped to .607.

Last summer, 31-year-old Muncy carried the Dodgers squad for extended periods, but his struggles have continued this season. Cody BellingerHis racket has fallen below the league average for the second year in a row. Despite these trends, the squad as a whole has entered play as the National League’s top player through wRC+ and is played in every game.

However, the Dodgers are still focused on boosting the depth of their lineup as the trade deadline approaches. Their options, both internal and external, have been sifted.

For example, Dodgers have shown an interest in trading for an outside player David Peraltasaid a source the athletealthough this option was closed earlier on Saturday when Arizona Peralta was sent to Tampa Bay for junior league owner Christian Cerda. Peralta, who has .777 OPS in 310 games with the Diamondbacks this season (including .823 OPS against right-handed pitchers), could have served as a left-handed platoon option along with a comeback soon Chris Taylor in the left field. The addition of Peralta could have propelled Taylor into the field position to replace Bellinger.

Cody Bellinger is struggling for the second season in a row. (Theron W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Even with the Peralta out of the market, the Dodgers have options they can pursue as collateral for some of their underperforming bats. Cubs defensive player Ian Hap He’s damaging switching his .831 OPS career against right-handers, and he has another year of club domination out this year. pirates defensive player Ben Jameel He has a .735 OPS for right-handers this season and will be a rental. The Dodgers might be the club you bet on Joey GalloAn ability to overcome his problems in New York.

or if giants They end up as sellers, and perhaps even competitors may find common ground for a rare trade. Former Dodgers player Jock Pederson It has a .421 OPS since the beginning of July but provides the type of bat (career .833 OPS against righties) LA has shown the ability to use properly in the past. And while the two clubs have only had two swaps in the past half century — only one mid-season — perhaps the history between Giants CEO Farhan Zaidi and Dodgers chief of baseball operations Andrew Friedman could create the path to a deal.

And of course, the Dodgers stay in the mix for Juan Soto And they showed interest in the two-way star Shuhei Ohtani.

“I’ve been surprised many times in the past, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised,” manager Dave Roberts said of the possibility of more moves by Tuesday’s trading deadline. “But as I’ve said all along, I really love this club. My job is to keep these guys moving forward. So that’s what I’m going to do, and if something happens, we’ll read it and react to it.”

Of course, the Dodgers also have in-house options, including players set to come out of IL and a 25-year-old about to debut in the unexpected big league.

During the changing pandemic season of 2020, in the quiet moments between cage sessions in a park near his hometown of Redwood City, California, James Ottman found it hard to imagine where he would end up after two summers. The left-handed sportsman was seen as more of an organizational filler than a prospect who would one day make it to the major leagues. However, that’s exactly what he did when he arrived at the visiting club at Coors Field. When the Dodgers need to be replaced Zach McKinstryWho was he Traded it to the Cubs in exchange for the loyal Chris MartinThey upgraded Outman.

In 2019, a season removed from a major average program in Sacramento State, Outman only made 0.226 in average strength when he was 22 in Class A. Dodgers alternative training site at the University of Southern California. Although he flashed with strong speed and the ability to manage all three external positions, Outman, in his words, swung “like a caveman.”

“Just really harsh,” said Ottmann, “not that much.”

Outman is beginning to include coaches like Craig Wallenbrock, whose coaching pupil tree includes current Dodgers’ Robert van Skouk. These coaches took Outman’s swing of a ball strike and softened it, allowing him to make more contact and do so with more force.

“A complete rebuilding,” Othman said.

So Outman and some friends will find places to improve the new swing wherever they can, even as the world around them shuts down. They used friends’ backyards and opened batting cages in local parks and just about anywhere else before Outman reported to Dodgers Education Camp in the fall. In 2021, he’d hit 18 players in 104 games at two tiers, earn an invitation to the Arizona Fall League and a place on a 40-man roster over the winter to protect him from the never-before-seen Fifth Base Draft. He’s only continued to mash this season, reaching 16 players in 68 games at Double-A Tulsa and earning a call-up to Triple-A Oklahoma City just under a month ago.

Now the start of the commercial frenzy has brought him to the big club.

“There is a lot of life for the racket,” Roberts said.

Outman will start in the right field on Sunday in what will be his first major league appearance.

“My goal was to do it here sometime in the year,” Ottmann said. “But when I got the phone call, I was very surprised.”

This period in the major tournaments may be brief for Atman. He’s the 26th man on the list looking to add talent.

Tracee Thompson And the Jake Lamb Combined to produce a .870 OPS (147 wRC+, or 47 percent above the league average) on her 161-board debut while hovering in left field, with the two filling in first for injury Mocky Pets And now Taylor. Edwin Rios He hit seven of Homer’s in 92 board appearances before injuring his hamstring. But others have struggled to get a lot of regular procedures done. The Dodgers activated McKinstry from their infected list on July 6, and in the ensuing 23 days before he was traded away, McKinstry only got seven times. Outman’s contribution may be a placeholder.

The players are in good health. The Ríos began their rehab stint this week in Oklahoma City. He may be there for at least two weeks after he missed much of last season for major shoulder surgery. Taylor will begin rehab on Monday as he returns from a broken left foot bone. Roberts recently suggested that Taylor play second base in this rehab job, although he hasn’t played on the field this season after an out-of-season elbow procedure. The Dodgers did quite well in his absence. But even with Taylor’s return, more reinforcements may be needed.

Until then, the Dodgers remain in a position where they have seen two former MVP candidates create holes in their lineup. Bellinger has yet to rebound since undergoing shoulder surgery after the 2020 post-season, with a 0.596 OPS over the past two seasons even as he’s been putting together a solid defense in midfield. Muncie tore his left elbow on the final day of the regular season last October. He avoided surgery but made it to the casualty list in May after a slow start. The expected reset did not work. In his first 163 appearances on the board since his comeback, Muncy scored an OPS of just 0.627 and sacrificed some of his walking rate for minimal strength gains.

“He is,” Roberts said Friday when asked if he still sees Muncie, who finished 10th in last season’s Player of the Year vote, as an everyday player. “I’m going to keep giving it runway, but I definitely still expect high quality at bat. I think performance and merit, is definitely the way it should be. … It’s going to be that so that doesn’t happen.”

“For me, as for the organization, I think the track record, consistency of performance and defense shows that he deserves this longer lead.”

There are still glimmers for this player. Muncy stood on the board in the ninth inning of Saturday, marking the last Dodgers against the Rockies closer Daniel Bard, where he turned around a diver 98 mph for another shot to the right. He got off his racket with almost identical speed and trajectory as before. This time, Grichuk jumped. He went over his gauntlet and came off the wall to double down. It was the kind of swing that the all-year Dodgers hoped Muncie could replicate.

(Top photo Max Muncie after going into the sixth round on Saturday: Ron Chinoy/USA Today)