Los Angeles should compete for a pennant, but it may run into the Yankees
The Los Angeles Dodgers completed a blockbuster trade with the Boston Red Sox recently to acquire MVP-caliber outfielder Mookie Betts and pitcher David Price, in hopes of solidifying their World Series aspirations.
The Dodgers are in the upper echelon of teams in MLB. They reside in a top-5 market and have an extremely wealthy ownership group. Despite this, the last time the Dodgers won the World Series was more than 30 years ago.
Betts and Price could be key pieces to helping the Dodgers capture their long-coveted World Series pennant.
Betts was the 2018 American League MVP after he hit .346 and had a .438 on base percentage on the World Series-winning Red Sox.
Betts is eligible for free agency following the 2020 season, and will likely command a contract upward of $400 million. The Red Sox were hesitant to pay this steep price for Betts, so they moved him for assets while they could.
It’s not very likely that Betts will stay with the Dodgers after this season. The move is reminiscent of when the Dodgers traded for the rental of Manny Machado in 2018, who left for San Diego after just a half-season with the team.
In the other half of the deal, David Price also arrives in Los Angeles. Many saw this as the Red Sox dumping a large salary off the books, but Price could play a much larger role for the team than that. He is a former Cy Young award winner who has regressed in the last few seasons due to his age — he is 33 — but he is still a viable starting pitcher.
The best part of the trade for the Dodgers is that they received a top-5 talent in the league to perhaps put them over the edge this season, and they did not give up their best prospect, phenom infielder Gavin Lux, to do so.
The Dodgers are stacked, with a hitting lineup that would consist of Betts, 2016 Rookie of the Year Corey Seager, 2019 National League MVP Cody Bellinger, and All-Stars Max Muncy and Justin Turner. There is no doubt that any team would dread to face that lineup.
Price, as a left-handed pitcher, could also slot in as a top-3 starter for the Dodgers behind Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler.
Yet the question remains, is the Betts deal enough to vault the Dodgers to a World Series title this season?
First, it will depend on how healthy the players will be. The team has had its fair share of injury concerns throughout the last few years, including some of their star players. In order to compete, the team has to stay healthy throughout the season.
Next, the Dodgers have to put their playoff woes behind them. Kershaw in particular has lacked clutch play when the team needed him in the most recent playoff runs. In order to hoist the hardware at the end of the season, the Dodgers must perform better in the key moments when it matters most.
Lastly, the Dodgers will have to overcome the New York Yankees. The Yankees will have a batting order that can compete with the Dodgers by putting up lots of runs. The Bronx Bombers are equipped with power hitters Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez and Gleyber Torres. Furthermore, the Yankees have a better pitching staff than the Dodgers do, especially after New York signed coveted free agent Gerrit Cole over the winter.
At the end of the day, the Dodgers have a fair shot at the World Series in 2020 after just falling short in the last few seasons.
Heading into Spring Training, there are still too many unknowns to declare the Dodgers a surefire World Series champion just yet.
That being said, there should be a sense of urgency for the team to win this year. Although they have a core of young players, they may be able to get over the hump with Betts now inserted onto the team’s roster.
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