Although just two games out of first in the NL West, I think it’s safe to say nobody anticipated the Dodgers being anywhere but the top spot in their division at this point in the year. But the San Francisco Giants have defied the odds and have somehow held onto the top spot in the standings heading into action on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the Chicago Cubs continue to flounder after dropping Saturday’s matchup with the Arizona Diamondbacks at the Friendly Confines. David Ross’ club is now three games under .500 and nine games out in the NL Central. Which brings me to my next point: could Los Angeles look to add some insurance on the Cody Bellinger front by trading for Kris Bryant?
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Bellinger, a former MVP himself, has battled injuries all season long – and when he has been on the field, he’s hardly been the lineup-altering presence we saw a few years ago. With a 55 OPS+ and a .276/.284/.560 slash line, there’s clearly room for improvement here. Looking up at the Giants in the standings and with the young Padres hot on their heels, the Dodgers can ill afford such a lack of production from a key player like Bellinger.
Manager Dave Roberts said Bellinger might start getting more reps at first base once he returns from his hamstring injury, in hopes of reducing the amount of running he’s doing in-game. If that were to become the case, someone like Bryant – who has experience at all three outfield spots – could be a perfect answer for Los Angeles.
Chicago Cubs: Dodgers have money, prospects to pull off a Kris Bryant trade
Adding Bryant for the stretch run does nothing to Bellinger’s prospects with the team given he won’t hit free agency until 2024. All it would do is give the reigning World Series champs an insurance policy should Bellinger either A) keep battling injuries and/or B) fail to get back on track before October.
After a trio of blown leads late this past week, everyone started speculating Craig Kimbrel could be on the Dodgers’ radar. But I think Bryant is the move for that club. His versatility, experience in a large market and multiple postseason runs under his belt make him a perfect fit in an organization whose annual goal is to win a championship.
Andrew Friedman has turned Los Angeles into a juggernaut with near-unlimited financial power and an endless pipeline of young, homegrown talent. Heading into the year, Baseball America pegged the Dodgers’ system as the ninth-best in the game – which speaks volumes to the job he’s done.
That also means if he feels like he has a chance to run it back this fall and win a second straight championship, he’s got the chips to get a deal done for Kris Bryant.