USA TODAY Sports’ Bob Nightengale discusses the MLB landscape following the non-waiver trade deadline.
USA TODAY Sports
The Los Angeles Dodgers, tired of division titles and bored by regular-season dominance, did something really zany Monday on the final day of baseball’s trade deadline.
They went all-in in the pursuit of a World Series.
The Dodgers, having spent years hoarding prospects as if every one of them would turn out to be the next Sandy Koufax or Duke Snider, swallowed hard and traded a half-dozen of them away.
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It should work out quite well, considering the kids they traded away wouldn’t have been old enough to drink anyway when the Dodgers pop the bubbly after winning this year’s World Series.
The Dodgers, at 74-31, are the best team in baseball and on pace for 114 wins. They could close 26-31 and still win 100 games for the first time in 43 years.
Sorry, but a fifth consecutive National League West title wouldn’t be good enough. Not for this magical team. Not for a team that has 31 comeback victories and nine walk-off wins.
So Dodgers President Andrew Friedman decided to trigger his own walk-off, acquiring Texas Rangers four-time All-Star Yu Darvish at the non-waiver trade deadline buzzer, an hour after already grabbing left-handed relievers Tony Watson from Pittsburgh and Tony Cingrani from Cincinnati.
Yes, just in case you wondered, L.A. is all in, baby.
“I think it will definitely be an emotional boost for the team,” Dodgers GM Farhan Zaidi said on a conference call. “It’s hard to say they need it.”
It came at a cost, with the Dodgers trading away three of their prospects in outfielder Willie Calhoun, ranked fourth-best, pitcher A.J. Alexy (17), and infielder Brendon Davis (29). They also traded away three more prospects and outfielder Scott Van Slyke in their Watson and Cingrani deals.
Still, they hung onto the gems of their system, right-hander Walker Buehler and outfielder Alex Verdugo, didn’t trade a single player off their 25-man roster, and can now go ahead and line up their playoff rotation.
They have such a collection of riches, you wonder who can actually stop them from winning their first World Series since 1988.
Sure, no one’s saying that Darvish is Orel Hershiser, not in a season in which he’s gone just 6-9 with a career-worst 4.01 ERA, giving up 10 earned runs in his last start. Still, this is a…