Eventually the reputation of not trading prospects will disappear from the narrative.
When it comes to Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and general manager Farhan Zaidi, they’ve proven once again that they're more than willing to go get the talent necessary to win.
But the trade they completed Wednesday for Manny Machado — as impactful as it may be — is not the final move that will occur for the Dodgers as the trade deadline draws near.
“It’s meant as a means to an end,” Zaidi said while on the Dodgers radio station AM 570 in Los Angeles. “We’re trying to win a World Series every year, this year in particular. We’re excited about making the deal but ultimately this is about getting closer to that bigger goal.”
“We’re in first place by the slimmest of margins. There’s four teams in the (National League West) within four games of each other. We felt like improving our team in this two or three week period was imperative, and we think Manny Machado was the best target out there for that.”
So did the other contenders in the Machado sweepstakes. The Orioles reportedly received offers from the Diamondbacks, Brewers, Phillies, Braves, Indians and Cubs. Five of the six belong to the NL and are teams the Dodgers will have to get through to make another fall classic.
Machado could’ve been a game changer for any of those aforementioned teams and a player of his caliber could prove to be the deciding factor in the race to even get into the postseason at all.
“We’ve had some big outbursts and we’ve also had some games where we’ve struggled to score runs,” Zaidi said. “Having a consistent offensive force like Machado in the middle of the lineup, can hopefully smooth those things over.”
Giving at-bats to Machado now instead of, say, Logan Forsythe, is a good place to beef up the chances for the offense to be more consistent. The 31-year-old has hit an abysmal .208/.270/.301 this season and has a .645 OPS since the Dodgers picked him up prior to the 2017 season.
With Machado at short, Chris Taylor will get a look at second base in some kind of rotation that will see Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy and Taylor get the bulk of the work in some kind of configuration of first base, second base and center field.
Manager Dave Roberts has already spoken to his new star and Machado is completely on board to play third base if the lineup dictates that on a given day.
That leaves the pitching.
It took the larger part of a month to get this trade to the finish line and now the front office brain trust can turn their attention to the bullpen.
There are several names to consider as the Dodgers get creative with their limited payroll flexibility. The Padres have a couple relievers that could help but what would the intra-division tax be? Oakland’s Blake Treinen would be a perfect fit, except that the Athletics are in the American League wild card hunt.
Zach Britton would’ve been perfect a couple years ago but can he be a dominant setup man for Kenley Jansen?
“It’s obviously a different division dynamic than we had last year,” said Zaidi. “At this point we’re going into the trade deadline and I think we have to pursue and evaluate every opportunity to make this team better.”
Whatever the case is, the Dodgers have a shade under two weeks to bolster the bullpen before they have to delve into an August waiver claim.
Zaidi knows Machado is just one piece of the puzzle — one giant piece.
“It’s not about the victory lap for us as much as it is about trying to give this team every chance to achieve it’s goal.”
A goal they got ever so close to in 2017.