The Dodgers strayed away from the splashy trades during the last deadline.
Instead, the front office made trades that answered some of the team’s questions.
Andrew Friedman brought back a fan favorite, Kike Hernandez, and traded away an enemy of the fans for Amed Rosario. The trades brought two players who could hit left-hand pitching, play multiple positions, and not trade any top prospects away.
Since joining the Dodgers, the team has widened its lead in the National League West to 5 games. Their last game against a left-handed pitcher ended with Rich Hill leaving after 3 innings. During his 3 innings of work, Rosario homered, and Hernandez got a hit off his old teammate. Both players came from teams not in first place or in place to make the playoffs.
The Red Sox are currently in last place and 5 games out of a Wild Card spot. The Guardians are 4 games under .500, 4.5 games behind first place, and 8.5 games away from a Wild Card spot. Both players are helping the Dodgers stay in first place and make a deep run in October. Let’s examine how a change in scenery has improved their playing.
Analyzing Their Defense
During the Dodgers game on August 4th versus the Padres, Rosario played second base. Since joining the Dodgers, Rosario played second base for the first time in the majors. During the game versus the Padres, Cooper sharply hit the ball between first and second base. Rosario dived to catch the ball, spun around, and threw out the base runner on a bouncer to Freeman from his knee.
Since joining the Dodgers and playing second base, Rosario has improved his fielding percentage. In fact, he’s improved his fielding percentage in both second base and shortstop. By adding a position to his arsenal, Rosario can start more games, which will help him garnish his new contract after his current one expires this season.
On the other hand, Hernandez has played 5 different positions for the Dodgers. With the Red Sox, Hernandez only played 3 different positions. Flexibility allows Dave Roberts to give him plenty of at-bats while resting some of the other players on the team. When Hernandez left the Dodgers, he hoped to be a starter for a singular position. He is a starter in his second stint with the Dodgers because of his flexibility.
Analyzing Their Offense
Hernandez and Rosario have both improved their offensive numbers. In the small sample size they’ve given, both players have bettered their OPS and their slugging percentage. By adding both Hernandez and Rosario, the Dodgers have deepened their lineup, adding more protection to the newly acquired players.
Hernandez and Rosario hit towards the end of the lineup, usually followed by MLB’s best 1-2 punch, Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman. With protection like that, opposing pitchers will be pitching with more caution, giving them a better chance of reaching base.
The Dodgers’ offense was rolling without them, but after they acquired Hernandez and Rosario, they will help make a 5-run deficit look like a tie game.