Mike Trout Must Leave to be the GOAT

As Mike Trout approaches the end of his contract he faces a choice. He can stay in Anaheim, where the weather is warm and be guaranteed a big pay day once a year for the rest of his playing days. Or he could look at the state of the Angels and the state of the AL West. Houston is currently defending their world series title and Oakland might beat out the Yankees for the top wild card spot. And the Angels? They are battling it out with the Rangers to avoid the cellar of their top-heavy division.

Everyone knows Trout is the best player in baseball, so by that logic Trout knows he is the best player in baseball. When you know you are the best player in baseball two things come to mind.

  • I need to stay the best player in baseball for as long as I can.
  • I want to be the greatest player of all time.

Unlike basketball, football or hockey, baseball’s GOAT is up to much debate. Some say it belongs to the Babe, others claim it’s Wille Mays and then there are those who point to Ted Williams, Honus Wagner and the plethora of other players who litter baseball’s hall of fame.

Trout is in a rare position where he can align baseball with the three other major North American sports and allow fans to point to one man as the greatest to ever grace the game. If Trout plays his cards right and continues to build his illustrious career, he could be baseball’s GOAT.

But he must leave the Angels to do so.

Among just pure dominance and greatness, the one thing that Tom Brady, Lebron James and Wayne Gretzky all have in common is winning. For Gretzky it is his four Stanley Cups. For Brady it is his five super bowls and streak of nine straight division titles. For Lebron it is his three rings and promise to the league over the last seven years that he would be playing in the NBA Finals.

If Trout wants to be the best he not only has to play at a great level, he must play at a great level against great competition while succeeding on the biggest stage for an extended period of time. As a Los Angeles Angel, that is not a possibility. Over the past seven years, the Angels have proved their inability to manage and build a successful sports organization. Trout should take note of this and realize there is no reason any of this will change.

Sure, Shohei Ohtani is going to be good, maybe even great. But he and Trout can’t win a championship by themselves. They need a bunch of home-grown talent, and a couple of key free agents to have a shot in this league.

Once Trout has the chance to walk out of that home clubhouse in Angel Stadium for a final time in September (and yes I mean September) of 2020 he should not look back. He should take his time, say his thank you’s and goodbye’s. But he should not reconsider signing with the Angels.

It would be a shame to see a potential GOAT never be mentioned in that conversation because his team could not support him with good, winning seasons. Trout needs to realize this and sign to a team with a future next winter.

His options are spread across the country whether that be in the Northeast with New York, Boston and Philadelphia. Or if he wants to try the south and be a Brave or an Astro. He could go to the heartland and play in Cleveland or Chicago. And he could stay in the west with Colorado or Seattle.

Any hey, if he really likes LA that much, just sign with the Dodgers.

But whatever you do Mike, please, don’t be an Angel.

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Nationals hint at rebuild

The Washington Nationals have never won a playoff series.

They are currently below .500, at 62-63, and sit 7.5 games out of the NL East lead and 6.5 games out of the second Wild Card spot.

Things are not looking great in Washington, and it appears the Nats have given up on 2018, and possibly the next several years, as they have traded Daniel Murphy to the Chicago Cubs and Matt Adams to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Murphy has been one of the game’s most consistent hitters over the past few seasons, and is currently slashing .300/.341./.442 with 57 hits. The 33-year-old second baseman is unlikely to start over MVP candidate Javier Baez, but is expected to see action at third base in Anthony Rizzo’s absence, which is perhaps the biggest reason the Cubs pursued Murphy.

Washington received Class A infielder Andruw Monasterio and a player to be named later for Murphy and cash considerations for Adams.

A Bryce Harper departure was rumored, as the Los Angeles Dodgers reportedly claimed him off waivers, but nothing came to fruition and Harper will stay put for the rest of 2018.

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This turn of events differs from their plan from several weeks ago, which was to hold on to Harper and compete for a playoff spot.

The small return paired with the departure of two solid veterans signals a salary dump, however, team owner Mark Lerman said this is not a rebuild in a letter to Nationals fans. He did say it was “about giving us some roster flexibility, giving us the opportunity to see some of our young talent, and seeing if we can still find a combination or two that could spark a difference.”

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The Nationals frequented the bottom of the standings after their departure from Montreal before Harper made his MLB debut and had an immediate impact on the entire league. During his time in Washington, the team has made four playoff appearances, never getting past the Divisional Series.

Despite Lerner’s statement suggesting otherwise, as Harper enters free agency and signs point to him signing elsewhere, it appears that it’s time for the Nationals to hit the reset button.

Jim Johnson’s resurgence is a blessing for the Angels, but not to just help win games

Last winter, Angels General Manager Billy Eppler looked like a hero. He brought in Japanese phenomenon pitcher/hitter Shohei Ohtani. He signed 2017 All-Star infielder Zach Cozart to play third and traded for 2016 Gold Glove winner and four-time All-Star second baseman Ian KInsler. He also shored up the outfield by re-signing Justin Upton, who hasn’t his less than 26 home runs in a season since 2012. Who would’ve thought that Los Angeles would end up sellers at the trade deadline?

The Halos (54-56) sit 15 games behind the division-leading Houston Astros and they are 10 back in the Wild Card race as of August 3. So far, the Halos have dealt two players who have expiring contracts, Kinsler and 2017 Gold Glove winning catcher Martin Maldonado. August 31 is the final trade deadline, and reliever Jim Johnson getting traded next makes the most sense.

If one looked at the 13-year veteran’s numbers early in the season, nothing about his performance would seem very attractive. He got off to a mediocre start, with a 4.30 ERA through the middle of May. But, Johnson has since turned it around and has even thrived since a rough May 17 outing. He has a 2.37 after that appearance and he has improved his WHIP from a poor 1.48 to a more respectable 1.28.

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A big part of his success has been keeping the ball low and forcing grounders. This is vital to Johnson’s success because he does not strike many batters out. Since the start of June, he has struck out just eight hitters, but he has given up 24 grounders to just 15 fly balls, only one of which left the yard. Before June, he allowed 48 fly balls to 40 grounders, so since many of those hits in the air found outfield gaps, they aided in his rough start to 2018.

Johnson’s trade stock is at its highest right now. Over his last eight outings, he has given up just one run in nine innings and he has dropped his ERA by nearly a whole run since May to 3.40. Plus, he has an expiring deal, so teams won’t need to commit to a 35-year-old for multiple seasons.

There is certainly a market for a pitcher like Johnson, as many teams are looking to find stability in their bullpens for the postseason push. Perhaps Boston, who has the best record in baseball without having a stable set-up man, could find use for a veteran with late inning experience. Or possibly San Francisco, who at five games back of the division are fighting to stay in the race, could use Johnson’s services. The Giants have blown the most saves in the majors, having done it a staggering 23 times.

 

 

July 7th, 2018: Arizona Sports are Saved

Alright, so a lot happened on Saturday, and I’m here to tell you about it.

 

  1. Devin Booker Extension

Five years. $158 million. All five years guaranteed, no options. This is the nature of the extension of the Phoenix Suns’ franchise player. Devin Booker, after holding out due to Tyler Ulis miscommunication, signed his extension on July 7th, 2018. For the next five years, he is a Sun, and he won’t even be in the prime of his prime when that extension ends. He’ll be 26! And when that contract expires, THEN he’ll be in his prime and the Suns can sign him to something even better! That’s amazing news, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

 

  1. Deandre Ayton did some cool stuff

21 points and 12 rebounds was the name of the game for Deandre Ayton in game 2 of his Las Vegas Summer League tenure. His first half looked very lackluster, as he was getting beat in the post by Harry Giles, a man who has undergone two ACL surgeries. He was trying to post up by standing straight up and down instead of trying to dig into his defender, and he wasn’t slashing strongly after setting screens. He ended the half with 4 points, and Marvin Bagley looked to be his superior. But, in the second half, something changed. He was setting tough on-ball screens, he was passing out of doubles effectively, he was catching the ball over the top of his defender, and he really started to dig in. By the end of it all, he was efficient, strong, and using his size extremely well. Deandre Ayton looks good.

 

2b. Mikal Bridges did things too

In the last two games of Summer League, Mikal Bridges is 5 for 8 from three and 6 for 10 in general. That’s impressive. He looked great defensively on Saturday, and he had a nice steal and slam to cement himself as a decent defensive talent with athleticism. He’s proving he’s worth the trade-up on draft day, and that’s good.

 

  1. Masked Josh Jackson happened

Need I say more? That block is plastered all over every highlight page online. He stood over him and taunted him! He taunted the 2nd overall pick! Don’t elbow Josh Jackson in the face. He will kill you.

 

  1. The Diamondbacks scored 20 runs in a single game

That’s a franchise record. Wow. Alex Avila had 3 RBIs. That’s really all you need to know about that. He’s hitting .148 and he had THREE RBIs. The Padres are very bad.

 

Well, there you have it, folks. Arizona sports are saved and everyone can rejoice as Phoenix becomes a great sports city once again. (But, seriously, it was a good day. There’s a lot for the Suns to build on, and the Diamondbacks might finally get back into the groove they were in to start the season. I’m very happy about these results. Thank you for your time.)

MLB All Star teams, but determined by fWAR

I’m not saying I don’t like fan voting, I’m just saying it allows undeserving players to play in the All Star Game. Fan voting is how we ended up with a .222-hitting Jason Varitek in 2008, or Cal Ripken starting over Alex Rodriguez and/or Troy Glaus in 2001.

If the game were to truly showcase the best players in baseball, fWAR is a slightly better way of doing things.

For those of you who hate, or don’t know about advanced metrics, fWAR (Wins Above Replacement) is a measurement used by FanGraphs to approximately how many wins a player is worth — seeing if team more or less likely to win with or without a specific player in a game.

I totally copy-pasted that from my article on Chris Davis. Hopefully nobody sues me for plagiarizing myself. That’s actually a thing. It happened to John Fogerty.

Anyway, here are the current starting lineups for the 2018 All Star Game.

National League

Position Player fWAR
1B Freddie Freeman 3.4
2B Ozzie Albies 2.9
3B Nolan Arenado 3.4
SS Brandon Crawford 2.8
OF Nick Markakis 2.3
OF Matt Kemp 1.7
OF Bryce Harper 1.3
C Buster Posey 1.7

American League

Position Player fWAR
1B José Abreu 0.6
2B Jose Altuve 3.7
3B Jose Ramírez 5.5
SS Manny Machado 2.9
OF Mookie Betts 5
OF Mike Trout 6.3
OF Aaron Judge 4.2
C Wilson Ramos 1.2
DH JD Martinez 3

Now here’s what the teams should look like.

National League

Position Player fWAR Difference
1B Freddie Freeman 3.4 0
2B Genett/Albies/Baez 2.9 0
3B Nolan Arenado 3.4 0
SS Trea Turner 2.9 0.1
OF Lorenzo Cain 3.4 1.1
OF Brandon Nimmo 2.5 0.8
OF Kyle Schwarber 2.4 1.4
C JT Realmuto 3.2 1.5

American League

Position Player fWAR Difference
1B Matt Olson 1.6 1
2B Jose Altuve 3.7 0
3B Jose Ramírez 5.5 0
SS Francisco Lindor 4.8 1.9
OF Mookie Betts 5 0
OF Mike Trout 6.3 0
OF Aaron Judge 4.2 0
C Max Stassi 1.3 0.1
DH JD Martinez 3 0

The American League is more accurate, as 6 of the 9 (nice) voted players also have the top fWAR at their positions. That’s actually not too terrible. The NL could use some work though. Six of those 9 (nice) do NOT lead their position in fWAR.

Honestly, I don’t see a need to change too much. I just thought this would be a fun comparison.

Three MLB vets who have certainly pitched their way to their first All-Star Games

It took six seasons for three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer to make an All-Star team. Clayton Kershaw, 2014 NL MVP and three-time Cy Young winner, finally made the NL All-Stars in his fourth season. Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan pitched for five years before earning a spot in the “Mid-Summer Classic.”

It takes time for even the greatest pitchers to develop into All-Stars. James Paxton, Trevor Bauer and Mike Foltynewicz are MLB veterans who have surged this season, and should be in good shape to pitch in their first All-Star Games in July.

James Paxton, LHP Seattle Mariners

James Paxton threw the sixth no-hitter in Seattle history on May 8. From that game forward, the lefty has been tremendous. He is 5-0 with an ERA of 2.15 in that span. But, things didn’t always look so agreeable for the Seattle ace.

Paxton debuted in September of 2013. In four starts, he went 3-0 with a 1.50 ERA that season and a lot of excitement surrounded his development. But, injuries derailed his career for a time. They held him to just 13 starts each in 2014 and 2015.

Afterwards, he struggled getting back to form in Spring Training 2016, and he was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma to begin in the season. He was brought back up after 11 starts and finished the year with a respectable 3.79 ERA and 8.7 strikeouts-per-nine innings in the majors.

After a healthy 2016, he had his best season yet in 2017. He posted a 2.98 ERA and career bests in WHIP (1.103) and FIP (2.61). A short DL stint in May and a tough month of June most likely kept him out of the All-Star Game, but he responded well with a dominant July. Through 39.1 innings that month, he struck out 46 hitters, gave up just six runs and went 6-0. He won 2017 AL July Pitcher of the Month.

This season, Paxton has been dynamic once again. He is one of just three pitchers at this point with multiple complete games as of June 12. He has the ninth highest WAR out of Major League pitchers, behind seven past All-Stars and Aaron Nola. He is striking out batters at a career-best rate, 11.2 per-nine. That is the eighth best in baseball.

Also, despite losing their top hitter (Robinson Cano) to an 80-game suspension and being in a division with the defending champion Houston Astros, the Mariners are thriving. At 43-24, they have the third-best record in baseball. A lot of their success can be accredited to Paxton’s performance, as Seattle is 9-3 over his last 12 starts.

Trevor Bauer, RHP Cleveland Indians 

From the time Trevor Bauer was drafted, expectations were high. This resulted from his three fruitful seasons at UCLA, where Bauer racked up awards such as 2009 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, 2011 First-Team College All-American, 2011 Pac-10 Conference Pitcher of the Year and 2011 NCAA National Pitcher of the Year.

The Arizona Diamondbacks selected him third overall in the 2011 MLB Draft. In June 2012, he was called up at just 21-years-old, and he stumbled out of the gate. In his first four starts, he gave up 11 runs and walked 13 hitters through 16.1 innings.

Fast forward to December of 2012, Bauer was shipped to Cleveland as part of a three-team deal between the Diamondbacks, Indians and Reds.

As a member of the Indians, Bauer was given a regular rotation spot in 2014. From 2014 through 2017, Bauer never lived up to the potential that was seen at UCLA. He never had an ERA under 4.18 and he had control issues. He led the league in walks in 2015 and followed that up by walking the seventh most batters in 2016.

Also, during his first three full campaigns in Cleveland, he never finished a season well. ERA-wise, September was his worst month in all three of those years.

But, last season, the opposite effect occurred. Despite having a less than rousing first-half of the season with a 5.24 ERA heading into the All-Star Break, he broke out with the best span of his career to end the year. He went 10-1 over his final 14 starts with an ERA of 2.60. His walks diminished and his strikeout rate rose to the sixth best in the league.

This season, he has performed even better than how he finished last year. His strikeout rate is the highest of his career (and once again the sixth-best in the league), while his walks rate is his personal lowest. His ERA is the fifth-lowest in the AL at 2.62. Also, his swing-and-miss rate is the highest of his career and his fastball average speed is faster than it has ever been, college or pros. He has allowed two or less runs in nine of his 13 starts.

Mike Foltynewicz, RHP Atlanta Braves

Mike Foltynewicz was the nineteenth pick by Houston in the 2010 MLB Draft. He was selected out of high school, and didn’t debut until 2014, but he got hammered by opposing hitters in Houston. He gave up 11 runs on 23 hits in just 18.2 innings.

He was shipped off to Atlanta during the following offseason, and has been a part of the starting rotation ever since. But, he has never had a season like this year.

“Folty” ranks third in the NL in ERA at 2.16, only behind Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer.  Prior to 2018, he never earned better than a 4.31 ERA.

Compared to his NL All-Star competition, he fares very well. He ranks in the top-10 in the National League in WAR for pitchers, strikeouts and strikeout rate, adjusted ERA+ and hits and homeruns per-nine.

Also, Foltynewicz is gaining momentum at the right time. The All-Star Game is about a month away, and the Braves’ big righty is going through a dominant stretch. Over his last seven starts, he has thrown 42 innings and given up four runs.

In this period, he pitched a complete game shutout of the division rival Washington Nationals, a game of which he struck out 11 hitters. It was the second time in that span where he sent down double-digit batters on strikes.

Paul Goldschmidt is Finally Good Again, and That’s Good

My fellow Sideline Intel writer and somber Orioles fan Ryan Sharp wrote about Orioles first baseman Chris Davis having a historically bad year. He’s at a -1.8 in fWAR (Wins Above Replacement). He’s hitting .153, and he’s only got four home runs on the season. That’s bad. I’m really sorry Ryan has to watch that. Chris Davis is usually very good, and this year, he has been very bad.

On the other side of the country, Diamondbacks first baseman Paul “Goldie” Goldschmidt has, up until the last couple of weeks, had a pretty bad year too.

His last at bat of the 2017 season was the last at bat of the Diamondbacks season, where he struck out swinging at a bad pitch out of the strike zone against the Dodgers in Game 3 of the NLDS. That seemed to stick with him coming into 2018, as he started out barely swinging the bat at all. His shift to a reserved style saw him taking walks more often at the start of the year, but it didn’t do his team, his stats, or his fans any favors.

The month of May was absolutely awful for Goldschmidt, and it brought many to question if his Golden (ha) Years were behind him. He had 8 RBI in 27 games in May, 7 home runs on the year entering June, and was batting .209. It was an awful month for the whole Diamondbacks team as well. It started with their first series loss of the season against the Nationals, and snowballed into an 8-19 month with a series loss to the Mets. The Mets! When Goldie ain’t batting, ain’t nobody batting.

 

Fast forward to June. Goldie has, as of June 10th, increased his batting average to .254, has 10 RBI, hit 2 home runs in 2 straight games, and led the DBacks to win 7 of their last 9 games and reclaim the division title from the Colorado Rockies, whom they outscored by a total of 15 runs in this week’s series. It seems like Goldie’s energy radiates through the entire team. As he’s continued to hit well, guys like Ketel Marte (who had 10 straight extra base hits!), John Ryan Murphy, and even Chris Owings have contributed at the plate lately.

Special shoutout to utility-infielder-turned-slugger Daniel Descalso. I see you, Daniel. You’re putting in work. Keep it up. (.261/.360/.510 is absolutely incredible for him, his .510 slugging percentage is .086 higher than his career average, which was in 2016.)

The Diamondbacks also added outfielder Jon Jay, who has yet to break the seal on his first hit despite hitting .307 upon being traded to the team. Once his bat fires up, Pollock gets healthy, and the pitching staff heals, the Diamondbacks look to be a series threat in the National League. But, there’s still 99 games of baseball left to be played, and a lot of uncertainty down that stretch of time.

All we can say for certain is this: Paul Goldschmidt is good again, and that’s really really good. Hopefully he has time to make a very late All-Star bid and join AJ Pollock in Washington, D.C.

Writer’s Note: As basketball starts to hit a slow point, you’re all gonna see some more MLB content coming from me this summer! But don’t worry, the Suns still do things, and I’m going to let you know about every single one of them.

 

Chris Davis isn’t good, and that’s bad

Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis is having an historically bad year.

In a time when hyperbole is everywhere, this unfortunately is not.

Davis is literally on pace to have the worst season by any player ever.

For those of you who hate, or don’t know about advanced metrics, fWAR (Wins Above Replacement) is a measurement used by FanGraphs to approximately how many wins a player is worth — seeing if team more or less likely to win with or without a specific player in a game.

Davis’s fWAR is currently -1.8. The next worst is -1.2, held by Cleveland Indians pitcher Josh Tomlin. Ian Desmond is the second-worst first baseman with an fWAR -0.9.

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Davis is currently slashing .153/.232/.233. We’re used to seeing a low average and a lot of strikeouts by Davis, but his home run and RBI totals made up for that.

So far in 2018, the two-time former league leader has four homers. That puts him on pace for around 15 this season. The 30 combined homers he’s hit since the start of the 2017 season hasn’t yet matched his 2016 total of 38.

 

There was hope for Davis entering this season. He said he’d been working extra hard to reduce strikeouts and increase contact in the offseason. Apparently, that extra work didn’t happen, according to Hall of Fame pitcher and MASN analyst Jim Palmer, who laid into Davis last month.

If the Orioles’ hitting coach says it didn’t happen, it probably didn’t.

If Davis did try to adjust after Palmer’s comments, it hasn’t created results.

Perhaps the worst part of this situation, is the the Orioles are paying Davis $23M per year through 2022 to drastically underperform. On top of that — he’s still regularly in the lineup, playing in 56 of Baltimore’s 64 games so far.

The contract makes him un-tradable, but it’s not like any team wants him at this point.

It has to be tough on a front office to bench or demote a guy being paid that much. It’s probably even tougher to bench a guy who propelled your offense for four years.

But the Red Sox were in a similar situation with Pablo Sandoval a few years back. They sucked it up and designated him for assignment. It was the right thing to do.

Some time in AAA might not hurt either.

Baltimore’s front office is just as flawed as Davis, though. It’s afraid to commit to a rebuild, or even give younger guys some time in the big leagues.

Personally, I feel bad for Davis. It seems like his struggles started by no fault of his own, but then he did nothing to fix anything, so I don’t feel too bad. It would be great if he turns things around.

Of course, my opinion means nothing, so it looks like the Orioles are just gonna keep losing with no plan on how to win. Love it.

Manny Machado to Arizona makes a lot of sense

Manny Machado could be the biggest name moved during the 2018 season.

 

The Baltimore shortstop has gotten off to the best start of his career. As of June 2, his 17 home runs are just one behind the league lead. His OPS is also fifth best at his career high 1.024.

 

The Baltimore Orioles, besides their three-time All-Star, have been disastrous thus far. They are already 21.5 games back in their division with a 17-40 record, the worst in the MLB.

 

Machado is an upcoming free agent, and he can most likely get his desired salary in a place where he can compete for the postseason somewhere else.

 

That said, Baltimore trading him sooner rather than later for young assets seems to be the most logical action.

 

There is a plethora of teams that are looking to load up for a playoff run. Machado’s ability to play shortstop and third base makes him versatile enough for more teams to fit him into their lineups.

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Plus, his expiring contract will make it so the Orioles will have to compromise as many teams surly will not be willing to deflate their farm systems for a possible rental.

 

One team that could possibly be a good fit for him could be the Arizona Diamondbacks.

 

Heading into June, Arizona is 1.5 games back of NL West leading Colorado, and hitting has been a massive struggle in 2018 for the DBacks.

 

Arizona has scored the second fewest runs in the league and are dead last in team batting average.

 

To make matters worse, their best hitter this season, A.J. Pollock, is on the DL for breaking his thumb.

 

Inexplicably, former five-time All-Star Paul Goldschmidt has had a horrendous 2018 thus far, batting just .209 with seven home runs in 54 games.

 

Third baseman Jake Lamb and outfielder Steven Souza Jr. (30 home runs each in 2017) have battled with injuries all season long. They have played in just 15 and 14 games respectively.

 

Nick Ahmed and Ketel Marte have spent the most time at shortstop, but combined the two infielders are batting under .210.

 

Yet despite these offensive problems, the Diamondbacks are still above .500 and near the top of the NL West. Adding Machado could lead to a powerful lineup if the team can get healthy and Goldschmidt snaps out of his season-long funk.

 

Arizona made a similar move last season when they traded three prospects for former Detroit slugger JD Martinez. With his offensive dominance, the DBacks scored the fourth most runs in the NL and made it to the NLDS before falling to Los Angeles.

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Baltimore desperately needs pitching for the future, so a higher end pitching prospect like Taylor Widener (2.74 ERA with 70 strikeouts in 49.1 innings in Double-A this year) and a couple of mid-level prospects could do the trick to get Machado to the desert, and possibly make Arizona the team to beat in the NL West.

Despite their worst start in history, the NL West could still belong to the Dodgers

The Los Angeles Dodgers started the 2018 season 16-26, which was the worst start in the franchise’s long history. They sit at 22-27 on May 24, but the defending NL West Champions could still have a favorable chance at winning the division.

There are eight teams in the National League with a record of at least three games above .500 after May 23’s games. None of those teams reside in the NL West, a division that has the defending NL champions and two 2017 playoff teams.

The Colorado Rockies lead the division with a 26-24 record, just 3.5 games better than Los Angeles.

For most of the young season, the Arizona Diamondbacks led the way. They even had their best start in history at 21-8, but they have gone 1-13 since May 9 and they dropped out of first place.

The Diamondbacks are third to last in runs in the MLB, and their best hitter in 2018, A.J. Pollock (1.001 OPS), could miss the next couple months with a broken thumb.

Five-time All-Star Paul Goldschmidt has gotten off to his worst start in the majors. His current .695 OPS is the lowest of his career by far and he is hitting an abysmal .145 over the past 15 games.

Colorado has somehow managed to stay above .500 despite a bottom ten scoring offense in the MLB and a pitching staff that ranks in the bottom ten in team ERA in the league. But they have struggled to string wins together and gain momentum.

Injuries have plagued the Dodgers’ start. Clayton Kershaw has been on the DL since May 5. Corey Seager will miss the remainder of the season. Pitchers Hyun-Jin Ryu and Rich Hill have both missed multiple starts.

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When healthy, the Dodger rotation can more than capably set the team up for a playoff spot. Kershaw will be back on top of the rotation in a couple of weeks according to MLB.com. Alex Wood and Kenta Maeda have had healthy starts and have pitched well recently. Rookie Walker Buehler has thrived thus far with a 2.38 ERA in his first six starts. He also has a WHIP under one.

LA’s leader in batting average in 2017, Justin Turner, was hit by a pitch in Spring Training and returned just nine games ago. In those games though, the Dodgers are 6-3.

However, with Seager’s production lost and 2017 Rookie of the Year Cody Bellinger hitting just .214 in the past 30 games, the assumption is that Los Angeles needs another bat to contend for the division.

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While another bat would be a big help, trading good young assets for a superstar talent like Manny Machado may not be necessary in winning the division.

So far, the Dodgers are the only team who rank in the upper half of the MLB in runs. Colorado, Arizona and San Diego all rank in the bottom six for team OPS in the league.

LA could certainly use another guy who can produce runs, but with next year’s free agency class being filled with top players like Machado and Bryce Harper, trading away valuable prospects may not be necessary to add a star player in the near future. A couple of quality but not overly expensive veterans should plug some holes in LA’s lineup, specifically in the infield where, besides Turner, the highest batting average is Bellinger’s .243.