Lucas Mullins’s analysis
NL team to Beat
The Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers are good teams that have had good seasons, but I still
think the team to beat is the 2017 NL Champion Los Angeles Dodgers. Despite being in the midst of a dead heat for their own division, the Dodgers have the pedigree of a championship-type team that is used to winning. The addition of superstar Manny Machado only adds to these expectations, even though the Dodgers are just 6-5 since he joined the team. In the LA clubhouse, not returning to the World Series—much less missing out on a division title—would be viewed as a disappointment.
Trade Deadline Winner:
The Dodgers may have won the Machado sweepstakes, but the Boston Red Sox won the trade
deadline. The addition of Ian Kinsler filled a void, but the trade for Nathan Eovaldi puts even more space between them and superteam division rival New York Yankees. The Yankees came away with Zach Britton, JA Happ, Lance Lynn but those additions will likely have less impact.
Despite good career numbers against Boston, Happ has battled ineffectiveness recently and put up a 5.87 ERA in July even with a 6 inning, 1 run Yankees debut. Britton has as much talent as any reliever in the game, but a bad injury history and mixed results in limited action since the start of 2017 combined with the fact that the Yankees already had a really good bullpen means this trade probably won’t have as much of an impact in the standings as it did in your news feed.
I’d give the Rockies a C/B-, depending on how things shape up. Seunghwan Oh helps solidify a
shaky bullpen and if he pitches well, this could also be a big move for the future, considering he isn’t a free agent until 2022. If Santiago Casilla joins the big league club and pitches anywhere near the way he did during his best years for the San Francisco Giants from 2010-2015, he would be another big piece in the bullpen, but today, he is just a question mark.
The extra-inning loss to the Cardinals last night once again showed the intense vulnerability of the Rockies’ bullpen, and with plenty of solid, underpriced relievers available, it’s a little mind-boggling why the Rockies didn’t do more. If the Rockies stay hot and beat out the Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks for the division, it will prove that they already had everything that they needed and had no reason to give up top prospects to get there. But if they get stuck in another Wild Card Game or worse, miss the playoffs entirely, 2018 will be perhaps the biggest
missed opportunity in franchise history.