As hard as it may be to believe, a trip the DL for Clayton Kershaw could be a net positive for the Los Angeles Dodgers. The loss of the game’s best pitcher and possible National League MVP tells Los Angeles that if it wants to compete in 2016, aggressive trading will be necessary.
In reality, bold trade activity was always going to be necessary for the Dodgers. Los Angeles has really been a fledgling team all year. While the starting pitchers have posted solid numbers for Los Angeles, Kershaw has had a humongous hand in that.
Here's how much the Dodgers are going to miss Kershaw pic.twitter.com/34Njhzbdyw
— Sportsnaut (@Sportsnaut) June 30, 2016
For all of his brilliance, a healthy Kershaw will still only pitch once every five games. That .453 winning percentage in the other games was never going to get it done. Pitching help was always needed in Los Angeles. If anything, Kershaw’s injury should only encourage the front office to bring that help in.
At the same time, the Dodgers remain in decent position.
Los Angeles still sits atop the National League Wild Card race. The National League West leading San Francisco Giants are far from a perfect team. San Francisco has a rash of injuries, a shaky bullpen and its own pitching depth issues.
It won’t be easy to overcome a six-game deficit against the Giants, but that’s certainly not an insurmountable margin. Even if the Dodgers are forced to settle for a Wild Card spot, Kershaw’s presence in a winner-take-all game is a massive advantage.
How long Kershaw will be out for remains to be seen. Los Angeles hopes to get him back after the All-Star break. If that’s the case, expect Kershaw to miss 2-3 starts. Dave Roberts is unsure if Kershaw will be back after the minimum 15 days. That could mean just about anything.
If the Dodgers are smart, caution will be taken with Kershaw. The absolute worst thing for Los Angeles would be an injury that would keep the game’s best pitcher out for a long time.
If the Dodgers make moves to improve the pitching staff, then it will be easier to take caution with Kershaw.
The acquisition of Bud Norris was a step in the right direction. It just can’t be the only step that Los Angeles takes. Los Angeles has always needed to upgrade the starting rotation. Without Clayton Kershaw, there will be no more false positives.
Now more than ever, the starting pitching needs help.