Dodgers IF/OF Mookie Betts is among the team's injured stars

Getty Dodgers IF/OF Mookie Betts is among the team’s injured stars

For the Los Angeles Dodgers, most of June has been a dream month. They have come out of Memorial Day with 15 wins in 24 games, enough to push their lead in the NL West from 5.5 games to as many as 9.0 games in just a few short weeks. No division leader in MLB has quite the comfort that the Dodgers have here in late June.

Ah, but the Dodgers have also had some nightmare scenarios here in June, too, as a spate of injuries to some of the team’s top players have dinged any sense of L.A. becoming a dominant force in the NL. Though the Padres and Giants have both scuffled in recent weeks, there is also a sense that both will pull their acts together and perhaps add help at the trade deadline next month.

As good as things look now, then, the injuries have added urgency around the Dodgers to bolster this group.

But analyst John Smoltz, a 21-year veteran Hall of Fame pitcher and color commentator for Fox Sports, has a warning for the Dodgers: Don’t panic at the trade deadline.

John Smoltz: ‘They Can Be Patient’

Here’s what Smoltz told about the deadline situation in L.A.: “I don’t think they have to be desperate. I think they’re gonna win the division, obviously, unless somebody really gets hot in the NL West. They have that going for them, and they can be patient and kind of cherry-pick. But if they do show desperation and really go after pieces that alter their future with some of the prospects they have, I just think it’s going to be a wait-and-see scenario. I think they’re good enough with their roster to win the division easily.”

The good news, too, for the Dodgers is they figure to get their roster mostly back intact in time for the stretch run. The injuries are daunting, but not season-crushing:

  • Star infielder/outfielder Mookie Betts has a wrist injury that is likely to keep hm out for two months.
  • Pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto has a shoulder injury, but has no timeline to return yet. It’s likely he will miss two months.
  • Pitcher Walker Buehler, who has struggled has he returns from his second Tommy John surgery, is on the disabled list now with a hip injury.
  • Third baseman Max Muncy, out since May, has an oblique injury that will keep him out past the All-Star break.
  • Pitcher Clayton Kershaw has not pitched this season as he recovers from shoulder surgery, and had a setback this week after experiencing soreness following his first rehab start.

It’s a tough list, of course, and the Dodgers have both the incentive and the prospect depth to make a move to address the bumps and bruises. But Smoltz was clear: They do not need to do so.

Dodgers’ Regular-Season Records Have Been Unimportant

The Dodgers could value having one of the best record in the league, but as the recent run of postseasons shows, that has little bearing on how the playoffs will shake out. You can’t win a championship in the regular season. After all, the Dodgers have won 100-plus games in each of the past three years and failed to reach the World Series thereafter.

“Now, I don’t know how important having one of those two best records is to them. But they’re in a great spot, despite some of the bad injuries …” Smoltz said. “It’s kind of a hold, hold, hold, and then cherry-pick a player when one of those teams falls off.”

The Dodgers will have options on the trade market. Heck, they have options now. But they do not need to use them—certainly not yet.

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