Dodgers Take A Swing On Joey Gallo At Trade Deadline As Juan Soto Goes To Division Rival

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At Tuesday’s Major League Baseball trading deadline, the Los Angeles Dodgers traded for a big slugger, who is a two-time All-Star and Gold Glove outfielder.

But it wasn’t Juan Soto.

The Washington Nationals slugger went to the San Diego Padres in a monster deal that will shake up the National League for years to come. Dodger fans cheered “Future Dodger” at Soto when he was in the line-up for the Nationals and he amazed the crowd at Chavez Ravine winning the Home Run Derby.

The Padres traded multiple prospects for Soto and can immediately plug him into a franchise looking to matter.

In the meantime, the Dodgers took Joey Gallo off the New York Yankees’ hands. Gallo was a star with the Texas Rangers, but his bat collapsed in pinstripes. The Yankees gave him every chance to succeed, but Yankee fans turned on him and his play only got worse.

Gallo was batting .159 for the Yankees ranking dead last in the Major Leagues among players with 250 plate appearances.

Gallo looks like a flier for the Dodgers, who have the best record in baseball: 70-33 after Tuesday night. They could afford to take a chance, but are there challenges to come?

Can the Padres Catch the Dodgers?

Yes, they can. The Dodgers lead the Padres by 11.5 games, but each team still has approximately 60 games left in the regular season. That’s a lot of games. The Padres and Soto come to Dodger Stadium for a three-game set starting Friday.

That’s a good one.

The two teams meet six times in September, three at Dodger Stadium Sept. 2-4 and three more at Petco Park Sept. 27-29. Now, the Dodgers have had the Padres numbers for years, but Soto is a difference-maker in the line-up.

People always assume big leads in August mean a certain division title, but it’s not true. The Padres can make up a lot of games in the head-to-head meetings and if they get hot….

The good news though is with the new expanded MLB playoff format (three division winners plus three wild cards), the Dodgers and Padres will almost certainly get in no matter who wins the division.

Why Didn’t the Dodgers Get Soto?

I think lost in the Soto-mania was a problem the Dodgers couldn’t overcome, and that is the Nationals made a big trade with the Dodgers last season for Max Scherzer and Trea Turner. In return, the Nationals got four different prospects that they wanted from the Dodgers.

What I think happened is that the Nationals already got the prospects they wanted from the Dodgers. A year later, there was nothing new in the Dodgers farm system that the Nationals felt was worth the deal.

Almost like the Nats were like, “we know what you have, we already took it.” And so they moved over to the Padres where they could get their first choice of their prospects.

The other evidence that may prove this point is the other deals the Dodgers made before the Soto deal. The Dodgers dealt spot starter Mitch White to the Blue Jays for a couple of prospects and moved Garrett Cleavinger to Tampa Bay for 18-year-old German Tapia.

Did the Nationals tell the Dodgers, if you get us those guys, maybe we will trade you Soto? It’s possible. It seems to me the Dodgers were trying to boost their prospects.

It’s disappointing to Dodger fans, who wanted to see Soto in Dodger blue. Now they have to deal with him in the division for a while.

It’s All About the Get Back

It may not be about who the Dodgers got back in any of the trades, as much as the expectation is the team will start to welcome back multiple players who have been on the injured list.

It’s kind of amazing that the Dodgers have been so good this year without their real ‘A’ team all together at any point, but pitchers Dustin May and Walker Buehler are on track to return. May is coming off Tommy John surgery last May. Buehler could start throwing again later this month. Infielder Edwin Rios is expected to come back also. Justin Turner just went on the injured list, but his injury isn’t season-ending.

In the meantime, Dodger fans are getting their first look at Miguel Vargas, one of the franchise’s top prospects who was called up Tuesday after slugging 15 homers in Triple-A and batting .291.

The Dodgers are playing the long game here. Remember, they don’t give trophies for winning the Trade Deadline. The Dodgers are still the team to beat in the National League.