Miami Marlins Series Preview: Los Angeles Dodgers Visit Miami

2 of 3

Jun 19, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Howie Kendrick (47) is high five by shortstop Jimmy Rollins (11) after scoring against the San Francisco Giants on a single RBI by catcher Yasmani Grandal (not pictured) during the second inning at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Marlin Maniac: Almost half way through the season, how would you grade the Dodgers off-season moves, particularly the Marlins trade?

Stacie Wheeler: While some of the many off-season moves made by the new Dodgers front office have been to my liking, there have also been a couple that I think have not worked out well. While I was sad to see Matt Kemp go to San Diego, I feel that acquiring a solid catcher like Yasmani Grandal was incredibly important for this team. The Brandon McCarthy signing was a disaster, and bullpen additions Joel Peralta and Chris Hatcher have not panned out so far for the Dodgers. As far as the trade with Miami, I have mixed feelings.

On one hand, I was disappointed to lose Dee Gordon. Gordon had worked so hard to not only improve and reinvent himself for the 2014 season. He is such a dynamic and fun player to watch. I’ve met Gordon, and I have watched him prepare in Spring Training before the 2014 season for his transition from shortstop to second base. I still feel that the Dodgers lack that spark at the top of the lineup and on the base path which Gordon can bring.

That being said, the return for Gordon was really great. The Dodgers flipped Andrew Heaney to get Howie Kendrick who has been super for the Dodgers. Enrique Hernandez is starting in center field for the Dodgers on Thursday, and Hernandez has been a solid utility player. Hatcher has had some struggles, but Austin Barnes could very well catch alongside Grandal next season for the Dodgers.

MM: Dodgers are 40-33 and are a game up on the Giants in the NL West. Is this the start you guys envisioned for the Dodgers or is there another gear this team can get to?

SW: The Dodgers were in high gear to start the season off, but they have since began to struggle offensively at times. While I cannot complain too much about a first place team, there is a lot more potential in this group of players. The flurry of injuries have also hindered the club from succeeding at a higher level as well especially with the loss of McCarthy and Ryu so early in the season.

MM: Obviously the Dodgers are going to be buyers at the trade deadline. Who do you see the team targeting? Pitching help? Will Greinke’s opt out be in mind in any trade made?

More from Marlin Maniac

SW: The Dodgers will have to acquire another pitcher at some point. They have been lucky to get some solid starts from Mike Bolsinger and Carlos Frias after Brandon McCarthy and Hyun-jin Ryu succumbed to surgery, but in order to compete with the Cardinals, Giants or Nationals they will need to bolster their rotation.

While I would love to see the Dodgers acquire a Cole Hamels or a Cueto, I wouldn’t be willing to part with any top prospects if I were Andrew Friedman. It’s also very hard to predict what this front office can or will do, but I do see them making a move to get another frontline starter.

Of course they consider Zack Greinke’s situation when considering potential trades, and I really do hope that they will extend Greinke. The problem is that Greinke could be vying for a Cy Young this season, so extending him keeps becoming more expensive.

You’ve seen that this year with Carlos Martinez stepping up in a big way, as well as Kolten Wong and Randal Grichuk emerging as legitimate big league players for the first time.

MM: With Joc Pederson a heavy favorite to win Rookie of the Year, when do you expect to see Olivera and Seager reach the big leagues? Will it be this season? What about Urias?

SW: Hector Olivera is rehabbing in Arizona with a hamstring strain at the moment, but I see him being called up soon when healthy. He still needs to build up endurance after not playing baseball for a lengthy time. Julio Urias could make his Dodger debut at some point in 2016, but the Dodgers are not going to rush him. Urias just underwent cosmetic eye surgery and recovering. As far as Seager, I think the Dodgers should call him up now. With Jimmy Rollins struggling at the plate this season, it has become more and more frustrating to hear about Seager hitting bombs in the minors. The latest I see Seager making his debut is September first, but I would be ecstatic to see him earlier.

MM: The MLB draft was earlier this month. How do you think the Dodgers fared?

SW:I think the Dodgers fared very well in the Draft this year. With the conclusion of the College World Series, we should see who will be signed or not. The Dodgers had two of their top picks competing in the College World Series. Walker Buehler started for Vanderbilt and second-rounder Josh Sborz was named Outstanding Player of the NCAA tournament.

Dodgers Director of Amateur Scouting Billy Gasparino opted to draft more polished college pitchers rather than selecting high school prospects, and Buehler and Funkhouser could impact the Dodgers as early as next season. Third round pick Philip Pfeifer lost on Tuesday in the CWS. The Dodgers drafted 25 pitchers out of their overall 42 selections.

Next: Pitching Matchups and Predictions