It wasn't the big name stars that everyone thought it would be, but the Los Angeles Dodgers quietly got better on Thursday ahead of the MLB trade deadline.
Rumors were rampant all week that the Dodgers could acquire huge names like Cole Hamels and David Price. However, it was the small moves made by the creative and ingenious brain trust that may make the difference for the Dodgers this postseason.
Word of a three-team trade between the Dodgers, Braves and Marlins spread on Wednesday as Los Angeles looked to improve their starting rotation and bullpen.
Originally, 12 separate players were named in the transaction, but by Thursday that number grew to 13, as players across three different states and time zones packed their bags and changed uniforms.
"To be honest, I don't even know if I can rattle off what we did yet," Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw said Thursday. "We did so many different things, I trust the guys upstairs, Farhan and Andrew are good at what they do, and I look forward to meeting the new guys tomorrow."
Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi were the orchestrators of the massive trade on Thursday, and despite the lack of marquee names like Hamels, Price, Carlos Gonzalez, Johnny Cueto, Troy Tulowitzki and more, the brain trust may have taken in the most impressive haul of all.
In case you're like Kershaw and you're not sure of all the moving parts in the equation, we're here to break it down for you:
The Dodgers received starting pitcher Mat Latos from the Miami Marlins, outfielder/first baseman Michael Morse and cash. They also received starting pitchers Alex Wood and Bronson Arroyo, relief pitchers Jim Johnson and Luis Avilan, and infielder Jose Peraza from the Braves.
The Marlins received minor league pitchers Jeff Brigham, Kevin Guzman and Victor Araujo from the Dodgers.
The Braves received highly touted Cuban third baseman Hector Olivera, relief pitcher Paco Rodriguez and minor league pitcher Zachary Bird from the Dodgers and two Competitive Balance Round A picks in the 2016 MLB draft.
Bottom line, the Dodgers got better.
Despite holding the top spot on the NL West, the Dodgers were in dire need of starting pitching and back end bullpen help.
Los Angeles has started 14 different pitchers this year, and desperately were searching for rotation help after Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke.
Latos and Wood will provide consistency and strength at the back end of the rotation. Most likely, Brett Anderson will stay slotted in as the Dodgers third starter with Latos and Wood following in that order. Mike Bolsinger and Carlos Frias will probably move to the bullpen whereas rookie Zach Lee, who made his first career start last weekend in New York, will probably be sent back to Triple-A.
Bolsinger and Frias have pitched well this season, but their biggest flaws have been their inability to go deep into games. Typically lasting five innings before the Dodgers need to call upon the bullpen. Latos and Wood can send you deep into games, thereby keeping your bullpen fresh and healthy for the playoffs.
Speaking of the bullpen, the Dodgers bolstered that area as well. Johnson and Avilan will make an immediate impact on a team that features one of the best closers in the game in Kenley Jansen. Johnson who was the incumbent closer in Atlanta after Jason Grili went down with injury, should move into a setup role with Avilan adding a left-handed situational arm to go with J.P. Howell.
These names may not pop out of the screen at you, but with Kershaw and Greinke keeping the Dodgers in first through the first 100 games of the season, LA's new names should be just the added ingredient to maintain it.