What did the Los Angeles Dodgers do to their club before the July 31 trade deadline ended? Novices would say they guaranteed a spot in the World Series. Real baseball fans know that’s a bunch of malarkey. When your team is 74 – 31 (the best record in major league baseball), do you need to “improve"?

That is what the front-runner thinks they did. The Dodgers picked up Yu Darvish from the Texas Rangers in exchange for minor league utility player Willie Calhoun, pitcher A.J. Alexy, and infielder Brendon Davis. Calhoun is considered a prospect who may see some time in the big leagues before the year is out.

Will he fit?

Darvish is 6-9 on the year with a 4.01 ERA and a very efficient 1.17 WHIP. Baseball Reference gives the Japanese pitcher a wins above replacement of 3, which is above average. Darvish’s career ERA is a miserable 3.42. He pitched for the American League in the All-Star game.

LA Times cheerleader Bill Plaschke is ready to nominate Dodger’s President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman and GM Farhan Zaidi for MVP after bringing in Darvish, reliever Tony Watson from the Pittsburgh Pirates for a couple of minor league players, and lefty reliever Tony Cingrani from the Reds.

Cingrani was shipped for minor league players Scott Van Slyke and Hendrik Clementina.

“The Dodgers won’t have to count on another superhuman effort by Clayton Kershaw, which has almost been taken for granted in recent years,” Plaschke opined. “Joined by Darvish, Alex Wood and Rich Hill in the postseason rotation, Kershaw will be spared from making starts on three-days’ rest.” Plaschke had better hope some of the Dodgers don’t believe in dancing with the one who brought you.

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Reality check

What is management really saying to these players who compiled the winningest record in baseball, other than you’re not good enough? The Dodgers already had the best pitching in MLB by far. LA is fifth in MLB in hitting, third in the National League. The Dodgers are the fourth best defense in the majors. But that isn't good enough.

Kenda Meada is only 10-4 with a save. His ERA is a whopping 3.79. Meada can work out of the bullpen. The club might need a long man or spot starter. His WAR is only 1.

Meada pitched poorly in three starts in last year's NL playoffs, but Kershaw, Hill, and closer Kenley Jensen also had a bad series against the Washington Nationals in the first round in 2016. Let’s see how well the benching of Meada sells in the clubhouse.

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