Dodgers again defer to process at trade deadline rather than acquire a starter

Andrew Friedman didn't make a major trade despite the Dodgers' need for another starting pitcher. <span class=(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)” src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNTtoPTQzOC45NDY0Mjg1NzE0Mjg1Ng–/″ data-src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNTtoPTQzOC45NDY0Mjg1NzE0Mjg1Ng–/″/>
Andrew Friedman didn’t make a major trade despite the Dodgers’ need for another starting pitcher. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Anyone who expected the Dodgers to improve their roster before the trade deadline hasn’t paid attention.

In a season in which a shameless cash grab by Major League Baseball bastardized an already questionable postseason format, there was virtually no chance the Dodgers would solve a short-term problem by trading coveted prospects.

There’s an extra round of playoff games this year, with the first round now a three-game series.

However, if the increased chance of something freakish happening in October dissuaded the Dodgers from adding a starting pitcher, it was also a reason to do what the San Diego Padres did.

The Padres made five trades in the two days leading up to the deadline, the most notable of them for frontline starter Mike Clevinger.

To acquire nine players, the Padres gave up 15, including some of their top prospects.

October will decide which approach was right, the Dodgers’ or the Padres’. This is a results-oriented business, after all.

In recent years, many front offices talked about the importance of remaining process-oriented, a neat carnival trick to skirt responsibility when a season ends without a championship.

That isn’t to say processes aren’t important.

The Dodgers have won seven consecutive division championships. They have a balanced roster and well-stocked farm system that ensures they will remain competitive in future seasons. They owe that to their philosophy.

And they appeared to double down on that philosophy by sending reliable pitcher Ross Stripling to the Toronto Blue Jays for two players to be named later, a move that weakens them now but could strengthen them down the road.

But trophies aren’t awarded to teams with the best processes. Cities don’t stage parades for teams with the best processes.

The value of a process is determined by the number of championships it wins. And so far, Andrew Friedman’s approach hasn’t delivered any.

Friedman’s restraint is the primary reason why the Dodgers contend every season. He has avoided compromising the future to win now. But if they don’t ever win, every instance he refused to push his chips into the middle of the table will be viewed in hindsight as a lost opportunity.

Take this season.

Friedman made a bold move before spring training by trading for Mookie Betts, doing what was possible to ensure the offense wouldn’t disappear in October again.

The question is whether the Dodgers have the pitching to win a World Series, particularly at the top of their rotation. They have Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw and … who else? Dustin May? Tony Gonsolin? Julio Urias?

October will be their judge.

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