Heading into the July 31 trade deadline this season, the Los Angeles Dodgers were expected to be one of the more active buyers on the market. The club was linked to a number of star players, including Felipe Vazquez, Noah Syndergaard, Shane Greene and Edwin Diaz.
Ultimately, the Dodgers’ front office did not make any big moves, only acquiring some smaller such as Adam Kolarek, Jedd Gyorko and Kristopher Negrón.
That did lead to eventually calling up both Lux and May, and while they were able to contribute down the stretch, it wasn’t enough as the Dodgers suffered a disappointing defeat to the Washington Nationals in the National League Division Series.
It’s easy to forget that these players are human beings, especially around the trade deadline when prospects are viewed more as “assets.”
Lux, who was drafted by the Dodgers in the first round in 2016 and had an outstanding 2019 season, offered another reminder of that when discussing the trade deadline this season.
“Oh man, I was pretty stressed out,” he said. “I was on the phone with my uncle — I think I called him four times that day — up until the deadline. Stress, a little anxiety. Obviously I wanted to stay a Dodger.
“I’ve come up with them so I wanted to play here at home as a Dodger. That was kind of my dream ever since I got drafted. It’s good they didn’t trade me so I get to be here. As soon as the deadline was over and I didn’t get traded, it was a big relief.”
When May didn’t get traded, he took that as a sign that the organization felt confident in him and allowed him to go out and perform.
“That’s a huge confidence boost. Knowing that they believe in me, trust in me, that they feel like I can get the job done, that’s a huge thing that I feel,” he said.
While not being moved at the deadline can lead to feeling more weight from expectations, Lux didn’t fall victim to that upon joining the Dodgers.
“Not necessarily pressure. It’s a good feeling when other teams want you or the Dodgers want to keep you, so not necessarily pressure,” he said. “I try to not think about pressure at all. It’s a good feeling to want to be wanted.”
The Dodgers have been one of the more active teams around the deadline the last few years, acquiring Rich Hill, Yu Darvish and Manny Machado. They didn’t make that big move this year though, so May found 2018 more difficult for himself.
“I feel like it was definitely more last year with the Manny Machado stuff. Last year it was kind of overwhelming, to be honest,” the rookie admitted.
“I had to pitch the day after, and I just ended up turning my phone off and was like, ‘If it happens, it happens. I’ll make a phone call back to somebody tomorrow.’ It didn’t, so I was very blessed.”
While they weren’t able to win the World Series in 2019, the future is still bright for the Dodgers with Lux, May and so many other talented young players still around.