The Dodgers are built to survive the absences of Mookie Betts and Yoshinobu Yamamoto

L.A. has the depth to get by without two of its stars, but even so, expect the front office to look for a big addition at the trade deadline

The Dodgers will be without two of their most important players for the foreseeable future. Los Angeles lost shortstop Mookie Betts and right-hander Yoshinobu Yamamoto in Sunday’s victory over the Royals. Yamamoto left the game in the fourth inning and was diagnosed with a strained right rotator cuff. Betts was hit in the hand by a 98 mph fastball in the seventh inning, fracturing his left hand.

While neither injury is considered to be season-ending, the Dodgers will be forced to weather a period of weeks or even months without their $325 million rookie and their $365 million shortstop.

A majority of teams around baseball would be in panic mode if one of their superstar talents went down due to an injury, let alone two. But the Dodgers aren’t one of those teams, and they don’t need to panic even after the losses of Betts and Yamamoto.

Betts might be the Dodgers’ best player, but their offense is an embarrassment of riches even without him, featuring three combined MVP awards between Shohei Ohtani and Freddie Freeman. That’s not to mention perennial All-Star Will Smith, who might be the best catcher in baseball. All three of them should be able to carry this offense in Betts’ absence. Ohtani and Freeman have started to heat up in recent weeks, with Ohtani homering four times in the past week and Freeman carrying a .962 OPS in his past 30 games.

Ohtani and Freeman have shown throughout their careers that they have the power to carry a team for months at a time. But in L.A., neither has to do it alone. Smith and outfielder Teoscar Hernández, who is experiencing a resurgence in his first season in L.A., also have the ability to play bigger roles in the team’s run production. With Betts out, expect to see Hernández bat higher in the lineup.

As for the pitching, Yamamoto was thriving on the mound prior to his shoulder injury. After a rough start to his MLB career against the Padres in South Korea, in which he allowed five runs in one inning, he had pitched to a 2.34 ERA in 13 starts. While the Dodgers’ rotation doesn’t have the same firepower as the lineup, there are solutions available as they look to cover the loss of the rookie right-hander.

Righty Tyler Glasnow has been everything the Dodgers could want in an ace in the first half. He has taken the ball every fifth day, dominated and given L.A. a glimpse of just how good he can be when healthy, leading MLB in strikeouts. But Glasnow isn’t the only Dodger pitching like an ace.

Rookie right-hander Gavin Stone has turned into one of the best starters in the National League in the first half; over his past seven starts, he’s 5-1 with a 2.27 ERA. Stone wasn’t supposed to be a big part of the team’s rotation plan, but his performance should give the Dodgers reason to believe in what he has become.

Walker Buehler has shown flashes in his return from his second Tommy John surgery, and right-hander Bobby Miller, who was the team’s best starter last season, will return from a two-month absence due to shoulder inflammation later this week. Down the road, longtime Dodgers southpaw Clayton Kershaw, who is still rehabbing from left-shoulder surgery, could make a handful of starts in the second half.

The Dodgers, who are 45-29 with an 8.5-game lead in the NL West, should have more than enough to sustain themselves while they wait for Betts and Yamamoto to return, but one thing we can count on when it comes to Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman is that there will be no stone left unturned in the attempt to improve the team. The trade deadline is six weeks away, and you can guarantee that the Dodgers are busy working the phones.

Veteran infielder Miguel Rojas will man shortstop until Betts’ return. In the meantime, the Dodgers will likely look to make improvements to their infield, especially with the lack of production from Gavin Lux (.544 OPS) at second base.

Realistically, Yamamoto is the more concerning of the two injuries, as shoulders can be tricky and often take a significant amount of time to heal. There are still almost four months before the postseason, but it would behoove the Dodgers to scout the starter market, with pitchers such as the Tigers’ Jack Flaherty, the Angels’ Tyler Anderson or even the White Sox’s Garrett Crochet potentially available via trade.

The injuries to Betts and Yamamoto mark the first real turbulence the Dodgers have faced on the field since they put their star-studded roster together over the winter. But the team’s willingness to make splashy moves is what gave L.A. a roster capable of withstanding two injuries that might break another team. And with the front office’s pedigree of making impactful additions, there’s no doubt that another significant move is on the horizon.