We're excited to continue our award-winning* "Beyond the Bay" series to kick off the week, and are honored to have Eric Stephen, the head honcho at SB Nation's Dodgers' blog True Blue LA, joining us to break down the Giants vs. Dodgers series.
As always, if you're interested in participating, know someone who would be a good fit or have a suggestion for questions to ask in the future, hit us up on Twitter @GiantsCove.
The Cove: This three-game series in San Francisco -- what's it mean for the Dodgers? (Read: Last shot at the division race, spite series, etc., etc.)
Eric Stephen, TrueBlueLA.com: At 11 games under .500 and 12.5 games back, the Dodgers are pretty much done. But still, this is a series against the Giants, so there's plenty to play for, even if it's just pride.
Cove: I'm of the opinion that it's stupid to exclude Matt Kemp from winning the MVP award based on whether or not the Dodgers post a winning record this year -- your thoughts?
ES: I agree. If Kemp has the best season in the National League, even if the Dodgers finish with a losing record, I think he should be MVP. I have no problem with any of the other candidates getting a boost for playing for a playoff team, but in no way should Kemp be excluded.
Cove: The Giants are mentioned in every single rumor floating out there that involves someone with a modicum of ability to produce offensive statistics at a decent rate (and with good reason). As someone who probably has the Giants worst interests in mind, would you rather them stand pat or make a move for a bat if it involved mortgaging the future?
ES: I will always root against the Giants, but I do expect them to win the division this year, and I wouldn't be surprised if they add a Met at the deadline. The courting of Carlos Beltran has been fairly overt -- I thought Brian Wilson should have been fined for tampering for his wooing of Beltran when announcing the lineups on Fox at the All-Star Game -- and Jose Reyes is an outside shot to end up in San Francisco as well.
Cove: Speaking of trades, would you be okay with making a deal with the Giants if it helped them make a push for the playoffs and got the Dodgers prospects? Or is that an absolute dealbreaker?
ES: I think refusing to trade with a team within your division is dumb, because it limits options. I'm OK with a deal that helps the Giants this year if it is a good long-term deal for the Dodgers.
Cove: It's borderline unfair how tough a year it's been for the Dodgers - is there a short- or long-term silver lining that really stands out to you?
ES: We'll find out this week, on Wednesday, from the bankruptcy court in Delaware, whether MLB or Frank McCourt's source gets to provide the financing during the Dodgers' bankruptcy. From the outside, it looks like MLB has the better and more favorable financing terms, but you never know. If MLB gets to provide financing, they get a larger modicum of control, and McCourt would be one step closer to being out.
Cove: All MLB rosters are cleared and everyone starts from scratch with a big fantasy-baseball-like draft. You're on the clock and have to pick an ace pitcher to build your team around. Your choices are Tim Lincecum and Clayton Kershaw: who ya got?
ES: There is no denying Lincecum's track record to date, as he has simply been an outstanding pitcher. But, for the next 5-10 years, I would take Kershaw, and I'd like to think I would say that even if I wasn't a Dodger fan.