If you don’t know Andrew Friedman’s stance on prospects by now, let me give you a quick rundown. He likes them, a lot. Whether it be a sure fire major leaguer or the last prospect in the org, Friedman has a soft spot for these potential major leaguers. Sometimes, he loves them so much he doesn’t want to part with them for a game-changing asset. His reluctance to part with prospects may be his biggest flaw or his best attribute, depending on whom you ask.
As the clock struck 1 PM on Monday afternoon, it seemed as if the day ended with the Dodgers acquiring Tony Watson and Tony Cingrani, which was very disappointing. Then Twitter blew up with the news of Yu Darvish getting shipped off to LA. Then came the hard part, who did the Dodgers give up? Buehler? Verdugo? That was the asking price coming up to the deadline at least, but when the haul turned out to be Willie Calhoun (4th), A.J Alexy(17th), and Brendon Davis (27th) Andrew Friedman once again looked like a genius.
One of the most fun parts of the deadline was the reaction of the media before the Darvish trade was announced. There were questions about whether the team would give up because the front office didn’t back them up. There were also questions of whether the Dodgers were really in it to win it this year. In the blink of an eyelash, news came out that Darvish got traded and the narrative changed to how great this team will be and what a steal they got.
For almost the past month, reports were that the Dodgers would need to give up one of their top 3 prospects (Buehler, Verdugo, Alvarez) to get a Darvish deal done. Friedman would not jump the gun early, especially considering he had all the leverage.
Friedman let the market play out, and as pitchers started coming off the board and teams stopped calling the Rangers, Friedman made sure to take advantage of the ticking clock. Friedman knew that the Rangers didn’t want to let Darvish walk for free, so he stood pat on his offer and was able to make a move right as the deadline came.
Two weeks ago, the Dodgers may have had to give up their top guys. Why not reach for the stars if you’re the Rangers? The worst the other teams can say is no. But, once the clock starts to wind down so does the asking price.
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It’s pretty crazy to think a team that is currently 75-32 is being criticized, but that’s sports for you. You see, since Friedman has taken over the front office, he has caught flak for not trading away Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger and Julio Urias, which seemed not very smart at the time. But, when your franchise hasn’t smelled the World Series since 1988, fans become impatient and will do anything to win.
Who knows, maybe Walker Buehler flames out or Alex Verdugo can’t adjust to big league pitching. Or they might even turn into a front line pitcher and a dangerous outfielder. That’s the fun thing about prospects, you never know, and that possibility is what Friedman loves.
Sure some guys don’t pan out, take a look at Jose De Leon for example. After getting dealt to Tampa, his career has gone downhill and has been plagued by injuries this season. At the time he was traded, De Leon was arguably the Dodgers 2nd best prospect, and Friedman found the best time to unload him.
Like I said the fun thing about prospects is there is uncertainty, and Andrew Friedman knows exactly how to evaluate them. If the Dodgers win this year, not only will they have won the title but have also protected their future, something all other 29 teams would kill to have. IF the Dodgers traded away their top guys and didn’t win it all, we are having a whole other discussion. Then there is the scenario of the Dodgers trading away their top guys and winning it all, which would be great for this year, but not so great for years ahead.
Andrew Friedman and the Dodgers front office are smarter than all of us. We know the Dodgers are a juggernaut this year, and that’s only because they didn’t swap Seager for Hamels or Bellinger for Sale. Prospects are a gamble, and that’s what makes baseball so great while also making it so frustrating. For every Corey and Cody, there is a Zach Lee and Chris Anderson.
The Dodgers are setup nicely for the present and the distant future. Go ahead and take a bow Andrew Friedman, you’ve done a tremendous job of building this team.