Dodgers’ Revisionist History: 2018-19 Offseason Reimagined
Never Complete the Puig/Wood Blockbuster
It still stings a little every time I think about this trade. Ever since these rumors surfaced, I was against the prospect of trading either of these players for any return less than an MLB ready stud that would more successfully fill a hole than these two.
Here’s why I thought Wood should be kept around a month ago:
"It’s funny for me to think about how quickly fans of successful franchises, like us Dodger fans, can turn on former All-Stars and playoff studs like Alex Wood. In 2017, Alex Wood was coupled with Kershaw and Rich Hill in a deadly trio of lefties. Wood finished off the 2017 campaign with a sparkling final line of 16-3 with a 2.73 ERA and 151 punch outs in 152.1 innings. In another 150+ inning season this year, Wood finished with a 3.68 ERA and 9-7 record, with just 135 strikeouts. Yes, I will concede that he was worse this season, but he still was an above-average major league starter, and he’s only 27!"
Wood was a playoff pitcher in 2017 and despite his struggles in 2018, he was an innings eater in a league context devoid of innings eaters. Last season, just 78 starters in all of baseball reached the 150 innings mark. The Dodgers did not receive anyone or even clear room for anyone by trading Wood who is likely to pitch these innings more effectively than Wood. Stripling and Maeda are the most likely to do so, but neither is without injury risk.
The Puig portion of the trade hurt me even more. I grew to love Puig over the years as he put up good and bad seasons, not for his overall production, but for his entertaining plays and his clutch performances.
Like Wood, Puig’s spot in the lineup will be tough to replace, and while in house candidates do exist in Alex Verdugo and some combination of Andrew Toles and Chris Taylor, they do not contain the power potential or the defensive skill of Puig.
I think that if Puig accesses some of the extra power “Great American Smallpark” holds, he could reach and even surpass the 30 home run plateau. And if that happens, there will be plenty of frustrated Dodgers fans, especially if Verdugo does not perform.