Dodgers trade Yordan Alvarez for Josh Fields
When the Los Angeles Dodgers committed to Cuban outfielder Yordan Alvarez with a $2 million signing bonus, they thought a lot of his potential. That much is evidenced not only by the bonus but the fact that the team had to also pay a $2 million tax to match that bonus and forego any significant additions during the following international signing periods.
However, the team also had a few needs to fill when at the 2016 waiver trade deadline. The deal with Oakland brought some much-needed stability to the rotation. Likewise, the team struck a trade with the Houston Astros to shore up the relief corps when they acquired Josh Fields. To make a deal happen, they parted with Alvarez before he would ever play a single game in the organization.
Like the Hill acquisition, the Dodgers got immediate dividends from Fields. The right-hander would make 22 appearances out of the Dodgers bullpen over the final month-plus of the season, pitching to the tune of a 2.79 ERA, a 2.83 FIP, and a 10.2 K/9 ratio. He would spend two more seasons in Los Angeles, and ultimately go 8-2 with a 2.61 ERA, a 3.89 FIP, and an 8.8 K/9 mark.
While the Dodgers thought highly of Alvarez, the jury was still out on what type of prospect he would be. Known at the time for being a solid contact hitter, the young outfielder hadn’t grown into any power and scouts weren’t convinced how much he would tap into.
Three years later, Alvarez made his MLB debut for the Astros at 22-years-old, featuring primarily as a first baseman and playing in 87 games for the 2019 Houston team. All he did with his time was slash .313/.412/.655 with 27 home runs, 78 RBI, and a wRC+ of 178. He would also hit .412/.524/.588 with a home run and a pair of RBI for the ‘Stros during their World Series loss to the Nationals.
Now, the Dodgers couldn’t have known that Alvarez would develop into such a stud in his first season, especially without having him play at all in their system. But when you couple the loss of the prospect with the amount it cost to sign him, it hurts even more. The Dodgers’ spending spree during that signing period prevented them from signing any significant deals the following season, a class that included top-MLB prospect Wander Franco.