Dodgers: Examining LAD’s recent MLB trade deadline history
The proverbial hot stove is heating up once again, with Nelson Cruz and ex-Dodgers lefty Rich Hill finding new homes to kick off trade season.
With the deadline fast approaching, I thought it fitting to take a look at some of the more notable deadline deals in recent Dodger history.
A Mountainous Move
Speaking of Rich Hill, the Dodgers acquired him (along with future Astros cheater and D-Backs relief legend Josh Reddick) from the A’s at the 2016 deadline for Frankie Montas, Grant Holmes, and Jharel Cotton.
In addition to becoming a fan favorite in LA, Hill was one of the most dominant lefties in the NL when healthy. The wily veteran compiled a 3.16 ERA and 10.6 K/9 during his Dodger tenure. On the flipside, Montas has blossomed into a talented but inconsistent starter in Oakland, while the other prospects have yet to carve out MLB roles.
Dodgers acquire Alex Wood in three-team deal
Though 13 players were moved in this trade from the 2015 deadline, only two remain on active big league rosters. Apart from Wood, the Dodgers also got Jose Peraza (the other active big leaguer), Mike Morse, Jim Johnson, Bronson Arroyo, Luis Avilan, and Mat Latos from the Braves and Marlins, while giving up Hector Olivera, Paco Rodriguez, and Zach Bird. Wood went on to become an All-Star in LA, and is now enjoying a resurgent season with the rival Giants.
Manny goes to Hollywood, Act One
I still vividly remember watching the coverage of this deal on TV. The Dodgers bolstered their lineup in a big way at the 2008 deadline, acquiring Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez in a three-team deal.
The former World Series MVP went on an absolute rampage upon coming to LA, hitting .396 with 17 homers and 53 RBI in just 53 games. Ramirez would finish fourth in NL MVP voting despite spending the majority of the season in Boston.
Unfortunately the Dodgers were eliminated from the playoffs in dramatic fashion that season, and the Mannywood era would be marked with drug suspensions and contract disputes.
Manny goes to Hollywood, Act Two
With Corey Seager going down with Tommy John surgery, the Dodgers looked for external help at shortstop at the 2018 deadline.
They got it in the form of a Manny Machado rental from the lowly Orioles, acquiring the superstar’s services in exchange for Yusniel Diaz, Dean Kremer, Rylan Bannon, Breyvic Valera, and Zach Pop.
Although he hit 13 homers in his brief Dodger tenure, Machado is best known for his questionable effort level and pitiful playoff performance, culminating in a World Series-ending strikeout. He now mans the hot corner in San Diego, and is frequently on the receiving end of resounding booing when the Padres come to Chavez Ravine.
Yu Really Got Me
The Dodgers were in the market for an ace at the 2017 deadline for their imminent playoff push, and they landed one in Yu Darvish in exchange for Willie Calhoun, A.J. Alexy, and Brandon Davis. Darvish hadn’t been having his best year, but brought a strong pedigree and electric stuff.
Though he was solid during the regular season, he’s best known among Dodger fans for his two World Series implosions against the Astros. Though there was illegal sign stealing involved, Darvish assumed responsibility for the Dodgers’ defeat. He, too, suits up for the rival Padres after returning to form with the Cubs.
Dodgers give up Yordan Alvarez
Ground control to major oof. This one certainly aged poorly, but you can’t really blame the Dodgers for going through with it at the time. The Dodgers were looking to bolster their bullpen at the 2016 deadline and they did exactly that, flipping outfield prospect Yordan Alvarez for Houston reliever Josh Fields.
Fields was effective in a predominantly low-leverage role with the Dodgers, posting a 2.61 ERA in 117.1 innings over parts of three seasons (although he ironically allowed a homer in his only World Series appearance against the Astros). Unfortunately for the Dodgers, Yordan Alvarez has developed into one of the premier left-handed bats in the American League. There’s always the risk of young players developing into superstars after they’re traded, and this was a prime example of that backfiring tremendously.
Dodgers trade Konerko
Another example of a prospect blossoming elsewhere, I’m using the term “recent memory” a bit liberally here, as the deal went down at the 1998 deadline. Tommy Lasorda’s GM tenure was brief, but he did swing this unfortunate trade. He traded rookie Paul Konerko along with Dennys Reyes to Cincinnati for shutdown reliever Jeff Shaw. Shaw remained the Dodger closer until 2004, but Konerko ended up being the best player in the deal by a considerable margin. Following another trade, he went on to write his name all over the White Sox record books, eclipsing the 400 home run plateau and serving as an integral part of their 2005 championship squad.
A-Gon comes to LA
Technically this trade was finalized after the trade deadline in 2013, but before the now non-existent “waiver trade deadline”. Formalities aside, this was a big one. The Dodgers received Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, and 2000s utility legend Nick Punto in exchange for James Loney, Ivan DeJesus Jr., Allen Webster, Jerry Sands, and Rubby De La Rosa. This trade essentially changed the course of the Dodgers roster in the 2010s.
Gonzalez became a mainstay at first base and enjoyed several productive seasons, and Josh Beckett threw the 21st no-hitter in Dodger history. Crawford had a good start to his Dodger career, but quickly became a contract liability, and Punto provided a few solid bench years and some memorable walk-off antics.
No one involved in this deal has done anything of note in affiliated ball in a while, but A-Gon has been playing one last comeback year in the Mexican League, and is representing Mexico at the Olympics in Tokyo.
As we approach this year’s trade deadline, look for the Dodgers to find a bullpen arm and potentially a big name starter with the current injuries to the rotation.
Hopefully, whatever moves they make will turn out better than giving Yordan Alvarez away for peanuts.