The Los Angeles Dodgers have the dual luxury of being an elite team with an elite farm system. It’s Andrew Friedman’s ethos. His code. And it’s why the Dodgers are able to swing massive, deadline shaking trades while surrendering the type of talent that would cripple other franchises.
But never them. That’s the point.
Will the prospects the Dodgers surrender in their quest for supremacy ever come back to “bite them”/perform well at their new place of business after being given a fresh opportunity? Absolutely. By design. But the Dodgers will always be on the receiving end of All-Stars who immediately push their championship hopes one notch higher when they join the roster.
And there’ll always be additional superstar talent in the team’s pipeline, which will either bear fruit on the big-league roster in LA or someone else’s a few years down the line. That’s the entire system … which is why it was especially tiresome to hear fans complaining about surrendering Josiah Gray and Keibert Ruiz during this week’s series against the Nationals, apparently upset only because Max Scherzer is no longer under contract.
Again, that was the entire gambit. And, in this specific instance, if you could find a place for Ruiz, Will Smith, and Diego Cartaya to all play in perfect harmony for the next decade, be our guest.
Phone up the front office. They’d be all ears.
Dodgers still did just fine in Trea Turner, Keibert Ruiz trade
In this beautiful game, you must give to get. Last summer, the Dodgers surrendered their No. 1 prospect, a catching prospect blocked by Smith (the game’s arguable best) and with the promising Cartaya coming up behind him, plus a projectable starter in exchange for a half-year of Scherzer and 1.5 years of Turner, an elite shortstop.
Scherzer is no longer in town — and that might not be such a bad thing, considering the dramatic way his Dodgers career ended and his Mets career started. Turner, meanwhile, is scalding the baseball yet again, posting a 119 OPS+ and 1.1 WAR through just under two months of the season. It’s unclear where he prefers to sow his free agent oats next winter, and unsubstantiated rumors claim he’d like to go back to the East Coast. In that case, he’ll be instrumental to one more World Series run in LA, minimum, while also whispering in Juan Soto’s ear.
Gray? Somewhat of an interloper in Los Angeles (remember, he was a Reds prospect first), the right-hander has struggled to find consistency thus far, striking out 51 batters in 46.1 innings alongside an inflated 5.44 ERA. Ruiz has starred at the age of 23 at a barren position, but has performed worse than a 27-year-old Smith, who’s locked down by the Dodgers through the 2025 season (encompassing his entire prime).
Smith’s OPS+ of 119 and 1.2 WAR currently outshine the ascendant Ruiz’s 115 and 0.9. The kid’s numbers are great! Smith’s numbers remain superior, and the hope is both will continue to progress at a similar rate, with Smith remaining slightly more valuable.
Even if not, it’s difficult to complain about the Dodgers’ catching depth chart. You can win without employing the best available player at every single position.
There may someday come a time when Turner departs, Ruiz exceeds Smith’s production, and Cartaya regresses. But that day is extremely conditional, and it is also not today.
There’s absolutely zero need for Dodgers fans to ever cry over spilled prospects, especially when there are always more in the pipeline.