What would Dodgers lineup look like if Yordan Alvarez was never traded?

Oct 27, 2022; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros designated hitter Yordan Alvarez (44) during World Series workouts at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 27, 2022; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros designated hitter Yordan Alvarez (44) during World Series workouts at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /

The die-hard Los Angeles Dodgers fans already know how big of a loss the team suffered when they traded Yordan Alvarez to the Houston Astros back in 2016. LA signed Alvarez on the international market and gave him a $2 million signing bonus, and then traded him a few weeks later for reliever Josh Fields.

The next year, the Astros beat the Dodgers in the World Series, but it had nothing to do with Alvarez, who didn’t make his MLB debut until 2019. The slugger winning Rookie of the Year that season just stung even more because it marked another L for the Dodgers when it came to the team’s dealings with Houston.

Though the Astros have yet to win another title since 2017, they’ve been to the ALCS every single time since then and have won the AL three times. Alvarez was a driving force in 2019, 2021 and 2022.

Alvarez is viewed more as a designated hitter because he’s not exactly a defensive stalwart (he’s played just 107 career MLB games in left field), but the Astros have made it work. They’ve sacrificed their defense in the outfield for the postseason in exchange for one of the most impactful bats still standing.

It’s hard to argue with that logic. Winning teams score runs; they don’t save a few every 5-10 games with superior defense over MVP-like offense. With or without the DH in the National League, the Dodgers would’ve found out a way to make it work after they discovered what they had in Alvarez.

What would the 2022 Dodgers lineup look like if they didn’t trade Yordan Alvarez?

So, let’s ask that dreaded hypothetical question above. LA has struggled mightily with their left-handed hitting over the last couple seasons, and it’s quite possible Alvarez would’ve been the difference-maker for them. In a perfect world, here’s what the Dodgers might’ve rolled with if they hadn’t made that 2016 trade:

  1. RF Mookie Betts
  2. SS Trea Turner
  3. 1B Freddie Freeman
  4. LF Yordan Alvarez
  5. C Will Smith
  6. DH Max Muncy
  7. 3B Justin Turner
  8. 2B Gavin Lux/Chris Taylor
  9. CF Cody Bellinger

Depending on what manager Dave Roberts wanted to do, he could shift around the outfield or cycle someone out of the DH spot. The last couple years, it wouldn’t have been crazy to see something like Alvarez at DH, Chris Taylor in left field and Max Muncy on the bench or Alvarez in left field, Trayce Thompson in center field and Cody Bellinger on the bench.

But that one above is probably the best iteration the Dodgers can put out to have them succeed offensively and defensively. Maybe they never trade for Trea Turner and instead prioritize Corey Seager in free agency.

Perhaps Andrew Friedman and Co. would’ve gotten creative with some trades or more difficult roster decisions. Maybe Belli is gone after 2021. Maybe Taylor isn’t extended. Perhaps Muncy isn’t extended in the middle of 2022 and Turner is more easily let go after 2022.

Maybe, as a result of some of this, they either beat the Nationals in 2019 or the Braves in 2021. Maybe they win more than 107 games in 2021 and beat out the Giants for the division and avoid a stressful wire-to-wire battle that needed to be settled in Game 162.

You see? The possibilities/scenarios are endless. Fields helped the Dodgers at that point in time, but Alvarez ended up being a horrific long-term loss that LA fans are reminded of much more frequently than they’d like.