Andrew Friedman dug himself into a hole, disappeared into the casket, and reemerged in grand fashion. After spending $13 million on Noah Syndergaard -- a move that proved to be once of the worst free agency decisions of the offseason -- Friedman and the Los Angeles Dodgers turned that disaster into a starting shortstop.
On Wednesday evening, the Dodgers traded Syndergaard to the Cleveland Guardians for Amed Rosario. Once upon a time expected to be a sought-after shortstop heading into free agency, Rosario fell off the map in 2023 and appeared to no longer be an asset.
But the veteran has rebounded tremendously over his last 45 games. He's hitting .300 with a .750 OPS across June and July after a terrible start to the year. He has 45 hits and 27 RBI over his recent stretch and looks to be a much more suitable, starting-caliber shortstop for a Dodgers team that badly needs one.
His defense, however, has been a major problem. He's been good for a -1.1 dWAR, ranks in the bottom 1st percentile in outs above average, and has been worth -15 Defensive Runs Saved.
Really not good. Either way, his presence is still exponentially more valuable than Syndergaard's after all he put the Dodgers through in the first half.
Dodgers trade Noah Syndergaard for Guardians shortstop Amed Rosario
Rosario is by no means a savior, but the fact the Dodgers were able to get anything of substance for Syndergaard makes this all the more exciting. The right-hander, who hasn't pitched since early June, is 1-4 with a 7.16 ERA, 5.54 FIP and 1.45 WHIP with 38 strikeouts in 12 starts (55.1 innings).
Even if Syndergaard was making a fraction of the money he's owed, he looked like a surefire sunk cost that, at best, could've maybe gotten a team to eat the rest of his contract in a much lesser deal.
Instead, the Dodgers offloaded a lost pitcher who was occupying a 40-man roster spot and found a better everyday shortstop option over Miguel Rojas (don't forget, Rosario can also play outfield if need be, so it's possible that's part of the Dodgers' plans).
Just like that, it's easy to forget the series loss to the Blue Jays, which was tough to swallow for many reasons. On the bright side, the Dodgers have already made two shrewd moves to improve their lineup from both an offensive and defensive perspective.
Now it's time to work on the pitching staff. If Friedman's work in acquiring Kiké Hernandez and Rosario tells us anything, it's that he's far from finished being creative in improving the rotation and bullpen.