When Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Will Smith was on the concussion injured list a few weeks ago, the offense greatly suffered, which resulted in the worst stretch of the team's season in the early going.
Since his return, the Dodgers are 10-1 in games he starts. He's hitting .325 with a 1.045 OPS and 177 OPS+. He's struck out just six times in 22 games while adding six homers, 19 RBI and 15 walks. Unbelievable production.
On the defensive side of the ball, he's already been worth a 0.3 dWAR and has been good for two Defensive Runs Saved. He's among the team leaders and has a tremendous rapport with the pitching staff.
Knowing all that information, it makes it even funnier there was even a shred of trade speculation surrounding Smith this offseason. Then, when there was some chatter about a potential contract extension for the 28-year-old slugger, some (including us!) thought that might eventually fuel a trade due to the presences of top prospects Diego Cartaya and Dalton Rushing.
The Dodgers had already downgraded enough! Why in the world would they jump the gun on Smith's team control (he's in LA through 2025)?
Dodgers-Will Smith offseason trade rumors were beyond silly, it turns out
Turns out, the "speculation" suggesting the Dodgers might be moving Smith was due to a weak free agent catching class. The logic was that LA would capitalize by trading Smith and acquiring a haul while replacing him with a stopgap option as they waited for Cartaya.
Even though the Dodgers re-tooled with a few considerable moves, it didn't mean they were waving the white flag in terms of contending. They were better preparing themselves financially for the following offseason (and perhaps working a bit to take some of the spotlight off LA to minimize the pressure the high-profile club faces each and every season -- yeah, let the Padres have it all!).
The Dodgers always knew they'd remain competitive even after parting with Trea Turner, Cody Bellinger, Justin Turner, Tyler Anderson, and others. None of those departures have killed them yet, and only watching Bellinger return to form has been somewhat regrettable -- though James Outman's success has stopped that conversation from getting out of hand.
Getting rid of Smith -- one of the best hitting catchers in the league when above-average offense at that position is extremely difficult to come by -- would've been the definition of a regrettable move that would've noticeably set this team back in a multitude of ways.
You know Andrew Friedman is smarter than that. Come on now.