There’s no better time to revisit one of the worst trades recent Dodgers’ history than in the middle of a baseball shutdown. At least that’s what the folks over at MLB Trade Rumors thought, as they did an in-depth analysis behind the botched trade.
Let’s go back. It’s the day of the waiver trade deadline in 2016 and the Dodgers are two games back in the division with a 59-46 record. The need to add bullpen depth was pressing, as Joe Blanton and Kenley Jansen were the only consistent parts of a pieced together relief core.
Enter Josh Fields from Houston. The power right-handed arm wasn’t having a particularly good season with the Astros, but he had demonstrated the year before that he was capable of racking up strikeouts out of the bullpen. After pitching to a 6.89 ERA in just 15 appearances, the Dodgers decided to roll the dice. And it worked out fine for over the next couple of years. Fields pitched well during the regular season and only allowed two earned runs between the 2016 and 2017 playoffs, albeit in very limited appearances.
The problem with the trade was not necessarily that Josh Fields was a complete bust, though he is out of baseball for the moment. The problem is that the Dodgers gave up a huge piece in the trade for Fields in Yordan Alvarez. If the name sounds familiar, it’s because Alvarez lit up the MLB in 2019 and almost became a household name.
Alvarez had not yet made his professional debut with any of the Dodgers minor league affiliates prior to his trade. LA signed him as an international free agent in June 2016, and he was traded less than two months later. So to be fair, there was no way of really gauging Alvarez at that point. He was just a teenager when he played his two seasons in the Cuban Leagues with varying results.
From there, everything just gets sad for Dodgers fans. Alvarez came up with the Astros at the age of 21 and crushed it. He slashed .313/.412/.655 to go along with 27 home runs in just 87 games. The slugger went on to take home the Rookie of the Year award and tore the cover off of the ball during the 2019 World Series.
So while President of Baseball of Operations Andrew Friedman has made so many good decisions and so few bad ones, this particular one may haunt him for some time.
Happy Tuesday folks.