Taking Another Look at the Alex Wood Trade

On July 30th, 2015, the Dodgers acquired Alex Wood and Luis Avilan, among numerous others, in a three team trade involving the Dodgers, Braves, Marlins, and 12 total players. Wood and Avilan are significant because they’re the only two players from the deal still on the Dodgers roster. In addition, the Dodgers also acquired Jim Johnson, Jose Peraza, and Bronson Arroyo from the Braves. They also acquired Mat Latos and Michael Morse from the Marlins. In the deal the Dodgers gave up Paco Rodriguez, Hector Olivera, and Zachary Bird to the Braves along with Kevin Guzman, Jeff Brigham, and Victor Araujo to the Marlins. Although many pieces from this trade are gone, the Dodgers won the trade, and it’s not close.

At the time of the trade, Alex Wood was a promising young starter and he has fulfilled on that promise. After the trade, Wood struggled in his 12 starts, but took a big step forward in 2016 before injuries put him on the disabled list for most of the year. He returned to a bullpen role, where he excelled in a small sample size. Coming into 2017, his role was uncertain with the Dodgers extremely deep pitching staff, and he began the year in the pen. He continued to excel in this role but after an injury to Rich Hill, it appears Wood is headed back to the rotation for the foreseeable future.

[graphiq id=”JJyltgU0lL” title=”Alex Wood” width=”600″ height=”738″ url=”https://w.graphiq.com/w/JJyltgU0lL” ]

Luis Avilan also struggled in his first year in LA, but similar to Wood, found success in 2016. Avilan began the 2016 season in the minors, but after injuries and inconsistency among other bullpen members, he was recalled and pitched well in 27 appearances down the stretch. Thus far in 2017, he has continued his success from last season, making the opening day roster and starting the season with 6 straight scoreless appearances. It’s safe to say he has solidified his spot as a crafty lefty specialist for the Dodgers, a role previously held by J.P. Howell.

[graphiq id=”4GAGlE7Q2xf” title=”Luis Avilán” width=”600″ height=”738″ url=”https://w.graphiq.com/w/4GAGlE7Q2xf” ]

Jim Johnson looked to be a key piece of the trade, with the Dodgers desperately needing relief help, but he didn’t pan out anywhere near how the Dodgers had hoped. He pitched to a 10.13 ERA in his 23 appearances for LA. Johnson was once an elite closer, saving 101 games over two seasons in Baltimore, but he has struggled to find consistency since. After his short stint in the city of angels, he re-signed with the Braves and is currently serving as their closer. After an up and down 2016, albeit with 36 saves, he’s off to a good start in 2017.

When he joined the team, Jose Peraza looked to be the Dodgers long term answer at second base. He was viewed as a good hitter with elite speed, and he showed his speed in his short time in LA with a triple and 3 steals in 7 games. His time in Los Angeles was short lived however, as he was traded to Cincinnati in the offseason as part of a three team trade that saw the Dodgers acquire Trayce Thompson, Frankie Montas, and Micah Johnson. Thompson had early success in LA during the 2016 season before an injury ended his season prematurely. Montas was traded to Oakland as a part of the deal that brought Rich Hill and Josh Reddick to LA. Micah Johnson was eventually traded to Atlanta for a player to be named later.

Mat Latos immediately joined the Dodgers rotation after the trade, but didn’t last long and was released after 6 unimpressive starts. Since being released by the Dodgers, he has played for the Angels, White Sox, and Nationals, and struggled for all three. He is currently in the Blue Jays organization trying to get another shot at the big leagues. The remaining two players the Dodgers acquired in the trade, Michael Morse and Bronson Arroyo, never suited up for the Dodgers. Morse was designated for assignment, then traded to the Pirates for Jose Tabata, who also never suited up in Los Angeles. Arroyo spent the rest of the season on the disabled list, and once the season ended the Dodgers declined his team option and he became a free agent. Neither Morse or Arroyo have played in the big leagues since the trade.

The main piece of the trade that the Braves received appeared to be Hector Olivera, a promising prospect out of Cuba. In 30 games for Atlanta, Olivera hit .245 with 2 home runs, before being arrested after a domestic dispute and being suspended for 82 games. Olivera was ultimately traded to San Diego, who released him at the time of his suspension. Olivera, by his own doing, never got a chance to show what he could do for Atlanta, and hasn’t played professional baseball since his suspension in early 2015.

Paco Rodriguez was the other main piece of the deal, but he never played for Atlanta due to injuries. Paco underwent Tommy John surgery shortly after and hasn’t pitched since before he was traded at any level, and was ultimately released by Atlanta in during spring training of 2017. The other piece that went to Atlanta was Zachary Bird, who appeared to be a promising young pitcher but was yet another bust for the Braves. He never made it above class A, and pitched to an ERA of 8.87.

This trade was a flat out disaster for Atlanta, as none of the three players they acquired are still on the team, and only one having ever even played for them at all. During a Twitter Q&A, the Braves general manager noted how bad of a trade it was for them.

In the deal the Marlins received three minor league pitchers from the Dodgers, none of which have advanced past AA in the year and a half since the trade. Kevin Guzman pitched well in low class A in 2016, but only managed 27 innings and began 2017 on the disabled list. Jeff Brigham looked promising in high class A in 2016, but struggled mightily in the Arizona Fall League. He also began 2017 on the disabled list. Victor Araujo struggled for most of 2016 across single A and double A, and was ultimately released following the 2016 season.

While many people may see the trade as a loss for the Dodgers considering only two of the 7 players acquired are still on the roster, the two that remain make the Dodgers the clear cut winners. Alex Wood and Luis Avilan both have succeeded in Los Angeles and have bright futures ahead. Both are still young, Wood is 26 and Avilan 27, they both figure to only improve, and what they’ve shown so far is already plenty to be excited about. Don’t forget that pieces of that trade also helped bring in Trayce Thompson, a very promising, young outfielder and fan favorite. When you look at all of this, it’s clear the Dodgers got the best of the trade.

Hunter Thompson

Born in Pennsylvania but comes from a long line of Dodger fans from their Brooklyn days. Extremely passionate about the Dodgers and baseball in general. News writer and Twittercaster for Dodger games. Follow me on Twitter @Officialism27 for more Dodgers talk!

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  1. A disaster for Atlanta, seriously? Alex Wood is absolutely pathetic. Avilan is just as bad.

    1. From Atl’s standpoint and what they got it was. But not that great a deal for LA either. By the way, Arroyo is in the Reds starting rotation, so the statement he has not pitched in the majors is wrong.

    2. It appears that there were NO winners nor losers in this “blockbuster” trade because it is apparent none have or had the talent to play at the major league level.

    3. Read the entire article before posting. Comment. Even ATLa GM said it was bad. But I guess you know more right? Smh. It was horrific trade for everybody other than the Dodgers. Wood hasn’t given up a run out of the pen this season. And he hasn’t pitched bad filling in for rich hill. We have two pieces on our starting roster while every other player involved in that trade either isn’t playing anymore or is struggling in minors. Facts guy.

    4. Hey Brad, want to reconsider after Wood’s six shutout innings against the Giants tonight? Alex is going to be very effective for the Dodgers for many years as a long reliever.

  2. Good article. I like seeing how all the pieces of a trade fit together and what happens to them down the line.

  3. Ummm..good article but Morse is playing with the Giants and has a walk off hit against the Dodgers. Arroyo is pitching for the Reds. Am I missing something?

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