Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
There is a group of fans and media people who are disappointed in the Dodgers.
That is too bad, because they are blinding themselves from one of the more incredible, impactful, all-encompassing trades in several deadlines. By putting together a massive and unexpected 13-player trade with the Atlanta Braves and Miami Marlins, the Dodgers filled several significant needs and kept themselves as the favorite in a tight National League West race going into the stretch run.
The Dodgers’ first-year front office led by president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman acquired two starting pitchers—Alex Wood and Mat Latos—to fill out the battered rotation behind aces Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke. The Dodgers picked up much needed right-handed and left-handed relievers in Jim Johnson and Luis Avilan, respectively. They also received a potential future infielder in Jose Peraza, who was rated the 26th best prospect in baseball in Baseball America’s midseason rankings.
Dodgers second baseman Howie Kendrick will be a free agent after the season, as will shortstop Jimmy Rollins, so Peraza could pair with Baseball America’s top prospect, shortstop Corey Seager, to form the team’s future double-play combination.
The two starting pitchers give front-line production when they are right, and Wood is under team control through 2019. And Johnson should slot in as closer Kenley Jansen’s setup man, something the Dodgers have lacked for two seasons now.
The Dodgers also did this without parting with top prospects Seager and 18-year-old lefty Julio Urias, rated fourth by Baseball America, or any other top prospects or any players off their 25-man roster.
“To sit here right now and have addressed the biggest areas of need for us in terms of our rotation and bullpen, to have added future pieces, while preserving our top guys in our system is a really good outcome,” Friedman said Thursday in a conference call.
“Obviously we’re really happy with the outcome—not only for what it does for our club in 2015 but the position it puts us in going into the winter, into next season and beyond.”
Friedman also acknowledged that fans might be disappointed the team didn’t land an ace like David Price or Cole Hamels—names they were linked to all week who would have excited the fanbase more than Wood and Latos.
“I get that,” Friedman admitted. "I have tremendous respect for the passion fans have for the team. We all share the same goal, to win the World Series. Everything we've done since mid-October is with that goal in mind.
“But it's also not about winning just in 2015. It's about creating something that can be sustained for many years and hopefully have a number of championship banners up. We're perfectly aligned in that and everything we're doing is working towards that.”
Other teams with high payrolls have taken the opposite approach in the recent past, and now the Philadelphia Phillies and Detroit Tigers find themselves free-falling and needing to sell. This trade shows the Dodgers are trying to avoid that kind of future.