Recalling the Dodgers’ 4 Most Productive Trades Under Andrew Friedman

(Mandatory Credit: Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

Undeniably, many media outlets covering the Dodgers have been required to be a bit creative with their material during this time of uncertainty, as most have opted to put numerous types of spins on the very rich, historical heritage the franchise has provided.

On Friday, our old friend Connor Byrne of MLBTR created a very thorough post outlining all the trades President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman has made so far under his tenure as boss. While I certainly enjoyed the quick ride through memory lane, I thought it might be interesting to go one step further and pick out the top handful of deals that were the most beneficial.

Obviously, there are many different variables that determine whether a trade is deemed successful. Perhaps the most important is the overall performance of the player(s) upon the arrival to his new club. Second, there’s the value of the trade based on the salaries for all those involved, coupled with the length of the contracts alongside the years of control. Third, sometimes success can be seen in how much room is cleared under a team’s annual budget. Additionally, the evaluation of a deal is often based on the production of the player(s) lost, as we’ve seen in the case of  the Josh Fields for Yordan Alvarez trade back in 2015.

As we’ve collaborated with Connor in the past, I’m sure he wouldn’t mind if we expanded a bit upon his fine work to put together a list of Friedman’s four most productive trades.

No. 4—Russell Martin (2018-19 Offseason)

At first glance, when the Dodgers brought back catcher Russell Martin from the Blue Jays, there was a ton of scrutiny because of his $20 million salary. However, once all the smoke cleared on the cash considerations, Toronto ended up paying a good portion of the veteran’s yearly paycheck. Although Martin slashed just .220/.337/.330 over 83 games last season, the value of his leadership in the clubhouse was priceless. In the package back to the Blue Jays, the Dodgers sent Ronny Brito and Andrew Sopko, who, at the time, were both considered to be marginal minor leaguers at best.

No. 3—David Freese (2018 Trade Deadline)

In another move that seemed to be aimed at landing a strong, veteran clubhouse presence, the Dodgers scored a huge bonus when they acquired corner infielder David Freese from the Pirates in exchange for minor league infielder Jesus Valdez. Of course, because Freese was at the tail end of his contract and Pittsburgh had no plans on bringing him back, the Pirates had nothing to lose. Still, Freese was fantastic for the Dodgers during his time wearing Blue, especially in his roles off the bench.

“The ability to be that presence in the clubhouse, have the pedigree that he has, is huge,” third baseman Justin Turner said upon Freese’s contract renewal in 2019. “The long list of experiences and success is just a value you want to have around. He’s a winner. You talk about culture in the clubhouse and creating a winning culture, that’s the guy you want to be here to help establish that.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

No.2—Chase Utley (2015 Waiver Trade)

During a time when there was a ton of uncertainty at second base, the Dodgers were able to steal away veteran Chase Utley from the Phillies in exchange for utility man Darnell Sweeney and righty pitcher John Richy two weeks past the non-waiver deadline. In 2016—his first full year with the Dodgers—Utley played 138 games, slashing .252/.319/.396 with 26 doubles, 14 long balls and 52 RBI. In spite of those numbers, Utley, at the time, was undoubtedly one of the most respected team leaders in the dugout. During the 2016-17 offseason, the team brought the UCLA alum back on a two-year, team-friendly deal.

Currently, Utley is serving as a special assistant to the Dodgers’ organization.

No. 1—Chris Taylor (2016 Season)

Although it seemed to be a mere deal between two mediocre fringe players when it initially went down, the Chris Taylor for Zach Lee trade will always be remembered as one of Friedman’s signature moves.

As a Dodger, Taylor has hit .266/.337/.463 with 51 homers, 100 doubles, 19 triples and 194 RBI in 453 games over four seasons.

After departing Los Angeles, Lee made just three appearances at the big league level. In his age 27 season last year, he made 24 appearances between the Double-A and Triple-A levels on the Mets’ farm.

Honorable Mention

Being that righty Josiah Gray has elevated into the organization’s list of Top 5 prospects, the blockbuster that saw Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Alex Wood and Kyle Farmer moved to Cincinnati might end up being very productive, especially when considering the amount of excess salary that was dumped.

It still remains to be seen how productive the trades Friedman made during the 2019-20 offseason will be, especially since there’s still a possibility that Mookie Betts might never play a single game in a Los Angeles uniform.

Nevertheless, one can’t help but think that Brusdar Graterol will conceivably be a huge part of the Dodgers’ bullpen in the years to come. To think that Los Angeles landed the big reliever along with Luke Raley and a draft pick in exchange for Kenta Maeda and a very low level catcher, makes one believe that the Dodgers definitely came out as the winners.


24 thoughts on “Recalling the Dodgers’ 4 Most Productive Trades Under Andrew Friedman

  1. Nope, do not agree on the Hill-Reddick trade at all. Hill did little that year and had to be re-signed as a free agent and he was not cheap. As for Reddick, please. The guy was a total loss. Bad fielding, no power to speak of. He hit two homers and drove in 9 runs in 47 games, and was not that much better in the playoffs. Now on the other hand, Chase Utley brought leadership and a Championship mentality to a team sadly lacking in both, and he cost them 2 minor leaguers, one of whom they got back a couple of years later. Darnell Sweeny. Although his BA was bad, Utley hit 3 dingers and drove in 9 runs in 34 games.


  2. David Freese may be kicking himself for retiring. He could have signed a 4-5 million dollar contract and possibly collected without playing an inning.
    Verlander is donating each month’s check while there is no baseball to a coronavirus-based charity. Nice gesture. Of course, he can certainly afford to do it, but still nice.
    Choo is giving $1000 to every minor leaguer in the Rangers system. Another great gesture. According to teammates he’s one of the nicer guys in all of baseball.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, it does, especially since we can now apparently edit. It’s one thing to be unable to edit a baseball comment, but you always need to be able to edit a political comment after posting it. At least I do.


  3. Got some new baseball cards coming. Since they did not originally make cards of Essegian and Churn as Dodgers in 59, I found some topps 59’s of them that show them as Dodgers. Pretty cool. Have a 57 Snider coming too.


  4. Dennis. I would love to see your honest opinion of the Darvish and Machado deals. To me, both were busts. Darvish had one really important good start. Was barely over .500 as a Dodger and flamed out in the series as we all know. Machado’s BA dropped over 40 points coming to LA and he only hit 13 homers. He had 24 when he came over right after the all star game. And in my eyes. He never really had a positive impact on the team. And that episode stepping on the Brewers 1st baseman in the playoffs was about the most unsportsmanlike action I have ever seen by a Dodger player.


    1. Darvish had a schizophrenic arm. Manny was good at times, but he failed to deliver when the team needed it the most. I don’t think either player brought anything exceptional to the clubhouse, although my gut says that darvish was a much better teammate than Manny.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I would totally agree with that. The only guy Manny seemed to connect with was Kemp. But he had that damn perpetual smirk on his face. And I remember him getting exactly one game winning hit. Against Colorado, he hit a walk off. But that was it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. From what I’ve read about Darvish and also seen in his own tweets, he’s a very good teammate and a stand up guy. That doesn’t mean the trade was good, but on a scale of human beings (as opposed to ballplayers) he’s right up there. Plus he seems to have a very good sense of humor which gives him extra points in my book.


  5. Remember another thing about Utley. His hard slide in the playoffs vs the Mets resulted in the Utley rule. You have to stay in the vicinity of the base. You cannot go out of your way to take out a fielder. If he is on the base and you hit him, that is fine. you go outside of that and you are out. Found a little tidbit about Gil Hodges I had totally forgotten. Gil became the manager of the Senators after he retired as a player. He managed in DC for 5 seasons, and the winter of 67 he was traded to the Mets for 100,000 dollars and a player. Of course in 69 the Miracle Mets won the Series over a superior Oriole team. Gil was 47 when he died of a heart attack on a golf course in West Palm Beach. He was 2 days shy of his 48th birthday. That he is not in the HOF is a travesty.


    1. The rule used to read like this:

      “If after having been put out, a runner interferes with a defenders opportunity to make a play on another runner, a dead ball is called, the runner who interfered is out and the runner closest to home shall be declared out.” I made that call many times, most often the second call is the runner at first, but I called runners out at third too. The general rule with umpires was if the runner was sliding and could reach the base with his hand, no call was made. A cleats up slide I always called. Collisions have happened at second base forever. The call I made was mostly in softball when guys came in standing up. My take was “get down or get out of the way”. On the Utley call, as an umpire I was initially somewhat conflicted. He got down, he could reach the bag, but he deliberately and maliciously went out of his way to interfere with the defenders opportunity to make a play on another runner. I make the call, and I warn Utley “you do that sh*t again and I’m running you”.

      I agree about the Hill trade. I wouldn’t have done it. I would have traded for Matt Moore. He pitched 68 innings andwon 6 for the giants.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you Scoop for clarifying the rule. Back when I was playing softball, I was catching and a guy came in standing up and tried to knock me down. He bounced off and was out by a mile….on the other hand, I was at bat and hit a ball in the gap. The second baseman who had been deriding my size all game long, was covering the base as I came in. I deliberately timed it so that me and the ball got there about the same time, as he turned to tag me I came in standing up and knocked him, the ball and his glove in 3 different directions. He had been calling me Lumpy. So when he was sitting there ingloriously on his ass, I said, Lump that bud. Felt really good. And the ump called me safe…so it was a win win.


      2. Funny. In his defense, you are a little lumpy.

        Not sure what the call is other than “knock it off children”. Back years ago you could crash into defenders who had the ball if they were in the baseline. I believe they’ve disallowed that now. It’s not football where you can flatten the mouthy ones when the time comes. The way to shut them up is to outscore them. For the record if I heard a guy get personal like that guy did I’d give him a warning. I was able to keep pretty good control of the game. I always gave players “heat of the moment “ comments, then I would turn away. It always ended. I only ran one guy and it was in a semi pro game in Redding. He was the manager of the home team and he just kept coming at me on an infield fly rule I called. After the game he says to me “what took you so long?” He wanted to get run to fire up his team. I told him to let me know up front next time and we’ll give them a show. The photos of that incident made the local papers. He and I laughed about it for years.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I may be, but he went over board. And I can take it if it is just kidding and not intended to get you pissed. He got me pissed, and that was his big mistake. Do not poke the sleeping bear…period. At least I went at him legally. Colliding with the catcher was outlawed pretty much after Posey was flattened and his leg broke. That is why you see all those OLE Tags at home plate. Obstruction of the base is probably one of the bigger changes from the old days. Campy would not have liked it.


  7. Boy was I in a foul mood yesterday. Everything just seemed to touch a nerve. Anyway, glad that is over. I finally saw that MLBTR posted the trades of the Andrew Friedman era. Sure made a lot of them, and there were some that were not even on there. The majority rated him at a B. Probably because of the volume, and a couple that worked out pretty good. I just hope we have some kind of season. I want to see Betts play at Dodger Stadium. If that does not happen, the only way that trade can be judged, unless Betts signs a deal, is on the performance of David Price, and Verdugo. Red Sox will get more years out of Verdugo than we will from Price.


    1. Verdugo will play everyday there and put up 3-5 WAR every year he remains under team control. That’s 5 more years. The only thing that will stop that from happening is injury.

      We saw a video that shows S Korea baseball is going to attempt play soon. By many accounts our response was 2 months (70 days) slower than theirs. If we are lucky and can follow that far behind them, we may see baseball played in empty stadiums some time in July. Personally I really doubt it but I’m holding out hope that the last 5 Governors who haven’t, will issue stay at home orders so waves everywhere will peak sooner and we can take a breath.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. He lived a long time. Had by all accounts a great life. Never played a minor league game. Dang. That’s some good karma.


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