The Best And Worst Trade of The Decade For The Los Angeles Dodgers

The decade of the 2010s started out on the wrong foot for the Los Angeles Dodgers, failing to make the postseason in 2010, 2011, and 2012. But since 2013, LA has impressed, appearing in the playoffs in each of the last seven seasons, including back-to-back World Series appearances in 2017 and 2018. However, their Fall Classic curse is still alive, having failed to bring home a title since 1988.

On the bright side, they’ve won more than 100 games in two of the last three seasons and once again look to be one of the favorites in the National League after striking a blockbuster deal with the Boston Red Sox in February, acquiring Mookie Betts and David Price. To be one of the NL’s best teams over the last 10 years, numerous moves had to be made by the front office. Some worked out, some didn’t.

Over the next several weeks Baseball Essential will be doing a series on the best and worst trade every team in Major League Baseball has made over the last decade. Here is the best and worst trade the Los Angeles Dodgers have made since 2010.

The Best Trade the Los Angeles Dodgers Have Made Since 2010: LA acquires Rich Hill and Josh Reddick from the Oakland Athletics for Grant Holmes, Jharel Cotton, and Frankie Montas (August 1, 2016)

Before landing in Tinseltown, Rich Hill bounced around from team to team, failing to really find a home at the big-league level. He was a major-league journeyman, playing for seven different organizations in just nine seasons prior to becoming a Dodger. He even spent the 2015 season pitching in Independent ball because no MLB team wanted to sign him.

Well, it’s safe to say that Hill resurrected his baseball career with the Dodgers. After arriving in LA at the 2016 trade deadline, the lefty made six starts for the Dodgers, compiling a 1.83 ERA. He then played an instrumental role in the postseason that year, making two starts against the Washington Nationals in the NL Division Series and one appearance in the NL Championship Series against the eventual World Series champions, the Chicago Cubs.

He was rewarded for his efforts the ensuing offseason, inking a three year, $48 million deal to stay in LA. There were a lot of critics of the Dodgers’ decision to give Hill a deal of that size given his age (36). Although he missed a couple of months due to a blister on his finger, Hill lived up to expectations when he returned, going 12-8 with a 3.32 ERA across 135.2 innings in the 2017 season, making 25 starts. He also went on to make two starts in the Fall Classic against the Houston Astros, allowing just two runs in 8.2 innings while striking out 12 hitters.

One season later Hill put up similar numbers: an 11-5 record and a 3.66 ERA in 132.2 innings, making 24 starts. He did once again miss two months due to the same blister issues in 2018. Nonetheless, he was very consistent when he took the mound. Hill went on to pitch well in the playoffs once again, holding the Boston Red Sox to just one hit across six innings in Game 4 of the World Series.

Last season it just seemed like age was catching up with Hill. He went on the injured list with a forearm strain in June. Nonetheless, he went 4-1 with a 2.45 ERA in 13 starts for the Dodgers. In four years with the Dodgers Hill went 30-16 with a 3.16 ERA, while striking out 10.6 batters per nine innings.

Hill never threw extremely hard but especially not in his mid-30s. He relied on his quality stuff and command each and every start. That’s what he did in a Dodgers uniform: locate and keep hitters off balance. In the process, he refound himself and gave LA a reliable and effective starter.

At 40 years old, there isn’t much time left for Hill at the major-league level. But what he did for the Los Angeles Dodgers across four years will never be forgotten. No one could’ve predicted that a 35-year-old would march into LA and have the instant impact he did on the mound. But that’s exactly what Hill did, and for that, it was the best trade that the Dodgers made in the last decade. Hill signed a one-year deal with the Minnesota Twins after the 2019 season, as he continues to truck along in what will be his 16th major-league season.

The Worst Trade the Los Angeles Dodgers Have Made Since 2010: LA acquires Brian Dozier from the Minnesota Twins for Logan Forsythe and Minor Leaguers Devin Smeltzer and Luke Raley (July 31, 2018)

In the heat of a playoff run the Dodgers wanted to add some infield depth before the 2018 MLB trade deadline. With that in mind, they shipped off Logan Forsythe to the Twins for Brian Dozier, a solid defender with a decent bat. However, this deal didn’t work out at all for LA.

In 47 games Dozier hit just .182 for the Dodgers, going deep five times. He also posted an awful 0.0 WAR.  Even though LA went on to win the NL pennant and appear in their second consecutive World Series, Dozier really didn’t play any part. He went just 2-for-16 in the postseason, driving in two runs. Luckily, they had the likes of Chris TaylorEnrique Hernandez, and Max Muncy, who could all play second base, among many other positions.

Dozier was solid defensively, but he provided no spark at the plate. It was his first time playing in the NL, perhaps playing a role in his struggles. But if he could have actually provided some more offensive output, who knows what could’ve happened in the World Series that year. Only one can imagine.

I understand where the Dodgers were coming from, though. Dozier has been a pretty consistent player his entire big-league career, and the Twins were out of contention at that point in 2018, so they were open to trading him. In five of his first seven big-league campaigns before coming over to LA, Dozier smacked 20 or more home runs, including 42 and 32 bombs in 2016 and 2017, respectively. But when he was sent to LA, he was already in a slump, hitting just .227 before the trade. One would think he would break out and find himself at the plate with a new organization, but it never happened.

Devin Smeltzer, who the Dodgers sent to Minnesota in the trade, has thrived in the Twins organization. He finished 2018 in Double-A, then dominated that level in 2019 before being sent to Triple A. The 24-year-old southpaw was called up by Minnesota last May, making six starts and posting a 3.86 ERA in 49 innings at the big-league level.

So, along with Dozier underperforming in LA, they also traded a now major-league starter, who is a mainstay with the Twins. In more ways than one, this trade was absolutely dreadful for the Dodgers. To boot, Dozier signed with the Washington Nationals in 2019 and went on to win a World Series. Ouch.

This was definitely the worst trade the Los Angeles Dodgers made over the last decade.

Stay tuned to Baseball Essential over the next few weeks for more on the best and worst trades made by all 30 MLB clubs over the past 10 years.

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