Since being named Los Angeles Dodgers president of baseball operations after the conclusion of the 2014 MLB season, Andrew Friedman has arguably been one of the most aggressive executives in all of baseball in terms of roster movement.
Under his leadership, the Dodgers have swung a major deal at four of the past five July trade deadlines, acquiring the likes of Alex Wood (2015), Rich Hill (2016), Yu Darvish (2017) and Manny Machado (2018). Though only Hill remains in the organization, each of the four players were pivotal in helping the club reach the postseason that year.
While Friedman has been on the winning side in most of the trades he has orchestrated with the Dodgers, there is one obvious deal that he would like to take back.
In addition to nabbing Hill and Josh Reddick from the Oakland Athletics at the 2016 non-waiver trade deadline, the Dodgers addressed their bullpen with the acquisition of Josh Fields. Los Angeles sent back Yordan Alvarez to the Houston Astros, who was part of the organization’s prospect haul during the 2015-16 international signing period.
Alvarez has since emerged as one of the game’s brightest stars, making his MLB debut in June and quickly becoming a key part of the Astros lineup.
Friedman acknowledged the mistake that was trading Alvarez and praised him for the early success he has enjoyed in Houston, per Andy McCullough of the L.A. Times:
“Looking back on it now,” Friedman said recently with a rueful smile earlier, “we obviously wish we would have said yes to other names they asked for before him. It’s pretty special watching what he’s doing in the batter’s box.”
Friedman pointed out that Alvarez was only signed due to the Dodgers being priced out of the more prominent prospects available. He also revealed that the biggest question surrounding the 22-year-old at the time was his power:
“We signed him the day before the period ended,” Friedman said. “And it was more because we were about to be cut out of big-ticket signings. Ironically, the big question in the industry at that time was about the power. Which, I’m not sure how that was the question.”
Alvarez has put any concerns regarding his power to rest, slugging seven home runs over his first 16 games with the Astros. He finished the year batting .313/.412/.655 with 26 doubles, 27 home runs and 78 RBI over 87 games.
As for Fields — who was released by the Dodgers in Spring Training — he enjoyed moderate success for the organization, compiling a 2.61 ERA over parts of three seasons from 2016-18.
The 33-year-old signed a Minor League contract with the Milwaukee Brewers but exercised an April 30 opt-out clause and joined the Texas Rangers shortly after. Fields was then released by the Rangers in June.