Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox are two of Major League Baseball’s most storied franchises and both have been intertwined in the last 15 years.
Aside from a few regular season matchups, both teams didn’t see much of each other, but they did pull off a blockbuster trade on August 25, 2012. In a statement move shortly into their tenure as owners of the Dodgers, the Guggenheim Baseball Management Group acquired Adrián González, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto.
The trade amounted to adding more than $250 million in salary to the Dodgers payroll while dealing Ivan De Jesus Jr., Rubby De La Rosa, James Loney, Jerry Sands and Allen Webster to the Red Sox. The move proved to be vital to both teams, opening a bevy of opportunities.
For the Dodgers, adding Beckett, Crawford and González provided them with star-power and veteran pieces to a puzzle that kicked down the door of future postseason pushes. With the Red Sox, the shedding of salary allowed them to sign key pieces prior to the 2013 season, which helped them go on to win the World Series title that season.
When the trade was executed in 2012, the Red Sox were at the bottom of the American League East. If it had not been for Dodgers ownership wanting to show fans their commitment to spending, postseason history likely would’ve been written a different way.
They would meet again in 2018, when the Red Sox added right-handed slugger J.D. Martinez to a Red Sox offense that featured Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers. They would go on to win 108 games, having one of the most potent offenses in league history.
The combination of Betts and Martinez in the heart of their order pushed them on a path of an inevitable postseason run. On the Dodgers end, their 2018 season was carried by a resurgence of Matt Kemp and the acquisition of Manny Machado after losing Corey Seager for the entirety of the season.
The 2018 Dodgers required a game 163 to win the National League West, besting the Atlanta Braves and Milwaukee Brewers to lock their spot in the Fall Classic.
The Dodgers would fall to the Red Sox in five games, their second consecutive loss in the World Series. Alex Cora, a former member of the Dodgers, was managing the Red Sox in 2018, one year after he sat on the Houston Astros coaching staff in 2017 during their sign stealing scandal.
In 2020, prior to the shortened season, another blockbuster trade was in the works when the Dodgers acquired Betts and David Price for outfielder Alex Verdugo and prospects Jeter Downs and Connor Wong.
Betts would help the Dodgers break their World Series drought by having key postseason moments in 2020, leading them to a title and finishing second in the National League Most Valuable Player voting.
This past weekend at Fenway Park, the Dodgers took two of three games from the Red Sox, with Betts salting the wound of fans still scorned by the 2020 trade. The superstar tallied seven hits in 16 plate appearances with one home run, four RBI and five runs scored.
Since interleague play was introduced in 1997, the Dodgers and Red Sox have played a combined 21 regular season games in which the Dodgers command with 11 wins to 10 losses.
Red Sox and Dodgers shared history
His time with the Red Sox amounted to a number of individual accolades, including a 2018 MVP, multiple Silver Slugger and Gold Glove Awards, while transforming himself into a franchise player.
Now with the Dodgers, Betts is a model athlete, becoming not only a fan favorite, but the front-runner for this year’s MVP award. He’s posted a 260 wRC+ with eight homers, 25 RBI, 29 runs scored and a .464 batting average in the month of August, which has propelled his name into the national media at the front of the MVP race.
Cora was drafted by the Dodgers in the 1996 MLB Draft. He went on to play seven seasons in L.A. and four with the Red Sox as part of a 14-year career. In five seasons as the manager of the Red Sox, he’s amassed a 431-348 record with 17 postseason wins.
The Dodgers’ all-time leader in saves, Kenley Jansen has continued to outlast closers around baseball in terms of longevity and dominance. After 12 years with the club, he signed a one-year deal with the Atlanta Braves, and then with the Red Sox, where he’s posted a 2.81 ERA in 41.2 innings, registering 29 saves.
The 14-year veteran did not appear in the recent series, but he continues to pitch at a high level.
Joe Kelly was a key piece to the Red Sox 2018 run, carrying a 0.79 ERA in 11.1 innings pitched. His electric arsenal quieted the Dodgers and they soon made him a high-priced option in their bullpen when he was inked to a multi-year deal.
In his first stint, Kelly pitched for the Dodgers for three seasons, helping them win a World Series title. He’s now back with the team after being acquired at the trade deadline alongside right-hander Lance Lynn.
With the Red Sox, Martinez made a name for himself as one of the most feared right-handed sluggers in MLB, finishing fourth in MVP voting in 2018 with dual Silver Slugger Award’s.
Martinez signed a one-year deal with the Dodgers this past offseason, which paid off in them receiving All-Star production from the 36-year-old. He is currently on the 10-day injured list.
Dave Roberts’ name is etched into the minds of all Red Sox fans for his role in the 2004 playoffs when he infamously stole second off New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera. The steal led to a comeback win and the eventual series victory while down 3-to-0 in the AL Championship Series.
What’s forgotten is that Roberts was dealt from the Dodgers to the Red Sox at a deadline deal in 2004 for Jay Payton, Ramon Vazquez, David Pauley and cash. Those three names changed a franchise’s history with one stolen base.
A franchise player for numerous years with the Dodgers, Justin Turner remade himself into a star. In nine years, he posted an .865 OPS, including two All-Star selections and a number of postseason moments.
Turner wasn’t resigned following the 2022 season and the Red Sox brought him in, where he has since excelled in a multi-position role.
After rising through the Dodgers Minor League system, Verdugo was a solid contributor leading into the 2019 season, when he posted an .817 on-base plus slugging. His upside potential made him a key name in the Betts trade, and was shipped off to the Red Sox.
Now in his fourth season, Verdugo has been an average piece in their outfield, owning a .773 OPS in 469 games. He will soon become a free agent, and the Red Sox haven’t signaled they’ll make him a sizable contract extension.
Ryan Brasier was an important piece in the Red Sox bullpen during their 2018 World Series run, but he struggled this season and was designated for assignment. The Dodgers picked him up on a Minor League deal and he has since excelled since joining the club, earning the praise of Roberts and posting the lowest ERA in their ‘pen this year.
Chris Martin was acquired by the Dodgers at the trade deadline last season during a down year with the Chicago Cubs, but he rebounded and became one of the most important pitchers in their bullpen. He went on to sign a two-year deal with the Red Sox after the season.
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