As the Los Angeles Dodgers reached a preliminary agreement with the Boston Red Sox to acquire Mookie Betts and David Price, the club looked to unload additional salary in a separate trade involving the L.A. Angels.
Joc Pederson and Ross Stripling were expected to head down the Interstate 5 to Anaheim, with utility infielder Luis Rengifo and additional prospects going back to the Dodgers. The deal was contingent on the Dodgers’ three-team blockbuster with Boston and the Minnesota Twins being finalized.
However, that proposed deal hit a snag when the Red Sox grew concerned over pitching prospect Brusdar Graterol’s physical. It resulted in the Twins being omitted from the trade, and the Dodgers expanding the package to include Jeter Downs and Connor Wong.
The delay in finalizing the blockbuster also led to Angels owner Arte Moreno backing out of the deal that would have sent Pederson and Stripling to Anaheim.
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman reached out to Pederson and Stripling after the trade fell apart and credited them for being comfortable returning to the organization, via David Vassegh of AM 570 L.A. Sports:
“As it became clear that wasn’t happening, I reached out to Joc and Strip and just said, ‘Hey, it looks like this is potentially where it’s going. This is kind of unprecedented levels for me, so I’m not exactly sure what the playbook is. But let me ask from your vantage point, is there too much water under the bridge here? Is this too difficult to claw back from? If you were the master of the baseball universe right now, would you put the trade through or would you undo it and come back?’
“And both of them said we feel like we have unfinished business with the Dodgers, we love it, we don’t think the grass is greener, we would love to come back. I think it just helped that was their mindset and mentality. Obviously it would’ve been a lot more challenging or potentially played out differently had they said, ‘No, you can’t unring the bell. It’s time for me to go.’ Both guys I think totally got it and knew that it didn’t mean we didn’t value them as players and respect who they are. I think all that was understood, so it didn’t make it personal.”
Despite the proposed trade between the Dodgers and Angels going public, every indication has been Pederson and Stripling were each relieved to have remained with L.A..
Pederson and Stripling both reported to Camelback Ranch for the start of Spring Training without issue; though they acknowledged there was a level of awkwardness with the entire situation.
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