Early into the offseason Los Angeles Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said his focus was on adding elite talent to a roster that was coming off a franchise-record 106 wins.
Manager Dave Roberts predicted there would be more roster turnover than had been experienced in prior years. L.A. reportedly had interest in Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg and Anthony Rendon in free agency, only to strike out on each.
But days before pitchers and catchers report to Camelback Ranch for the start of Spring Training, Friedman and the Dodgers accomplished their goal by acquiring Mookie Betts and David Price in a trade with the Boston Red Sox.
While Friedman is bullish on what both players will bring to the Dodgers, he deemed Betts as the top talent he likely will ever trade for, via MLB Network Radio:
“I think he’s definitely the best player I have ever traded for and I feel confident saying he’s the best player I will ever trade for. And obviously with David, I have a lot of history with him. Ton of respect for him, the way he competes, so it’s going to be good to be back together with him. He’s one of the best teammates I’ve ever been around.
“Both of those guys are going to add a lot — not just on the field but also in our clubhouse as well.”
During his time leading the Tampa Bay Rays front office, Friedman regularly was in position to move on from his best talents because of payroll restrictions. With the Dodgers arguably the most notable names he’s traded for are Rich Hill, Yu Darvish, Brian Dozier and Manny Machado.
In each of those cases, just like with Betts and Price, the focus was seemingly on the postseason. The Dodgers are entering into another season in which they are projected to finish with the best record in baseball and are among the favorites to reach the World Series.
In Betts the Dodgers have added a right-handed bat that helps balance their lineup, gives the team an everyday leadoff hitter and Gold Glove-caliber defender in right field.
The Dodgers are holding an introductory press conference for Betts and Price in center field at Dodger Stadium. Friedman and Roberts will also be on hand.
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