In what was a bit of a surprise, the Los Angeles Dodgers were not buyers at the 2020 MLB trade deadline. In fact, they were actually sellers despite having the best record in baseball as they traded Ross Stripling to the Toronto Blue Jays for a pair of prospects.
Stripling got a chance in the Dodgers’ starting rotation this year and struggled of late, making him expendable for L.A. given the emergence of young starters Tony Gonsolin and Dustin May.
It’s no secret that Stripling was one of the most popular players in the Dodgers clubhouse though, so it was tough for some players to see him go. Blake Treinen hadn’t been teammates with Stripling long, but they were still able to build a relationship.
“It’s kind of bittersweet and you wish him the best of luck. I’ve only been here for a few months, but the impact he had on me, he’s very good at just bringing a good energy and positive reinforcement to all of his teammates every day,” Treinen said.
“Waking up to the news that he’s not here, that’s tough, but you know he’s going to have a great opportunity in Toronto. We wish him the best of luck. I’m sure the guys here have a lot more strings attached to that friendship than I did. We’re going to miss him.”
“I did reach out, just let him know what kind of impact he had on me. I’m sure the rest of the team did, because he’s a very infectious guy. We’re going to miss him but we have to move forward and I know he’s going to make the most of his opportunity.”
Multiple Dodgers players have highlighted the positivity Stripling oozed, which is one specific area Treinen drew inspiration from as a veteran.
“Something that I struggle with is I allow myself a day, in the perfect world, to process an outing I’m not happy with or if I’m dealing with something off the field,” he explained. “You would never know with him if he had seven scoreless or didn’t have a start he was looking to have.
“And from my point of view, just seeing his work ethic, there was always something he was trying to do to get better. He’s going to be in this game a long time because of that. As I get older, I don’t want to call it the senior slump effect, but I’ve seen players I played with as they get older, I check myself fairly regularly.
“I’m not perfect, but there’s times where maybe you take for granted a warmup session or not getting in the weight room when you should be, maybe push it back a day. With him it’s on schedule every single day.
“I think just seeing that type of commitment to that degree, it motivates you. It kind of resets your compass on what’s important and not taking for granted the situation we’re in.”
Wood calls Stripling one of best friends
Alex Wood is someone who knows Stripling well and has been through similar experiences by going back and forth between the rotation and bullpen. “Ross is one of my best friends on the team and in baseball. He’s just a special human being,” Wood said.
“I think the way fans took to him in L.A., all the kind things a lot of guys in our clubhouse have stated about him the last two days, you just can’t say enough good things about Ross. He’s a jack of all trades, super funny, super nice guy. He’s always there when you need him. Words don’t even do that guy justice.
“It’s really sad he won’t be a part of this stretch run with us, but he’s got a really bright future with the Toronto Blue Jays. I think he’ll do great there. It’s nice he has some familiar faces, but definitely sad to see my buddy go.”
Kershaw jokes about Stripling’s workouts
Clayton Kershaw also has a close relationship with Stripling as the two are both from Texas and work out together in the offseason.
While Kershaw is on a Hall of Fame trajectory, he still was able to take some stuff away from a teammate like Stripling. “It’s sad. That’s the hard part of baseball sometimes. I consider Strip a close friend,” Kershaw began.
“He’s just always happy. It’s fun to see him at the field. I made a joke his upper-body days in the weight room are legendary. That’s what he lived for. So I miss that, I miss seeing him down there. But hopefully it’s better for his career.
“Hopefully he gets a start every fifth day in Toronto for a couple years and proves himself. It’ll be a lot better for his career that way.”
Stripling at least gets to reunite with Hyun-Jin Ryu, who was another clubhouse favorite, in Toronto and what is a young team with a lot of upside moving forward.
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