Prior to the 2016 non-waiver trade deadline, the Los Angeles Dodgers were looking to upgrade in the outfield and in their starting rotation due to multiple injuries.
While they were said to have inquired about multiple of frontline starters such as, Chris Sale and Chris Archer, and All-Star caliber outfielders like Ryan Braun and Jay Bruce, Los Angeles wound up completing a trade with the Oakland Athletics to address both needs.
They acquired Rich Hill and Josh Reddick in exchange for prospects Jharel Cotton, Grant Holmes and Frankie Montas. The trade marked the first instance in which Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman parted with notable prospects.
While Friedman is the head of the Dodgers front office, the trade with the Athletics was made possible because of general manager Farhan Zaidi, as explained A’s executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane, via Andy McCullough of the L.A. Times:
“The deal doesn’t happen — I know it doesn’t happen — if we’re not negotiating with each other,” Beane said.
Zaidi began his career in baseball with the Athletics in 2005 as a data analysis assistant. In 2013 he was promoted to director of baseball operations, and was then named assistant GM in 2014.
Shortly after Friedman agreed to join the Dodgers, he placed a call to Beane seeking permission to speak with Zaidi about the club’s vacant general manager position. Much to Beane’s dismay, Friedman was successful in prying Zaidi out of Oakland.
Together, Friedman, Zaidi and their onslaught of front office personnel have guided the Dodgers to two of their four consecutive National League West titles. The group drew criticism over not re-signing Zack Greinke, but were lauded this past offseason for retaining Hill, Kenley Jansen and Justin Turner.
The Dodgers head into the 2017 season a heavy favorite to win the NL West and among the World Series favorites.