President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman has made plenty of trades, especially during any given season, since taking over the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2014.
One that seemed less significant at the time was when Friedman acquired reliever Josh Fields from the Houston Astros in exchange for unheralded Cuban prospect Yordan Alvarez in 2016.
Fields was a struggling reliever at the fringes of the big leagues at the time of the trade. He turned in two-plus decent seasons for the Dodgers and made the team’s postseason rosters in 2016 and 2017.
During his two full seasons in Los Angeles, Fields recorded a solid 2.57 ERA and 0.96 WHIP. He missed two months of 2018 with shoulder inflammation and failed to make the postseason that year.
Fields struggled in October when he did get a chance in the playoffs. Most notably, he allowed two home runs against the Astros in the 10th inning of Game 2 of the 2017 World Series, which Houston eventually won.
Meanwhile, Alvarez has developed an elite power stroke and became one of the Astros’ top minor leaguers. He made his MLB debut on June 9, promptly hitting home runs in three of his first four games.
Alvarez’s incredible success, combined with Fields’ implosion playing a huge role in the Astros’ first World Series win in franchise history, gave one executive involved in the trade an interesting perspective, per Andy McCullough of the L.A. Times:
“We actually won that trade twice,” one former Astros official said.
Adding insult to injury, Fields was already gone from Los Angeles by the time Alvarez debuted. The Dodgers released Fields this past March, and he has since been picked up and cut from the Milwaukee Brewers and Texas Rangers.
Of course, Friedman has a generally sterling track record when it comes to creative and smart roster moves, dating back to his time in charge of the Tampa Bay Rays.
Most of his trades have worked out generally well for the Dodgers, netting them key players such as Rich Hill, Yu Darvish and Manny Machado, all of whom greatly helped the team in the second half and into the postseason.
Just as important for the Dodgers have been the trades they did not make. Friedman held on to prospects like Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger and Alex Verdugo in trade talks.
All three, along with other young players such as Walker Buehler, Julio Urias and Joc Pederson, have played huge roles on the Dodgers teams that made back-to-back World Series for the first time since the 1970s.