The Los Angeles Dodgers were aggressive spenders during the 2015-2016 international signing period, with the likes of Yordan Álvarez, Yadier Alvarez, Starling Heredia and Ronny Brito among their additions.
Álvarez, a Cuban native, was the last of that bunch to sign with the Dodgers as an international free agent. He had a productive showing in two seasons with with Las Tunas in Cuba’s Serie Nacional but wasn’t considered much of a headliner at the time.
Álvarez received a $2 million signing bonus from the Dodgers and was traded two weeks later to the Houston Astros in exchange for Josh Fields.
When reflecting on that deal, Álvarez remembered only briefly getting acclimated at the Dodgers’ Dominican Republic complex, via Jorge Castillo of the L.A. Times:
The Houston Astros’ All-Star slugger recently recalled that he spent about a month at the organization’s academy in the Dominican Republic in 2016 — “maybe a little less.” He remembers working out on the field twice in shorts and a T-shirt. He never wore a uniform. He never played a game. It was a short chapter in his life.
At the time of being informed of the trade, Álvarez explained he wasn’t aware of what entailed:
“I didn’t know what a trade was here,” Álvarez said. “I didn’t know how that worked.”
Despite some of the immediate uncertainty over the outlook of his career, the Cuban native was excited because of getting a chance to eventually make his way to Florida:
“I was happy when they told me about the trade,” Álvarez said. “I knew people in West Palm [Beach, Fla.] and I knew the Astros were going to construct a complex there, so I was happy.”
Fields remained with the Dodgers for parts of three seasons before getting released during 2019 Spring Training. He compiled a 2.61 ERA over that span, but Álvarez has become a feared slugger and All-Star for the Astros.
Since the ill-fated 2016 trade for the Dodgers, it has been reported former general manager Farhan Zaidi initially believed the Astros sought Yadier Alvarez in the trade for Fields.
The right-hander was outrighted off the Dodgers’ 40-man roster in 2020 but joined the team for Minor League camp in Spring Training this year.
Andrew Friedman regrets Yordan Álvarez trade
When reflecting on the Dodgers’ trading Álvarez to the Astros, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman acknowledged it was a misstep by the team.
He also raised the question as to why there were concerns over Álvarez’s power at the time he signed with the Dodgers.
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