The Aug. 2 MLB trade deadline is the best opportunity for postseason — and World Series — hopefuls to reinforce their rosters for the dog days of summer. It will also prompt movement at sportsbooks as some of the league’s top clubs add a missing piece or two. It’s worth watching to see what Los Angeles Dodgers trade deadline swaps headline the MLB wire.
The MLB-leading Dodgers own the game’s shortest World Series futures at multiple sportsbooks, including DraftKings, where they draw +350 odds. It doesn’t appear there’s much room for Dodgers futures to shrink further, but oddsmakers will find a way.
Whether the Dodgers make a headlining splash — Juan Soto perhaps? — or add key role players, fans and bettors can expect the Dodgers to improve their World Series standing.
Until the Dodgers complete a deal, let’s take a look back and rank their top five blockbuster trade deadline deals of the 2000s.
5. July 31, 2017: Yu Darvish for Brendon Davis, A.J. Alexy, and Willie Calhoun
Darvish wasn’t quite a Tier 1 starting pitcher in the game due to bouts of inconsistency. However, he was capable of dominating any big league lineup on a given night. He tossed 49.2 innings with the Dodgers, compiling a 3.44 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and 61 punchouts. Unfortunately for the Dodgers, Darvish, who came over from the Texas Rangers, did not fare
well under the game’s brightest lights. He served up nine earned runs in 3.1 innings (21.60 ERA) against the Boston Red Sox in two World Series starts.
4. July 25, 2012: Hanley Ramirez for Nathan Eovaldi and Scott McGough
Ramirez broke in with the then-Florida Marlins as a multi-dimensional shortstop. “Five-tool player” is a common phrase used to describe a player who excels in the five fundamental areas of the game: hitting for average, hitting for power, arm strength, fielding, and speed. Ramirez, 28 at the time, possessed each of those traits, making him a whale of an acquisition. He hit .271/.324/.450 with 10 home runs and 44 RBI in 64 games, but it wasn’t enough to get the Dodgers into the postseason.
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3. July 18, 2018: Manny Machado for Yusniel Diaz and prospects
Machado was in the middle of his age-25 season with the Baltimore Orioles, so by baseball standards, he had not even reached his physical prime. Diaz was among the game’s top prospects at the time, but he did not live up to the billing — another example of a highly regarded prospect failing to reach the promise of stardom. Machado hit .273/.338/.487 with 13 homers, and 42 RBI in 66 games down the stretch, but he struggled in the World Series, where the Dodgers fell in five games to the Red Sox.
2. July 31, 2008: Manny Ramirez for Andy LaRoche and Bryan Morris
Ramirez arrived in Los Angeles from Boston as part of a three-team trade that also included the Pittsburgh Pirates sending Jason Bay to the Red Sox and receiving additional young pieces. Ramirez was the true gem of the headlining swap, and he proceeded to set Chavez Ravine on fire. He slashed .396/.489/.743 with 17 homers and 53 RBI in 53 games. His dominant stretch of play prompted fans and media to dub Dodger Stadium “Mannywood.” For all of Ramirez’s offensive exploits, the Dodgers still fell in five games to the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLCS.
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1. July 30, 2021: Max Scherzer and Trea Turner for Josiah Gray, Keibert Ruiz, and prospects
The Dodgers laid down the gauntlet at the 2021 trade deadline, acquiring arguably the best pitcher in the game and a speedy shortstop with pop from the Washington Nationals. Scherzer lived up to his billing, finishing his stint in Los Angeles 7-0 with a 1.98 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, and 104 strikeouts in 68.1 innings. Turner did as well, slashing .338/.385/.565 with 10 homers and 11 stolen bases. Despite putting an already stacked roster above and beyond their peers — on paper — the Dodgers fell to the eventual World Series champion Atlanta Braves in the NLCS.
Surrendering players of Scherzer’s and Turners’ caliber is a tough pill to swallow for the team throwing in towel, and the prospects acquired in return don’t always live up to the hype. Ruiz and Gray have plenty to improve upon, but both are making contributions for the Nationals in 2022.