Shockwaves have gone through the baseball world as Mookie Betts and David Price are on the verge of moving to Los Angeles. The trade was practically completed, until complications arose involving a prospect’s health as well as the third team in the trade, the Minnesota Twins, recently dropping out.
If this trade does eventually go through, it will have been one of the craziest moves we have seen in a long time. Yet it is far from the first jaw-dropping deal the two iconic franchises have made in their combined history. Here are the most notable deals struck between the Dodgers and Red Sox since 2000.
July 31, 2004: Veteran-Prospect Swap
Dodgers get: OF Henri Stanley
Red Sox get: OF Dave Roberts
At the time this move was under-the-radar, and still, some today may not see the true importance of it. But this trade that was struck on trade deadline day would turn out to be a season-saving, championship-pushing steal for the Red Sox.
Roberts wasn’t a star for the Sox, but he wasn’t expected to be. The hope was that he would be some added depth to take the pressure off of their very strong outfield. And he did it to perfection, with a crucial pinch-running steal in the playoffs that ended up leading to the famous ALCS comeback victory over the Yankees. The Red Sox shipped him out of Boston following the championship victory for two solid players, a prospect, AND cash.
What makes this trade truly great is that all the Red Sox gave up was Henri Stanley. He was an outfielder who was batting nearly .300 in AAA Pawtucket. Yet the promising outfielder never made it to the majors, meaning the Dodgers practically gave away the superb pinch-runner for nothing.
July 31, 2008 — Manny Out, Bay in
Dodgers get: OF Manny Ramirez (from Red Sox)
Red Sox get: OF Jason Bay (from Pirates)
This was about as big a trade as you can get, with the rebuilding Pirates joining the blockbuster. Both the Dodgers and Red Sox were contenders who were looking to receive a push over the hump. Both Ramirez and Bay were superstar-caliber slugging outfielders, and LaRoche was an MLB-ready top prospect.
The Dodgers were 54-54 on Trade Deadline day, but only two games behind the D-backs for the NL West lead when they acquired Ramirez, who had fallen out of favor with the Red Sox front office. With Ramirez seemingly beginning to decline, the only reason for the Red Sox keeping him was gone. Probably thanks to motivation from being traded, Ramirez turned on his bat, propelling the Dodgers to the division crown by hitting .396/.489/.743 with 17 homers. They fell short of reaching the World Series, and Ramirez began declining with every year after.
Meanwhile, for Boston Bay replaced Ramirez in the lineup while slashing a great .293/.370/.527 and willing the Red Sox to a Wild Card berth before they lost to the Rays in the ALCS. He then followed that up with his last great year with an All-Star appearance, and left the following season for the Mets in free agency.
It was pretty much a win-win for all parties. The Dodgers traded away two prospects, with only one turning out to be solid at best, for a star outfielder that helped the team compete for the next couple of years. The Red Sox got rid of an expensive headache in Ramirez, and two prospects who were busts for a solid Manny replacement. The Pirates had the worst end of the trade; bringing in four prospects yet only hitting on one while trading away their star outfielder.
July 31, 2011 — Massive Three-Team Prospect Swap
The impetus behind the swap was the Red Sox’s need to add an arm to a rotation dealing with injuries. On the surface, the Red Sox looked to have struck a clever deal. Bedard had a 3.45 ERA, with more strikeouts than hits allowed prior to the trade. Yet despite his talent with the Mariners, Bedard made only eight starts for Boston, winning just once while posting a 4.03 ERA.
The prospect they received, Fields, turned out to be the best out of the six prospects that were moved in the deal. But unfortunately, he would only become a solid relief pitcher on a different team years later. Boston lost him during the rule five draft one year later, then he was traded to the Dodgers four years after. Ironically, it was with the Dodgers that he had a 2.57 ERA in 102 games during his final two seasons.
The Dodgers and Mariners were the worst off, with none of the prospects reaching any sort of MLB success. So while this trade didn’t have any long term impacts, the potential was very high with all the young talent being shuffled around.
Aug. 25, 2012 — Dodgers Look To Make Statement, Red Sox
This was a massive trade, with many moving parts. For one, it was completed after the Trade Deadline, meaning waiver-trade rules were in effect. You also had Gonzalez, Crawford and Beckett leaving the Sox, and they were all big names who signed big contracts with Boston within the previous couple years. It appeared like the Red Sox were going full rebuild, yet they would win the World Series a year later.
The Dodgers, under a new ownership group, looked to jump back into contention as soon as possible. Gonzalez would continue to shine for the Dodgers but remained slightly overpaid. Crawford, who returned from a season-ending injury the year before, had two more good seasons before age caught up. Lastly, Josh Beckett remained the overpaid starter that he was in Boston, and remained inconsistent for the dodgers over the next two years.
The Dodgers fell short of the postseason that year, but have made it through every year since 2013. So while Gonzalez was the only piece to provide real long-term production in LA, it’s hard to say it didn’t turn out ok for them. Especially since all they gave up was their starting first baseman, who wasn’t needed anymore, and four prospects.
The Red Sox, meanwhile, were in their worst season since 1965 and were looking to dump their absurdly large contracts. They got rid of a disgruntled star, injured outfielder, underperforming pitcher, and a bench player in order to loosen up their payroll. In return, the four prospects they brought in all turned to be busts, and the veteran first baseman left at the end of the season.
So while the Dodgers won the trade on paper, it simultaneously gave the Sox a window of opportunity to compete the following year. The front office used their newfound financial freedom to re-sign David Ortiz, and sign agents Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino, Stephen Drew, Ryan Dempster, David Ross, Jonny Gomes, and Koji Uehara in the following offseason. Almost all of them positively contributed to the team winning the World Series in 2013, so technically the trade did lead to a championship.