Dodgers' trade with Red Sox didn't produce desired results

Stephen Dunn - Getty Images

Part of a two-part argument of whether or not the Dodgers' blockbuster nine-player trade with the Red Sox was a good idea.

In their first 28 games since adding Adrian Gonzalez from the Red Sox, the scored two runs or less 14 times.

Team chemistry is hokum, but clearly something went wrong after Gonzalez came over. Just focusing on how he’s played for the Dodgers, with the Red Sox he had a wins above replacement average of 2.6, while for the Dodgers he’s at a lowly 0.7.

While Gonzalez certainly sold a bunch of t-shirts, the Dodgers could have gotten similar production from James Loney without having to completely redesign the starting lineup midseason. That Loney needed to be replaced is beyond argument, but it should have been done at the trade deadline or two years ago.

Other additions have also underperformed. Shane Victorino has earned the scorn of many a Dodger fan, even though he’s performed at a similar level to when he was with Philadelphia. Hanley Ramirez is probably the biggest success, outperforming his WAR with the Marlins but still sitting below a WAR of 1.

Don’t call it team chemistry; call it a group of mercenaries who have under performed since being called to duty. Specifically Gonzalez needed to play at an all-star level, and he simply didn’t. That Shane Victorino gave the best performance out of all the players the Dodgers got out of this trade is telling.

Gonzalez’s batting average on balls in play is up from what he was doing in Boston, from .329 to .348. However, his batting average is down and his strikeout percentage since coming to LA is up almost a third. His walk rate is up, and his line drive rate is up.

Do you chalk it up to a new ballpark that favors pitchers? That wouldn’t explain why the Dodgers are failing to hit on the road as well. It was probably crazy to expect Matt Kemp to continue hitting at the phenomenal clip he did last year, but I think it goes a way to explain just how universal the meltdown has been.

The trade resulted in the Dodgers taking on a great deal in contracts, and clearly it wasn’t enough to boost them into the postseason this year. If these players cannot bounce back to career norms next year, this could be a bust on the level of trading a first and second round pick to get Carson Palmer.

"I believed we would make the playoffs with the club we left with. We didn't end up with that club. It's a totally different look, and many people would say a better look, and I don't disagree," manager Don Mattingly said on Wednesday.
"You just can't help but be disappointed."

What’s the good of a post-deadline trade that doesn’t boost the team into the playoffs? All the Dodgers did is clear some cap room for the Red Sox while hamstringing their ability to make moves in the offseason. That the Giants could lose Melky Cabrera and still win the division, while the Dodgers gain Adrian Gonzalez and miss the playoffs is unthinkable.

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