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Dodgers: Pedro Martinez Trade Ranked As the Worst in Team History

Out of every move, this one stands alone in terms of ultimate blunders.



Hot Stove season is officially upon us. And while it’s always fun to daydream about the big pieces your Dodgers could end up with, there should also be some hesitancy. Los Angeles fans know all too well that trading away talent can often result in long-term regret. 

The Athletic recently released their rankings of the worst trades in franchise history for every MLB team. Dodgers fans can probably think back to 2-3 in recent memory that still keep them up at night thinking about what could have been. For that, you can reference the Mike Piazza debacle or the Casey Blake acquisition. 

But it was not either of those moves that made the list for the Dodgers’ worst trade in franchise history. Instead, it was the infamous Pedro Martinez swap that sent the future Hall of Fame pitcher to the Montreal Expos in 1993. 

The Dodgers shipped off the then 21-year-old setup man to Montreal in exchange for the speedy Delino DeShields. Los Angeles would keep DeShields around for 3 years in which he never was able to put up league-average numbers aside from the 114 stolen bases. DeShields later walked away in free agency while Martinez would go on to become one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history. 

So why would they make the move? Well, there really isn’t a great answer to that. DeShields had put up decent numbers in Montreal and managed to swipe 187 bases in 4 years. Dodgers GM Fred Claire wanted to add speed to the lineup and also fill a void left at second base after missing out on Jody Reed.

Meanwhile, Martinez had put up pretty good numbers in his first full season with the Dodgers. It’s tough to tell what you’re going to get long-term from a young pitcher, but his stuff would have had to raise concern even at the time of the trade. I guess we’ll never know what could have been. 

All of that to say, be careful what you wish for on the trade market this year. 

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Written by Brook Smith

Brook is the Senior Editor of Dodgers Nation, with several years of experience in sports journalism. He is an avid Dodgers and Lakers fan, and can be spotted fairly often at Dodger Stadium and Staples Center.

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  1. I’d have to agree as far as trades go, but failing to protect Roberto Clemente from the rule 5 draft turned out to be bigger mistake!

  2. I always thought that the Piazza deal was worse. You can’t tell what you were going to get in the future about Pedro, But Mike was known what we had at the time

  3. We don’t have to be careful what we wish for. Our wishes or ideas aren’t going to make Friedman make a bad move.

  4. I agree.The Clemente ordeal was worse. Imagine him throughout his career with the Dodgers he would have teamed up with.The overall outcome would’ve been favorably unreal franchise and obviously fan wise.

  5. From what I remember, Pedro Martinez was traded because Tommy Lasorda just did not see him doing anything significant as a Dodger reliever. He was used as a reliever, and was a bit wild (about 4.8 BB per 9 innings). He was 10-5 and a 2.61 ERA, but did not impress Tommy Lasorda, who I guess was expecting him to be more like his brother Ramon Martinez was as a Dodger, who had already had a 20 win season by this time. So, he was traded, and became, for other teams, what Ramon was supposed to be and didn’t. So, Pedro is in the Hall of Fame, and Ramon is a pleasant memory, at most, among diligent Dodger fans.

      • Yes Tommy did say that. Also Pedro was to thin and would not be able to pitch in the summer time. Also the greed of Jody Reed made the team look for a replacement 2nd baseman. The Expos had Delino available and the rest is bad history for the Dodgers.

    • How unfortunate that he was calling all the shots as if he’s an expert on these matters. Let’s feel fortunate that we have qualified people looking at our young players now

  6. None other than the world renowned, Dr. Frank Jobe warned the Dodgers that Pedro’s slight build would probably not hold up over time, so I give Claire a little wiggle room. DD just never lived up to his hype after the trade. If Jody Reed didn’t turn down a guaranteed 3-year contact for appx. $8M (later signed a crappy, 1-yr deal with the Brewers), Dodgers wouldn’t have been in this position in the first place.

    • I think it was stupid anyway. If speed was the main reason they could’ve gotten someone for cheaper if they really needed a speedster 2B. Instead they went for a player who’s value demanded a guy like Pedro. They had Piazza Karros and Mondesi for power with decent hitters on the rest of the lineup, if speed was the only need, like I said they could’ve gotten anybody with it. You don’t trade pitching like that especially for such a ridiculous “need” as if that was going to put them over the top. Imagine a rotation of Ramon, Pedro, Nomo, and Valdez for the postseason. They could’ve stood a chance against the Braves

  7. Mr smith, I think you must not have been there because you were too young. When the Dodgers brought Pedro up briefly, they already had Ramon as an established star starting pitcher and had been experimenting with the next oldest brother, left handed Jesus, as another potential starter. My best educated guess is that they realized they couldn’t have three brothers among the five starters because the novelty of having a Martinez brother pitch would wear off quickly. So they traded away Pedro because among other things, he was a scrawny 5’10 pitcher and that’s being generous. No one thought he could put in weight and go long innings as a starter…and the rest is history! Jesus failed and sadly, Ramon blew out his arm by pitching in the All Star game on two days rest after a long start—the last time the Dodgers will ever allow that to happen again. So sadly in a few years, the Dodgers had no more great Nartinez starter and could only watch from a distance as Speedo dominated baseball fir the next 12+ years. Oh and one more thing, I don’t know where he learned it but Pedro went in to add one of the best change ups anyone will ever throw—a pitch that dived sharply down and to the right about 18 inches right as it got to home plate. Amazing…and that is the story of Pedro Martinez. The best Dodger right handed arm I will ever see (and that could have been) and I saw Drysdale! Altogether he is a close second to Koufax for best Dodger arm of all time, in my opinion.

  8. Clemente was one of the greatest of all time, but he never played a big league game for the Dodgers. He was traded out if the minor league system. Pedro Martinez was traded by the big team after two years of proving himself. To add insult to injury the Dodgers kept his older brother Ramon for years before and after that. Ramon was an OK pitcher. Pedro was very good, and became great. We should have kept Pedro and traded Ramon. Trading Pedro wins the award for the worst move ever by the Dodgers. He had many years of greatness after leaving the Dodgers.

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