At the trade deadline in 2008, the Dodgers acquired the then Boston Red Sox legend Manny Ramirez in exchange for then-top prospects infielder Andy LaRoche and right-handed pitcher Bryan Morris.
Today's Lineup Card at @baseballpro is a fun one. Our staff looked back at some of history's most memorable trade deadline deals. My entries include Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers and Jose Quintana to the Cubs for Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease – https://t.co/sFC4NytaNf
— Collin Whitchurch (@cowhitchurch) July 24, 2019
The Dodgers were .500 at the time of the deal and were looking for the push they so desperately needed to get them to the playoffs. They hoped Manny Ramirez was the answer.
Looking back, they were right.
At the time of the trade in 2008, Ramirez was in the midst of a solid season for the Red Sox, but it was not even close to the production he would post for the Dodgers down the stretch. Prior to the trade, Ramirez held a stellar .301/.399/.528 batting line with a 141 wRC+. All-star caliber numbers.
However, from August 1 until the playoffs, Ramirez posted an absurd .396/.489/.743 batting line with an unprecedented 210 wRC+. He was phenomenal. Left field was renamed Mannywood and the Dodgers were off to the races. In 54 games with the Dodgers, Ramirez led the club to a 30-24 record to win the National League West.
The trade was a part of a larger three-team deal that sent outfielder Jason Bay to Boston.
The Moving Parts
LaRoche, a top prospect 24-year-old, was the biggest piece dealt for Mannywood. At the time, he was the Dodgers’ second-best prospect and was ranked 13th in Major League Baseball by Sports Illustrated and 33rd by MLB.com. He never amounted to anything. After crushing in the minors, LaRoche played just 404 career games for many different teams.. He only managed a 73 wRC+ and was a negative player on the field, shown by his -0.2 WAR mark for his career. The Dodgers did the right thing in dealing him. It created a legend.
Morris, 21 years old at the time of the deal, was the Dodgers’ first-round pick in 2006, selected 26th overall. He was a decent piece, but when he was dealt to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the three-team deal, he was viewed as no more than a back-end reliever in the long-term. Morris threw 236 career innings for multiple innings and hasn’t thrown a pitch in the majors since 2017, when he posted a 6.43 ERA with the San Francisco Giants. His lifetime ERA was 3.13, but the peripherals were not great, citing his -1.5 WAR lifetime.
It didn’t take the farm to create a Dodger legend. Even though the Dodgers did not make it past the eventual champion Philadelphia Phillies in 2008, it was a thrilling ride nonetheless. The deal was well worth it. The players the Dodgers sent out combined for -1.7 wins above replacement in their careers. That sounds like a win to me.