I've decided to continue the tradition of stealing most of my good ideas by stealing yet another idea. This one comes courtesy of Really Awesome Things, a blog that occasionally writes about the Padres. In that post, the author looks at the Chris Young trade and tracks back exactly what trades it took to get the to that point. It turns out you need to go back to 1976 to track all the players needed to finally commit to the trade. Since I like charts, I decided to rip off this idea, to see the trades that lead up to this current Dodger team.
Since my artistic ability is surpassed only by my passion for proper grammar this chart is pretty confusing. Allow me to explain. Every player on the chart is a player that was required to get the players that we currently have on the team. Every player is placed in the year when he was acquired by the Dodgers. Every blue circle on the diagram represents a trade, where the blue circle is doesn't matter. A player that has an arrow going into the blue circle was traded by the Dodgers for the players with the arrow going away from the blue circle. If a player has no arrows pointing towards him, he was acquired by free agency or drafted. If a player has no arrows pointing away from him, he was released or lost to free agency.
The best part about this diagram is watching our good players turn into useless ones, seemingly by magic. Want to see Raul Mondesi get transmogrified into Mark Hendrickson? Now you can. How about Mike Piazza becoming Elmer Dessens? Just say "shazam" and you're there. Granted, it's not all bad. Going from Luke Allen, to Jason Romano, to Antonio Perez, all the way to Andre Ethier sure looks nice, as does the gradual shift from Matt Herges to Brad Penny.
The main thing this trade tree makes me wonder is "what the hell were we thinking in 1998?" Entering the season, the Dodgers had Mike Piazza, Todd Zeile, Hideo Nomo, Roger Cedeno and Brad Clontz. After the trade deadline, this became Gary Sheffield, Charles Johnson, Bobby Bonilla, Jim Eisenrich, Manuel Barrios, Dave Mlicki, Roger Cedeno and Brian Bohanon. By 1999, this was Sheffield, Todd Hundley, Robinson Checo, Aposto Garcia, Richard Roberts and Arnold Gooch. So effectively, the Dodgers managed to turn the best player in baseball and more into Sheffield, a catcher coming off a severe injury and a season where he OPSed .527 and a middle reliever. If you need a reason whey the late 90's early 2000's Dodgers were terrible, that pretty much covers it.
Finally, here's the net result off all of the Dodgers wheeling and dealing:
Dodgers trade Raul Mondesi, Mike Piazza, Matt Herges, Paul Lo Duca, Roger Cedeno, Todd Zeile, Hideo Nomo, Brad Clontz, Luke Allen, Pedro Borbon, Koyie Hill, Reggie Abercrombie, Franklin Guiterrez, Willy Aybar, Edwin Jackson, Chuck Tiffany, Juan Encarnacion, Duaner Sanchez, Steve Schmoll, Jhonny Nunez, Blake Johnson and Julio Pimental for Brad Penny, Elmer Dessens, Andre Ethier, Marlon Anderson, Mark Hendrickson and Danny Muegge.
While I doubt any team would come out ahead if you laid out their trade history like this, I have to believe that the Dodgers are somewhere near the bottom of the list.