The big splash everyone’s been waiting for finally came, with Mookie Betts (and a decidedly less expensive David Price) headed to Los Angeles.
We react to the news of not only the Betts trade, but also the side deal sending Joc Pederson and Ross Stripling to the Angels (neither of which hadn’t been fully completed at the time of recording). The competitive balance tax loomed large for not only the Red Sox but the Dodgers as well in these moves, but also by trading away four major leaguers rather than prospects, a few runways were cleared for several young players in Los Angeles.
With Betts on board, we also take a look at the uninspiring performance of previous Dodgers to wear uniform number 50, a group that most recently included Jaime Schultz.
Inspired by a tweet from Jon Weisman, we take a look at Hall of Fame shortstop Arky Vaughan, who was acquired by Brooklyn a few months before his 30th birthday. With a whopping 64 WAR with Pittsburgh, Vaughan is the most accomplished under-30 Dodgers trade acquisition. Betts, at 42 WAR, is second.
The Dodgers acquired Vaughan the winter after snapping a 21-year World Series drought with a 100-win season in 1941. With Vaughan, they won 104 games in 1942 but finished behind the Cardinals. Vaughan missed three seasons from 1944-46 but it wasn’t because of World War II. It was because he was pissed at Leo Durocher, the manager Vaughan told to “Take this uniform and shove it right up your ass.”
The way Vaughan was beloved as a veteran, plus his lack of support in MVP voting in his prime, he seems an awful lot like Chase Utley. I wonder if Utley will do better than 29% on the writers’ ballot for the Hall of Fame, which was Vaughan’s peak. Vaughan was eventually inducted into Cooperstown by the veterans’ committee in 1985, which was 33 years after he died.
Related: Vaughan’s SABR bio
Episode link (time: 1:02:56)