The Dodgers’ transformation of sunk-cost Noah Syndergaard into a trade asset was witchcraft

The Dodgers found a trading partner for Noah Syndergaard… and received something valuable in return.

Andrew Friedman dug himself a hole, vanished into the casket, then reappeared in magnificent style. Friedman and the Los Angeles Dodgers converted a disaster into a starting shortstop after spending $13 million on Noah Syndergaard, one of the worst free agency moves of the winter.

The Dodgers traded Syndergaard to the Cleveland Guardians on Wednesday night in exchange for Amed Rosario. Rosario, who was formerly thought to be a sought-after free agent shortstop, slipped off the radar in 2023 and appeared to be no longer an asset.

However, the veteran has improved dramatically in his last 45 games. After a rough start to the season, he’s hitting.300 with a.750 OPS in June and July. He has 45 hits and 27 RBI in his last five games, and he appears to be a lot more appropriate, starting-caliber shortstop for a Dodgers team that desperately needs one.

His defense, on the other hand, has been a huge issue. He has a -1.1 dWAR, sits in the bottom 1 percentile in outs above average, and has a -15 Defensive Runs Saved.

Not at all good. After all that he put the Dodgers through in the first half, his presence is still enormously more significant than Syndergaard’s.

Dodgers trade Noah Syndergaard for Guardians shortstop Amed Rosario

Rosario is no savior, but the fact that the Dodgers were able to receive anything of significance in exchange for Syndergaard adds to the excitement. The right-hander, who hasn’t worked since early June, is 1-4 with a 7.16 ERA, 5.54 FIP, and 1.45 WHIP in 12 starts (55.1 innings) with 38 strikeouts.

Even if Syndergaard was only making a fraction of what he was owed, he appeared to be a surefire sunk cost who, at best, could’ve persuaded a team to eat the rest of his contract in a much lower deal.

Instead, the Dodgers released a losing pitcher who was occupying a 40-man roster spot and discovered a better everyday shortstop alternative than Miguel Rojas (remember, Rosario can also play outfield if necessary, so that might be part of the Dodgers’ plans).

It’s easy to forget the series loss to the Blue Jays, which was difficult to digest for a variety of reasons. On the plus side, the Dodgers have already made two smart changes to improve their lineup, both offensively and defensively.

It’s now time to focus on the pitching staff. If Friedman’s acquisitions of Kiké Hernandez and Rosario teach us anything, it’s that he’s far from done being inventive in improving the rotation and bullpen.