By Jon Weisman
Tonight, Rubby De La Rosa faces the Dodgers for the first time, outside of batting practice or bullpen sessions before he was traded away in 2012.
Once a bigtime prospect for the Dodgers, De La Rosa technically left on October 4, 2012 with Jerry Sands as players to be named later in the August 25 deal that brought Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez and Nick Punto from Boston to Los Angeles. James Loney, Ivan DeJesus Jr. and Allen Webster had already departed Los Angeles that August.
Now 26, De La Rosa has a 4.57 ERA with 105 strikeouts and a 1.45 WHIP in 138 innings since leaving the Dodgers. His ERA is at 4.68 in 25 innings this season, though he does have 25 strikeouts against five walks and was fairly brilliant in his last outing, holding Pittsburgh to one run on four hits and no walks over seven innings while striking out eight.
It cost a bit of money, but so far, the Dodgers have come out ahead in that trade with the Red Sox — no matter what happens in tonight’s game. Here are the Wins Above Replacement totals since the trade for the players, according to Baseball Reference:
Lost: 1.7 WAR
0.2 De La Rosa
-0.3 De Jesus
Gained: 17.9 WAR
These numbers differ a bit on Fangraphs, but the gist is still the same. Webster in particular has struggled, with a 6.25 ERA and 5.9 K/9 in 89 1/3 Major League innings. Now in the Arizona organization with De La Rosa, Webster has a 19.29 ERA with Triple-A Reno through two starts, having allowed 15 runs and 22 baserunners in seven innings before hitting the disabled list.
What’s remarkable is that even if the Dodgers had only received Punto, who had a .335 on-base percentage and .325 slugging percentage in 378 plate appearances from late 2012 through the end of 2013, they still would have arguably won the trade to date. I wouldn’t make that argument necessarily, but still …