Manager Dave Roberts recalls the pain of being traded by the Dodgers

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts watches from the dugout steps during the sixth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh on May 25.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was traded by the team to Boston during the 2004 season and it caught him by surprise.
(Gene J. Puskar / Associated Press)

Dave Roberts vividly remembers the one time he was dealt at the trade deadline. The 15-year anniversary is Wednesday, the day of this season’s deadline. He was an outfielder on the 2004 Dodgers. They were in first place and he was happy. He didn’t see the move coming.

The club sent him to the Boston Red Sox for minor leaguer Henri Stanley. He was shocked. He cried. His wife was pregnant with their daughter and he was uprooting the family to move to the opposite coast. His life was rocked.

“Those are things that people can’t discount, but it’s part of our business,” Roberts said. “But that was a big blow for me.”

It ended up working out for Roberts. He became revered in New England for sparking Boston’s improbable run to their World Series title with his gutsy steal of second base against the New York Yankees in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series. His time in Boston was brief. He was traded to the San Diego Padres that offseason, an easier pill to swallow for the San Diego native. Fifteen years later, he can look back on that midseason trade fondly. In the moment, it hurt.


“It was hard because I wasn’t expecting it,” Roberts said. “I was blindsided.”

The Dodgers must acquire an elite reliever to maximize their chances of winning their first World Series since 1988, even if it means dealing top prospects.

The Dodgers are expected to execute a trade before Wednesday’s 1 p.m. PDT deadline, which will pass when they’re on the field for their series finale against the Colorado Rockies. They’re in the market for pitching and aren’t expected to trade from their major league roster. But not everything happens as expected.

“There’s anxiety because you don’t know,” Roberts said. “You hear your name circulating and things like that. So, there’s a lot of things you try to drown out but guys are humans and it kind of seeps into your thought, but when it does happen, some players are excited because they go to a contender. Some players are disappointed. But it’s always tough. It’s a tough time of year.”


It was Ross Stripling’s turn to start Tuesday, but he was put on the injured list Sunday, forcing the Dodgers to fill his void in the rotation. They did it with Julio Urias. The club will need to find a replacement at least one more time, Roberts said.

Stripling exited his start last Wednesday after five innings because of a neck injury, but he landed on the IL with what the Dodgers labeled right biceps tendinitis. He played catch from 90 feet at Coors Field on Tuesday and was “pain free,” according to Roberts, but the progress isn’t enough for him to make a start the next time through the rotation.

“We’re going to err on the side of caution, which we typically do, but today was a good day for Ross,” Roberts said.


Will Smith will start at catcher Wednesday, marking the first time he will catch Hyun-Jin Ryu. Russell Martin has essentially become Ryu’s personal catcher, but Roberts wants to give Smith experience with every pitcher on the staff. ... Michael Busch, one of the Dodgers’ two first-round picks in June’s draft, was recently put on Class-A Great Lakes’ IL because of a right hand injury after getting hit by a pitch. He’s expected to be sidelined about four weeks. The minor league season ends Sept. 6.