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When the Boston Red Sox visit the Los Angeles Dodgers this weekend, the anniversary of the blockbuster trade the teams agreed upon last summer will remind us of how far both sides have come in rebuilding greatness.
The trade seemed incredibly one-sided on the surface, as the Dodgers received three significant big league players capable of making a difference in a close National League West race, while the Red Sox essentially gave themselves flexibility for a cloudy future.
Yet the Dodgers struggled at the close of last season despite their new weapons, while the Sox enjoyed a busy winter retooling the roster by signing players with the strategy of succeeding now while planning ahead.
Los Angeles utilized their checkbooks again in the offseason when they signed free agent starting pitcher Zack Greinke to join Clayton Kershaw at the top of a deep rotation. And while injuries plagued that depth over the first few months of the 2013 season, the Dodgers have surged of late all the way to the top of their division with an improbable run, which included a 42-8 record over 50 games.
The Dodgers have been successful because of their starting pitching, backed by the consistent play of Adrian Gonzalez and the exciting bats of both Hanley Ramirez and Yasiel Puig. Their best hitter, Matt Kemp, has played just 62 games this year because of injuries, though they expect him to return at some point in September in time for a potentially deep playoff run.
The Red Sox have become successful because of a combination of spending excessively on free agents this past offseason and the development of core players who have made large impacts, such as Felix Doubront. The team has also seen an MVP-caliber year out of Dustin Pedroia, and has a newfound sense of purpose after acquiring starter Jake Peavy.
All in all, the Red Sox and Dodgers are in good positions to not only reach the postseason, but compete for a World Series championship. The trade may go down as one of the best for both sides of the equation, as the two franchises are arguably the best teams in their respective leagues for now and into the future.