The Dodgers used $277 million and a series of smart trades to build one of the best teams ever

After beating the Cubs in the National League Championship Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers are back in the World Series for the first time since 1988.

That drought doesn't come close to the longest in MLB history, but after a lengthy period of sustained winning, but little postseason glory, the Dodgers are finally over the hump. With one of the wealthiest ownership groups in baseball, money has fueled much of their success, but the front office tandem of Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi is also one of the best in the business, demonstrating an uncanny ability to find impact players on the cheap.

With 473 wins over the past five seasons (including 104 in 2017 alone), these Dodgers are one of the most fearsome clubs in recent memory. Below, we take a look at how the team was assembled.

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How the Los Angeles Dodgers were assembled
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How the Los Angeles Dodgers were assembled

Andrew Friedman, president of baseball operations

When acquired: Prior to the 2015 season

How acquired: Hired by the Dodgers after resigning from his previous post with the Tampa Bay Rays.

2017 salary: ~$7 million, plus incentives

Contract: 5 years, $35 million

One thing to know: The Dodgers had deep pockets long before they installed the current regime, but it's Friedman who has done much of the work to create the front office's foward-thinking culture. The Tulane graduate cut his teeth as an executive with the small-market Tampa Bay Rays, with whom he was named Sporting News' Baseball Executive of the Year for 2008.

(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
Dave Roberts, manager

When acquired: Prior to the 2016 season

How acquired: Hired by the Dodgers after leaving his role as bench coach of the San Diego Padres

2017 salary: Unknown

Contract: 3 years, with a team option for a fourth

One thing to know: In just two seasons as a manager, Roberts has already earned wide respect throughout the game. The former outfielder was named 2016 National League Manager of the Year last fall, and he's known for his deft deployment of analytics as much as he's known for his rapport with the players.

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Corey Seager, shortstop

When acquired: 2012

How acquired: The 18th pick of the 2012 MLB Draft

2017 salary: $575,000

Contract: 1 year, $575,000. Seager will likely receive his first big raise in 2019 when he will be eligible for arbitration for the first time. He is not eligible for free agency until 2022.

One thing to know: Seager has quickly blossomed into one of the best all-around players in the game, but he might not even be the best shortstop from his draft class. Carlos Correa and Addison Russell were both selected ahead of him.

 (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Cody Bellinger, first baseman/outfielder

When acquired: 2013

How acquired: The 124th pick of the 2013 MLB Draft

2017 salary: $535,000

Contract: 1 year, $535,000. Bellinger will likely receive his first big raise in 2020 when he will be eligible for arbitration for the first time. He is not eligible for free agency until 2023.

One thing to know: Bellinger blasted 39 home runs in 2017, breaking Frank Robinson's 60-year-old record for a National League rookie in the process. He would have gained more attention if not for the rise of fellow slugging rookie Aaron Judge.

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Justin Turner, third baseman

When acquired: Prior to the 2014 season

How acquired: Free agent

2017 salary: $13 million

Contract: 4 years, $64 million

One thing to know: Turner's first five MLB seasons left him with a .260/.323/.361 line, but he reached a turning point when he bumped into then-Dodgers coach Tim Wallach at a Cal State Fullerton alumni game after the 2013 season. He's hit .303/.378/.502 since joining Los Angeles.

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Chris Taylor, outfielder

When acquired: During the 2016 season

How acquired: The Seattle Mariners traded Taylor to the Cubs in exchange for Zach Lee.

2017 salary: $535,000

Contract: 1 year, $535,000. Taylor will likely receive his first big raise in 2019 when he will be eligible for arbitration for the first time. He is not eligible for free agency until 2022.

One thing to know: In 120 games between 2014 and 2016, Taylor posted a .598 OPS, earning a reputation as a glove-first part-timer. He flipped that script on its head this season, smacking 21 home runs while batting leadoff in one of the National League's scarier lineups.

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Yasiel Puig, right fielder

When acquired: 2012

How acquired: Amateur free agent

2017 salary: $8.21 million

Contract: Seven years, $42 million. The Dodgers bought out most of Puig's arbitration-eligible years after he defected from Cuba in 2012. They'll have one additional year of team control before he hits free agency after the 2019 season.

One thing to know: Puig's erratic behavior and flair for the dramatic have strained his relationship with the Dodgers at times, but he played his way back into their good graces this year, posting his best season since 2014. He hit 28 home runs and stole 15 bases, ranking second on the team in both categories.

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Austin Barnes, catcher

When acquired: Prior to the 2015 season

How acquired: The Miami Marlins traded Barnes to the Dodgers along with Chris Hatcher, Andrew Heaney, and Kike Hernandez, in exchange for Dee Gordon, Dan Haren, Miguel Rojas, and cash.

2017 salary: $540,000

Contract: 1 year, $540,000. Barnes will likely receive his first big raise in 2020 when he will be eligible for arbitration for the first time. He is not eligible for free agency until 2023.

One thing to know: Barnes spent most of his youth as an infielder, but the Arizona State product stepped behind the plate when two of his college teammates became injured and quickly excelled in the role. Similarly, the 27 year old was never supposed to be the Dodgers' everyday catcher this year, but his talent spoke for itself, allowing him to slowly replace former All-Star Yasmani Grandal in the lineup.

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Yu Darvish, starting pitcher

When acquired: During the 2017 season

How acquired: The Texas Rangers traded Darvish to the Dodgers in exchange for A.J. Alexy, Brendon Davis, and Willie Calhoun.

2017 salary: $11 million

Contract: 6 years, $60 million. Darvish will be a first-time free agent this winter after finishing out his arbitration years.

One thing to know: Darvish provided a nice jolt after being acquired at the trade deadline, posting a 3.44 ERA and 61 strikeouts over nine starts down the stretch. The Dodgers were also linked to Sonny Gray and Justin Verlander.

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Rich Hill, starting pitcher

When acquired: During the 2016 season

How acquired: The Oakland Athletics traded Hill to the Dodgers along with Josh Reddick, in exchange for Grant Holmes, Jharel Cotton, and Frankie Montas.

2017 salary: $12.67 million

Contract: 3 years, $48 million

One thing to know: After a bizarre and well-known odyssey through baseball that took him to, among other places, the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League, Hill clawed his way back to MLB and has been terrific, posting a 2.65 ERA over the past three years. The Dodgers traded for him last summer and re-signed him over the offseason, guaranteeing him job security through age 39.

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Kenley Jansen, closer

When acquired: 2004

How acquired: Amateur free agent

2017 salary: $10.8 million.

Contract: 5 years, $80 million

One thing to know: Initially signed as a promising young catcher out of Curacao, Jansen has evolved into one of the most intimidating closers in the game, posting a 1.58 ERA over the past two seasons. He's been with the Dodgers organization for longer than any other current player, including the 35-year-old Andre Ethier.

 (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Clayton Kershaw, starting pitcher

When acquired: 2006

How acquired: The 7th pick of the 2006 MLB Draft

2017 salary: $35.6 million

Contract: 7 years, $215 million

One thing to know: While fellow premium arms Max Scherzer and Tim Lincecum also remained on the board, the Dodgers didn't face a very difficult decision when making their first selection of the 2006 draft. The left-handed Kershaw once struck out every batter in a perfect game he threw in high school.

 (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Kenta Maeda, starting pitcher

When acquired: Prior to the 2016 season

How acquired: Free agent

2017 salary: $3.1 million

Contract: 8 years, $25 million. Maeda's contract also includes a number of performance incentives for innings pitched and games started.

One thing to know: His incentives may be designed for a starting pitcher, but the Dodgers clearly feel comfortable using Maeda in any role — he's thrown five perfect innings out of the bullpen this postseason. Locked up through 2023, there's a good chance he'll be a part of Los Angeles' next contending team.

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Tony Watson, relief pitcher

When acquired: During the 2017 season

How acquired: The Pittsburgh Pirates traded Watson to the Dodgers in exchange for Oneil Cruz and Angel German.

2017 salary: $5.6 million

Contract: 1 year, $5.6 million. Watson will be a first-time free agent this winter after finishing out his arbitration years.

One thing to know: Watson increased his sinker usage after coming to the Dodgers at the trade deadline, and the results were immediate: his ground ball rate spiked to nearly 60 percent, allowing him to take full advantage of Los Angeles' above average infield defense. He's exactly the kind of lefty reliever they needed for a deep postseason run.

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Alex Wood, starting pitcher

When acquired: During the 2015 season

How acquired: The Atlanta Braves traded Wood to the Dodgers along with Bronson Arroyo, Luis Avilan, Jim Johnson, and Jose Peraza, in exchange for Zachary Bird, Hector Olivera, and Paco Rodriguez. The Marlins also traded players with both teams to complete the three-team deal.

2017 salary: $2.8 million.

Contract: 1 year, $2.8 million. Still in his arbitration years, Wood is in line for a big raise this winter, especially after posting a 2.72 ERA during the regular season.

One thing to know: The Dodgers acquired Wood in a complex deal that also netted them an assortment of barely useful players, Bronson Arroyo's contract, and exactly one prospect: Jose Peraza, flipped to the Reds for peanuts less than a year later. It just goes to show how Friedman's meticulous approach and careful analysis can lead to surprising value.

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Brandon Morrow, relief pitcher 

When acquired: Prior to the 2017 season

How acquired: Free agent

2017 salary: $1.25 million

Contract: 1 year, $1.25 million

One thing to know: After years of fighting through injuries while trying to stick as a starter, Morrow has become one of the Dodgers' most reliable arms out of the bullpen. Signed on the cheap last offseason, he'll be in line for a big payday this winter.

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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