While a narrative of Los Angeles Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman is that he’s unwilling to trade away prospects, the team’s recent dealings paint a much different picture. Where Friedman hasn’t wavered is in keeping prospects he’s bullish on.
That’s amounted to the Dodgers resisting trade proposals that involved parting with Corey Seager, Julio Urias, Cody Bellinger and Walker Buehler. The next wave of prospects that may enter that group is comprised of Keibert Ruiz and Alex Verdugo, among others.
Working against both youngsters, however, is the Dodgers have organizational depth at catcher and the outfield. Thus, Ruiz has been mentioned as a potential trade chip for Miami Marlins All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto; and Verdugo has drawn reported interest from the Cleveland Indians.
If the Dodgers were to trade Verdugo, it would not be for a lack of belief in him. Friedman recently praised the 22-year-old’s talent, via Jorge Castillo of the L.A. Times:
“Alex is a really good baseball player,” Friedman said. “He’s got really good instincts for the game. I think any time you’re talking about a prospect, there’s always risk in how those skills will translate to the major league level. But I think with him, it’s a much higher floor than most. With the bat-to-ball skills he has, feel for the game, the instincts and his ability to make adjustments on the fly.”
Verdugo spent the bulk of this past season with Triple-A Oklahoma City, where he hit .329/.391/.472 with 19 doubles, 10 home runs and 44 RBI in 91 games. It was a second consecutive season that saw him flourish with the affiliate.
After drawing praise and recognition during Spring Training for his maturation, Verdugo lived up to that billing in stints with the Dodgers this year. If the team is able to trade Matt Kemp or Yasiel Puig, it could leave Verdugo in a favorable position.
But a lack of takers for either of the older outfielders might force the Dodgers’ hand in trading Verdugo to fill another need.