Prior to the holiday season, the Los Angeles Dodgers orchestrated a salary-motivated trade with the Cincinnati Reds that saw outfielders Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig, pitcher Alex Wood and catcher Kyle Farmer depart the organization.
The blockbuster netted Los Angeles two-well regarded prospects in Jeter Downs and Josiah Gray, as well as further payroll flexibility for a potential pursuit of top free agent Bryce Harper.
Another notable swap nearly went down at the Winter Meetings when the Dodgers were reportedly close to dealing right-hander Ross Stripling to the Pittsburgh Pirates for catcher Francisco Cervelli.
The hypothetical trade would’ve solved yet another major offseason goal for the Dodgers, as they continue to seek stopgap options at the catcher position.
During an appearance on MLB Network’s Hot Stove, Stripling revealed that he was caught off guard by his name being floated around in trade rumors, but eventually came to terms with the realization that no player is untouchable, via MLB.com:
“You kind of try and stay even keeled with it. You’ll get tagged with stuff on Instagram, like for instance, I was in Dubai — they’re 12 hours ahead — and I woke up with a bunch of texts saying I had just gotten traded to the Pirates for Cervalli. You kind of have a little bit of a shock. You don’t really know whether or not to believe it. You keep reading and see the trade fell through. And then you’re like, ‘Oh man, I guess I can get traded like anyone else can.’ Obviously the big trade we made with the Reds, I lost my roommates in Alex Wood and Kyle Farmer, so now I have to find some new roommates (for Spring Training). I think that just shows you it’s a business. We understand that, but at the end of the day you trust that Andrew Friedman and those guys are making great decisions for your squad and they’re going to clear up some money to go sign some guys like Bryce Harper or turn those prospects around for guys like Corey Kluber. You pay attention to it but you try not to let it affect you, just go about your business and show up to Spring Training ready to go no matter who your teammates are.”
While it remains to be seen if the Dodgers and Pirates reengage in trade discussions later down the road, one can safely assume that Los Angeles isn’t finished pursuing catching upgrades.
The team continues to be linked to Miami Marlins All-Star J.T. Realmuto despite the exorbitant asking price placed on him.
Should Realmuto stay put with the Marlins or get traded elsewhere, the Dodgers could ultimately pivot back to a familiar face in free agent Yasmani Grandal, who remains on the open market after turning down a four-year contract offer from the New York Mets.