The Los Angeles Dodgers and Cleveland Indians have been linked in trade talks all winter as both teams have an excess of what the other needs.
The Indians are looking to acquire an outfielder, and are willing to part with two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber to do so. The Dodgers, on the other hand, have too many outfielders currently on their roster and are looking to make upgrades to their pitching staff.
Because of that, it came as no surprise on Monday morning when it was reported that trade talks between the two teams have intensified at the Winter Meetings.
Jon Morosi of MLB.com has shed some more light on what a potential return to the Indians for Kluber would look like, reporting that Cleveland is interested in the Dodgers’ top prospect, outfielder Alex Verdugo:
Source: #Indians interested in #Dodgers OF Alex Verdugo as part of Corey Kluber trade talks. Cleveland is looking for outfield bats, and Verdugo is the Dodgers' top prospect, according to @MLBPipeline. @MLB @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 10, 2018
Cleveland having interest in Verdugo makes complete sense as he is not only the Dodgers’ top prospect but one of the top prospect in all of baseball. Additionally, he will be ready to make an impact at the Major League level in 2019, so that would help the Indians stay in contention in the American League Central.
Verdugo played in 37 games for the Dodgers in 2018, hitting .260/.329/.377 with six doubles, a home run and four RBI.
He spent a majority of the season with Triple-A Oklahoma City where he slashed .329/.391/.472 with 19 doubles, 10 home runs and 44 RBI in 91 games.
Given the Dodgers depth in the outfielder, Verdugo would have to beat out the likes of Yasiel Puig, Joc Pederson, Matt Kemp, Cody Bellinger, Chris Taylor, Kiké Hernandez and Andrew Toles to earn a starting spot in 2019, which makes him a bit more expandable to acquire a pitcher of Kluber’s caliber.