The Los Angeles Dodgers and Cleveland Indians have been connected in trade talks. While we know who might be a target of interest, a potential deal seems far away.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are going to be somewhat busy this offseason despite not making any big moves of significance thus far through November. Despite the lack of movement, the speculation around the Dodgers leads us to think that the team is planning something big.
The biggest target for the Dodgers seems to be J.T. Realmuto. However, with a likely hefty asking price and a decent farm system, it makes more sense for LA to stay away from Realmuto.
Let’s also not forget about Manny Machado and Bryce Harper, the two megastars of the offseason that both have ties to the Dodgers. While LA might not be the favorite landing spot for either guy, the Dodgers certainly are a real contender.
However, out of all the speculation surrounding the Los Angeles Dodgers, the connection with the Cleveland Indians seems to be the most prominent and the most likely to result in an actual move.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported that the two sides have been involved in various different trade discussions. Surrounding all of the trade discussions has been the Indians’ starting pitching and Yan Gomes and the Dodgers outfield surplus.
The Dodgers could definitely use Yan Gomes to serve as a platoon partner with Austin Barnes and the Cleveland Indians need help in the outfield. Naturally, the two sides seem like perfect trade partners.
I think these reports have a lot of merit and that no matter what else happens this offseason, the Dodgers and Indians will strike a deal. Here is the ideal trade I would like to see for the Dodgers.
This is a pretty big trade, one of the biggest in recent MLB history if it were to go through.
While the Los Angeles Dodgers could certainly use any of the right-handed trio that the Indians have to offer (Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco or Mike Clevinger), the Dodgers targetting the best of the bunch would be a recipe for World Series success next season.
The biggest thing the Indians need is outfielders, in this trade package the team is receiving three. Headlined by Alex Verdugo, the Indians would be getting one of the best prospects in all of baseball that is undoubtedly ready to become an everyday player in 2019.
Verdugo is the seventh-best outfield prospect in baseball, per MLB Pipeline, and hit .329 in AAA last season. He might not have a massive amount of pop but Verdugo can slug up to 15 home runs while being a reliable top of the order guy that can steal bases and provides elite defense.
Next in the deal is Matt Kemp, who would give the Indians a power-hitting option to go to on the bench or even at designated hitter. Kemp is a free agent after this season, so he does not restrict the team long-term and including him in this deal softens the Dodgers’ payroll with Kluber set to make $15.2 million.
Next is Will Smith, the Dodgers second-best catching prospect and the eighth-best catching prospect in all of baseball. Smith is a borderline elite prospect to acquire and is someone the Dodgers can undoubtedly afford to move with Keibert Ruiz.
The final two pieces are a pair of players that spent time in single-A last season and are a few years from being big league ready. Dustin May has emerged as the Dodgers top pitching prospect and Jeren Kendall was the team’s first-round pick in 2017.
May has elite stuff but is still likely two years away from pitching in the majors. With a young rotation headed by Walker Buehler and Julio Urias at that time, the Dodgers can afford to deal May and rely on the other prospects in the organization.
Kendall struggled in his first professional season but is great defensively and has elite speed. If he can quicken his hands to catch up to big league hitting he could easily be a 30 doubles, 30 stolen bases guy at the big league level.
That is a lot to send but the Dodgers are getting a lot in return. Yan Gomes was an all-star last season and with club options over the next two years, allows the Dodgers to determine the fate.
Meanwhile, the team would also acquire Kluber, who is one of the most dominant pitchers in the league and would be borderline unhittable in the National League. That would give the Dodgers a trio of Clayton Kershaw, Kluber and Buehler headlining a rotation that could run six-men deep next year.
Losing Verdugo and Kemp is not a huge deal. The team has Joc Pederson and Andrew Toles as potential left-handed hitting bats in the outfield and could even play Cody Bellinger in center to make space for Max Muncy at first.
This deal actually has a positive impact on the offense with the addition of Gomes and has a massively positive impact on the starting rotation.
The Los Angeles Dodgers could field one of the most dominant starting rotations of recent memory that, when it is all at full strength, can easily carry the team to its first World Series win in 31 years.