Los Angeles Dodgers: Don’t be shocked if Alex Wood is traded

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 27: Alex Wood #57 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches in the first inning of the game against the Chicago Cubs at Dodger Stadium on June 27, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 27: Alex Wood #57 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches in the first inning of the game against the Chicago Cubs at Dodger Stadium on June 27, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /

The Los Angeles Dodgers have not made any big moves yet but there has been plenty of speculation. This all is potentially leading to an Alex Wood trade.

There are no reports or rumors that the Los Angeles Dodgers are shopping Alex Wood, we want to make that clear. This is not us reporting anything that Ken Rosenthal or any other baseball insider doesn’t know. This is simply our speculation after all of the other potential moves on the table for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The biggest rumors surrounding the Los Angeles Dodgers is that the team is working on a trade focused around Corey Kluber and Yasiel Puig. The Indians need quality outfielders and will never get more value out of Kluber than they would now.

The Dodgers, meanwhile, have a surplus of outfielders that is only going to grow longer with top prospect Alex Verdugo being big league ready in 2019. Puig makes the most sense to trade. He is a quality outfielder with all-star capability and is a free agent after this year.

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If the Dodgers have no plans of signing him after this season, it makes a ton of sense to build a package around him for an elite arm to a team that is willing to extend him.

Of course, there will also be prospects included in this deal and the Dodgers might even get a catcher in return in Yan Gomes. This would help free up some salary for the Indians, would give the Dodgers a nice platoonmate alongside Austin Barnes and is someone that has a club option after the next two seasons.

The pitching rumors don’t stop there as the Dodgers were reportedly very close to signing former Los Angeles Angel Garrett Richards before the San Diego Padres swooped in with a better deal.

Richards, at his best, is great but is also injury-prone and the Dodgers don’t really need to add starting pitching unless it is an elite arm like Kluber.

Right now, the Dodgers have Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Rich Hill, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Alex Wood and Julio Urias as options to fill out the starting rotation. And while we have preached that a six-man rotation would be great for LA, adding Richards wouldn’t be a huge upgrade and would force Urias and/or Wood to the bullpen, which can hurt their production.

I understand wanting to protect Julio Urias’ arm but there is a huge difference between preparation as a reliever and as a starter. The Dodgers can run a six-man rotation and hold him to 90 pitches each start and he will get more than enough rest.

With that in mind, I think the Dodgers have a plan to get rid of one of the starting pitchers to make room for a new arm. And while you could make the case that Rich Hill could be traded, as he is an expiring contract anyways, I think that Alex Wood is the guy on the block.

Wood had a setback year in 2018 but still has some nice trade value. While he is also a free agent after 2019, his arbitration number is going to be significantly less than Hill’s contract next year.

Plus, he showed in 2017 that he has the stuff to be an elite pitcher and showed glimpses of it in 2018. In 2018, Wood just never seemed to get in a rhythm and I think moving him from the rotation to the bullpen hurt his preparation and production.

I’m sure the Dodgers would be willing to keep Wood around if he was proficient in the bullpen but the transition did not favor him as much as it favored Kenta Maeda. Wood had a 4.91 ERA out of the bullpen in limited regular-season appearances and a 6.75 ERA out of the bullpen in October.

That transition obviously was not great but Wood might not even have a spot in the rotation, especially if the Dodgers are already trying to add pitchers. Being the odd man out, Wood becomes the best guy to include in a package that can help the team in an area of need.

Heck, maybe he is part of the Puig-Kluber deal. If not that, maybe he is sent to Pittsburgh in return for catcher Francisco Cervelli if the Dodgers don’t get Gomes from Cleveland. Maybe he could even be sent to the Reds in a package for Scooter Gennett, or the Mariners in a package for Dee Gordon.

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The opportunities are endless for what the Los Angeles Dodgers can do with Alex Wood and I think that is what makes him a candidate to get traded this winter.