After everything being free-agent focused in the news cycle over the last few days, Jim Bowden over at The Athletic offered Dodgers fans an opportunity to revisit a trade concept from earlier in the winter.
— Jim Bowden (@JimBowdenGM) December 5, 2019
A few weeks ago, Cleveland Indians’ star Francisco Lindor was the cock of the walk when it came to off-season targets for Los Angeles. And on paper — when doodling your potential 2020 Dodgers lineup — Frankie started to make a lot of sense.
However every trade comes with a price, and as we’ve seen recently, “experts” might not have a great knowledge of the Dodgers’ farm system when it comes to assessing return value in a transaction.
Now — finally — a reasonable looking trade scenario comes to us from (surprise) a former MLB General Manager. Yes, Jim Bowden took to task analyzing deals for all 30 clubs that would help make the upcoming Winter Meetings an exciting affair.
Here’s what he had to say about the Dodgers:
Trade shortstop Gavin Lux, outfielder Joc Pederson and right-handed pitcher Ross Stripling to the Indians in exchange for Francisco Lindor.
Lindor is one of the best overall players in baseball; he can hit for average and power and is an elite defender. Lindor has a Magic Johnson-caliber smile and would look great on LA billboards alongside Cody Bellinger. The price to get him would be steep, but worth it — especially since the Dodgers have the resources to sign him long-term.
Right off the bat, I do not hate this trade. Cleveland is only moving its star player if it gets back a player that could have star potential in the future. If any current young Dodger has that potential, it is Gavin Lux.
With Lux, yes the potential is there, but Lindor is already there now. The Dodgers are at a crossroads where no longer can they get away with waiting for the rookies to get them there. After back to back World Series losses, and a first-round playoff exit, the fan base is uneasy and unhappy. As much as people would love to see Gavin grow up in Los Angeles, he’s the perfect fit in a trade for an established star.
You know the numbers on Lindor (career .288/.347/.840 slash line while averaging 29 home runs per season). You also know that he’s coming up on free agency soon, and will be looking for an elite payday.
As Bowden noted, LA has the resources to sign him long term, easing the blow of losing someone that could be great and cheap for the next few years.
Not to be forgotten, Bowden includes Joc Pederson and Ross Stripling in his trade package. With Joc, he’s already the subject of trade talks this winter. Moreover, he’s coming up on his final season of team control and there’s zero chance that the Dodgers make an attempt to re-sign him. And with him projected to earn about $8.5M in his final arbitration year, he’s very unlikely to be extended a $17.8M Qualifying Offer meaning you would lose him for nothing next off-season.
With Ross Stripling, as much as you’d hate to see him go, the guy deserves a chance to be in a starting rotation somewhere. As the Dodgers continue to manipulate him around the pitching staff — and Ross being forever the I’ll do whatever the team asks kind of guy — not only are they stunting his growth as a pitcher, they are also severely affecting his future earnings.
The unfortunate part of baseball is that you have to trade something of value to get something of value, and in this trade scenario, it’s a win-win for both sides.