January in Major League Baseball is a month that the hot stove rumors continue to run hot. Moreover, many of these rumors discussed internally in front offices fail to ever come to fruition.

Michael Duarte of NBC Sports Los Angeles has been a long-time friend of Dodgers Nation (follow him on twitter here). Equally important, he is a well-tied in source with the Dodgers’ clubhouse.

On Wednesday evening, he reported that the club has a score of teams sniffing around the blue-chip prospect. However, it’s more of an ‘if’ scenario than a full rumor.

Duarte says that beyond Miami and Cleveland – Pittsburgh, Detroit, St. Louis, and the New York Mets hold interest in trading for Verdugo. The key here is the ‘if’ mentioned by Duarte. Los Angeles holds the cards in this hand, and we simply can’t know what they’re thinking.

At this stage, it’s more smoke than a smoldering fire. Still, it’s a situation worth monitoring on several fronts. Verdugo’s name has been mentioned all offseason. Equally important – if Verdugo is moved in a trade – the probability of Bryce Harper signing with Los Angeles moves up a tick. The Dodgers are unlikely to move an outfielder at this stage without a contingency plan in place.

Verdugo handled himself well in 2018 in 86 big league plate appearances. He hit .260 with a .706 OPS, which included six doubles.

Analysis

If the Dodgers move Alex Verdugo – it is a message that they’re simply not as high on his ceiling as some might guess. Other teams around baseball have high regard and interest in the 23-year old outfielder for a good reason. In watching him over limited big league appearances, he has a quiet and solid approach. He should develop into a player who has a solid big league career at worst. I label him as a ‘high floor’ ballplayer, and would be fine if he becomes an everyday outfielder for Los Angeles. However, if a deal is offered to Los Angeles that yields a valuable veteran; they must pull the trigger. How do you feel about the Dodgers possibly moving Verdugo in a trade and what would you want back?

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