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With Dodgers Linked in Trade Rumors, Which Prospects are Untouchable?

Will Friedman stay “on brand” this winter?

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 05: Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Tony Gonsolin (46) and pitcher Dustin May (85) look on in the dugout during a MLB game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Los Angeles Dodgers on August 5, 2019 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

As the off-season hot stove heats up, the Dodgers continue to be connected to several big names, including Mookie Betts and Francisco Lindor on the trade market.

Assuming Andrew Friedman and company are interested in acquiring one of these stars, they will have to pay a significant price in the currency of prospects. With that in mind, let’s take a look at who should be considered “untouchable” in trade talks.

When attempting to figure out who the Dodgers may or may not move, it is best to look at Andrew Friedman’s trade history over the past few years. When doing so, a common theme occurs.

Whether it is Josh Reddick/Rich Hill in 2016, Yu Darvish in 2017, or Manny Machado in 2018, there is no arguing Andrew Friedman is not the “prospect hugger” some make him out to be. However, the pattern to recognize is who the Dodgers gave up in these deals in the context of their entire farm system.

In 2016, it was Jharel Cotton, Frankie Montas, and Grant Holmes. A solid group of pitchers, and Montas excelled this year before being busted with PED’s, but no real headliners. 

Looking at 2017, the Dodgers sent out Willie Calhoun. An impressive prospect at the time, but was better suited for the AL where he could be a DH. Again, not a needle-mover.

For 2018, the Dodgers traded to Baltimore a group of five players, headlined by a mid-top 100 prospect in Yusniel Diaz. A valuable asset, but not a top-of-the-line guy by any means.

In all of these trades, the Dodgers set several guys as off limits, and were more than open to dealing players beyond them. In 2014 Corey Seager was set off limits, Julio Urias in 2015, Cody Bellinger in 2016, Walker Buehler in 2017, Alex Verdugo in 2018, and this year, as we saw with the Felipe Vazquez negotiations, Dustin May and Gavin Lux.

While Mookie Betts and Francisco Lindor are franchise-altering talents, they also only have one and two years of team control, respectively. Lux and May have a combined twelve, while also costing much less.

No doubt, fans will want the Dodgers to pay whatever price necessary to get certain superstars, but Friedman’s history of setting one or two guys off limits has paid off thus far. How many fans wanted to trade Cody Bellinger for Brian Dozier? Or Corey Seager for Cole Hamels? Walker Buehler for Sonny Gray?

So Who’s Untouchable?

In looking back at the 2019 trade deadline you may more or less be able to figure out the front office’s list of prospects they will hold on to this off-season. And with that, it’s safe to say that Los Angeles would need to be blown out of the water to include Dustin May or Gavin Lux in any trades this winter.

 

Tony Gonsolin is likely right up there with May and Lux. And, while he’s no longer considered a prospect, Will Smith is already set as the club’s starting catcher for the 2020 season, so he’s not going anywhere.

Who Could Be Moved?

As for who the Dodgers would trade, Keibert Ruiz is a candidate to be a headliner in a package deal, especially with the breakout season of Will Smith. Pitching prospects Josiah Gray and Mitchell White made big strides in 2019, but could probably be had in the right move. Position players like Jeter Downs and DJ Peters as well.

The main takeaway is that Andrew Friedman has a very impressive trade history (Yordan Alvarez as the lone outlier) and one worth trusting. By keeping the top guys he is able to give the club its own, cost-controlled stars within, while still being aggressive by trading the second tier prospects.

Again, just don’t expect Lux or May to be moved in a deal. 

Written by Wyatt Asher

22 Comments

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  1. I agree with the author. Lux, Smith, Verdugo, May and Gonsolin probably not going anywhere. I will include Grey on that list. I believe the emergence of Smith may if they get an amazing offer make a trade for Ruiz possible as they have a couple of very young catchers coming up.
    I do not believe they will trade for Lindor as Seager is a fixture at SS.
    I am hoping they trade Pederson and Taylor to let new blood come up like Beaty, Ruis and Peters. We shall see it is the fun part of the Winter. See you in AZ for Spring…
    They may trade Ferguson, Stripling and or possibly Maeda. They have young guys such as May and Gonsolin they think highly of. And Urias will get Hills spot.
    An example of how good Friedman is look at the trade with the Reds. They have Grey and Downs coming up on the Farm and Grey is showing huge potential with Downs not far behind.

    • There was no emergence of Smith. It was a good month or so and then nothing including playoffs. We need to keep Ruiz for another year to see what Smith really is

      • Smith hit 15 HRs with an OPS+ of 134 (way above average) in 170 ABs. He cooled down the last 2 weeks of the season and didn’t do much in the playoffs although he came close to saving the team from Roberts in game 5. Most projections for 2020 have him hitting around 260 with 17 HRs. Seems reasonable and there’s nothing wrong with that from the catcher position.

        • Would those be the same projections that last year at this time had Barnes hitting .270 with 10-12 hrs? Yeah, I put a lot of stock in those. With ant guy who had a half season or so, it’s much safer to keep a quality replacement around in case it turns out to have been a fluke.

      • Are you an ex fan?
        You made a previous comment that you were not a Dodger fan
        Or were just upset?

  2. We don’t have to trade anyone if we use what we have most of and that’s money. Sign both Cole and Strasburg. If Rendon poses too much of an infield problem for the rest then pass on him but go sign a legit reliever or 2.

    • We would have to trade someone to make room for whoever we signed. So hope for a combination of the two. Get stronger thru a trade AND by getting the right free agent.

  3. No prospect is “untouchable” as it depends on the return. If Mookie Betts was under team control for 4+ years there is no doubt that the Dodgers would be willing to include top tier prospects in a trade. But, the Dodgers are not going to do something stupid and give up those types of prospects for one year of control; especially when one of the top run producers in MLB over the last 3 seasons, Anthony Rendon, is available for money, forfeiting a draft pick, and $500K of international bonus pool in 2020-21. Lindor as a run producer is not better than Seager – look up the stats for 2016, 2017, and 2019.

    • Problem with Seag is he is below average defensively and Lindor #1. That is a massive difference and helps pitching more than can seen by numbers. Imo Seager has had 2 critical injuries and will never be the same defensively. His playoff numbers are poor and he’s not really a lead off guy where Lindor is elite. Lindor bats right sorely needed and steals bases also a huge plus over Seager. If we get Lind it will improve the team in 5 or 6 areas in a big way.

    • SoCalBum I agree about untouchables. However I seriously doubt the Dodgers will sign Betts as do you. It would not be a smart move unless the Mets would give him up for a lesser prospect. As I stated I like Rendon a lot and think he would be a big upgrade but then what do you do with Lux? The Dodgers have the infield set for he future with the potential of Rios, Beaty, and others coming up Downs, Estevez etc. I believe they will start moving Turner to 1st. I would love to see them get Seager to play there which would move Lux to SS and let Muncy play 2nd. I believe they will sign Ryu and as others say that would possibly free up Gonsolin for a trade. I hope that Pederson and Taylor are traded to free up the Outfield and bench.

  4. Considering how many potential rotation arms they have and that they’re still rumored to be going after another top of the rotation arm, I’m not sure that Gonsolin is untouchable, but it would have to be a major trade. I don’t think they’d include him in a Betts trade for one year of control, or for a bullpen arm.

  5. Lindor, Lindor and Lindor. Scribble up a package of Gray and Seager, then put a bow on it. Betts would be a nice ‘get’ too. How about DJ Peters, Pederson and Ruiz to get that one done too? Add Mitchell White.

  6. Dodgers are stuck on offense! That is not the problem, keep hearing Moolkie Betts, Lindor, Dodgers need PITCHING! How about Cole! Need a dependable starter, Kershaw has proved that! A closer Jensen is not any more reliable than Kershaw, focus on PITCHING! The offense is set!

  7. It’ safe to say that dealing top prospects + MLB player or 2 for Betts is not good at all in the long run, as Betts WILL test the FA market. As far as trades, players who are moved MUST BE for a right return as has been said. Signing Rendon will cost $$ but no top prospects but I get the feeling that the Dodgers are not on his list of teams he would consider signing with.

    • I believe Rendon stays with the Nats. The WS championship cemented that the Dodgers will kick the tires but their fiscal philosophy has not yielded crazy long term contracts thankfully. The Phillies are stuck with Harper way past his prime look at the Angels with Pujos those contracts are not smart in a business sense and baseball is a Business.
      I think the Dodgers sign Ryu and make some minor moves and that will be all as they are still transitioning a bunch of rookies from 2019 in Smith, Lux, Verdugo, Beaty, May, Gonsolin and possibly Rios.
      I hope they trade Taylor and Pederson to make room for new blood. They are saying they will move Ferguson to short relief which is great as he has great stuff. They may decide to move Stripling or Maeda depending on their projections on May and Gonsolin.

  8. First of all there was no way Alvarez was going to see much time on the Dodger MLB team….All he can play is a weak first….he is suited for the AL, where ,so far, he had done fine…although it seemed he was on fire first half of his games played then cooled off, so let’s just wish him well as he would be a draft 5 loss by now if he had stayed…

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