With the trade deadline approaching, Dodgers’ top OF prospect Alex Verdugo has been the subject of trade talks lately, but I am going to tell you why the Dodgers shouldn’t trade him anytime soon.
Verdugo, 21, was a 2nd round pick in the 2014 MLB amateur draft out of Sahuaro High School in Tucson, Arizona. The latest rumor today involved the Padres asking for Verdugo as part of a trade package for left-handed reliever Brad Hand, but the Dodgers wisely turned that down, according to multiple sources.
The Dodgers are looking for a left-handed reliever to add to the pen, but not at the expense of trading one of their top prospects. If there was one weakness the Dodgers had in the first half, it was probably the lack of dependable left-handed pitchers in the bullpen.
The team only has two left-handed relievers, Luis Avilan and Grant Dayton, who is currently on the DL. Both players are having pretty average seasons thus far.
Avilan has a 4.30 ERA in 23 innings, although, the ERA can be a bit misleading because he does have a good 3.06 FIP. Dayton has a 3.63 ERA in 22.1 innings with a 4.71 FIP.
Brad Hand would be a much needed upgraded posting a 2.30 ERA in 47 innings and a 2.79 FIP this year, but personally, I don’t believe it is worth it to trade a top prospect for a relief pitcher.
It is hard for me to ever buy into trading a young player with upside, like Verdugo, for a player who is only giving you one inning an appearance and isn’t even a closer.
Also, Verdugo isn’t a prospect who is years away from the majors. The talented young outfielder is developing at a rapid pace and could help the Dodgers as soon as this season.
Verdugo came into this season as the number 58 ranked prospect according to Baseball America and is now ranked 35 on their midseason list. He is the highest ranked position player on the Dodgers and is second in the entire organization to RHP Walker Buehler, who currently ranks 17th on Baseball America’s list.
Verdugo is a .311 career hitter in the minors and is currently hitting .346 in AAA for the Oklahoma City Dodgers.
I know some might say that the Dodgers already have too many outfielders, so they don’t really need another one in Verdugo. But the Dodgers still lack a bonafide potential superstar out there, and Verdugo could be that guy.
I know Yasiel Puig has had somewhat of a resurgence this season, but he still hasn’t developed into that superstar all-around player we thought he would be. Joc Pederson is still young, but he hasn’t shown he can consistently hit against lefties and might be destined as a platoon player.
The Dodgers have been juggling multiple players in LF, so Verdugo can potentially see some action out there if he gets a September call up.
Another thing you have to consider is that the Dodgers have had pretty good luck over the last couple of years when it comes to keeping their top prospects instead of trading them.
Ever since Andrew Friedman and Farhad Zaidi took over the front office in 2014, they have been very reluctant when it comes to trading away top prospects.
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A couple of years ago the Dodgers had a chance to trade away players like Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger, and Julio Urias for a Cole Hamels, Johnny Cueto, David Price, or even a Chris Sale but they chose not to.
At the time this was a very controversial decision, and the front office was heavily criticized for not being aggressive enough at the deadline.
I know Urias is now hurt, but he is still only 20-years-old with a tremendous upside. However, it turns out they undoubtedly did the right thing by keeping Seager and Bellinger because if they did, it would’ve been recognized as one of the worst decisions in Dodgers’ history after seeing what they have become.
I say if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.
The Dodgers’ plan of developing their farm system while simultaneously winning at the major league level is working, seeing that they had the best record in baseball at the All-Star break.
The Dodgers have one of the best player development systems in baseball led by farm director Gabe Kapler and have done a great job turning their young talent into great major league players.
They have hit on just about all their top prospects, and Verdugo has the potential to come right in and immediately be a .300 hitter with developing power.
There might come a time when there will be the right offer and trading away a top prospect will be worth it, but the names floating around in possible trades are not worth it at the moment.