The Marlins only remaining outfielder from last season wants out. Christian Yelich, whom Jeter hoped to use as a centerpiece for his rebuild, has expressed his distaste for the team’s direction. Yelich’s desires have opened the door for the Dodgers to acquire the young outfielder but, while the idea may be exciting, Yelich is only a worthwhile move at the right price.
The Dodgers are in no way desperate for Christian Yelich’s services. With the roster as is, they are looking at an outfield of Yasiel Puig, Chris Taylor, and Joc Pederson as starters. Beyond those three, Andrew Toles, Trayce Thompson, Kike Hernandez, Matt Kemp, and Alex Verdugo are players already on the roster to serve as positional depth. Adding someone like Yelich is a luxury, not a necessity. While the Dodgers would not hurt from adding Christian Yelich I firmly believe it should only be done if a deal is constructed along these guidelines:
Player one would be someone from the Dodgers’ top five prospects. Yelich is considered a top of the line starting outfielder, and he demands a high-level prospect in return. Since the Dodgers would be getting the Marlins’ only remaining big league outfielder, the sensible thought would be to send an outfielder back. The Marlins’ current top outfield prospect is 21-year old Magneuris Sierra. Sierra was one of the prospects sent to The Fish as a part of the prospect package from the Cardinals in the Marcell Ozuna trade. Sierra’s minor league statistics are just okay, and according to the MLB’s prospect tracker, he is not supposed to be a full-blown major leaguer until 2019.
With a lack of outfield prospects and Yelich leaving the team, the top five prospect I would send to the Marlins is Alex Verdugo. Verdugo is ready to play in the big leagues. Last year he hit well over .300 at Triple-A, and he also showed some decent power as well as excellent defense. Contrary to his minor league success, Verdugo did not impress upon getting called up to the majors in September. He hit just .174 with one home run. His struggles could very well have been caused by a combination of nerves and lack of appearances, and that is why the Marlins should still be interested. Verdugo has shown that once he gets comfortable at a certain level, he hits well. The Marlins would be able to plug him into an everyday center field role right out of spring training and develop regularity for the 21-year-old prospect.
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The second player the Dodgers would add is another big league ready piece, but this one would be a pitcher. For this trade scenario, I am picking lightly used righty, Brock Stewart. Stewart has been at the forefront of multiple trade rumors most notably the trade that never happened for Brian Dozier. The reality for Stewart has been that the Dodgers just do not need him even though he has good stuff. Stewart has shown the ability to be either a reliever or a starter and to be perfectly honest he is the ideal pitcher for the Marlins. Stewart is just 26 years old and is still on a league minimum contract. His affordability along with his obvious talents on the field make him a desirable middle of the rotation pitcher to a team just starting what will be a long rebuild process. If not Stewart the Marlins could probably take from the lower end of the Dodgers top 30 prospects.
The third and final player that I think makes sense in this deal is the recently acquired, Matt Kemp. Kemp is a 33-year-old veteran with an expensive contract. While that sounds like the exact opposite of what the Marlins want, Kemp could be a useful asset if the Dodgers help out financially. If Kemp is included in my hypothetical deal, he would also come with 30 of his $43 million paid for. This would make Kemp a $13 million veteran outfielder with an expose-able amount of salary especially for a team that no longer has Stanton on the books. If the Marlins choose to pass on Kemp (which would be highly likely), I would think that he can be replaced with another very low-end prospect. This would be someone not even in the top 30 and likely someone the average fan has never heard of.
Christian Yelich makes sense for the Dodgers. He would add another good contact bat in the early part of the lineup and would make the outfield defense even better. That being said, if the deal requires the Dodgers give up more than the trade I just talked about, I truly believe the front office is better off just passing up on the young outfielder. But, if the price is right, it is time to make a move for Christian Yelich.