The offseason is picking up as November turns into December, as trade talks have begun to intensify as rosters have begun to become more concrete.
Yesterday on Sportsnet LA, David Vassegh of AM 570 brought up the rumors surrounding the Corey Seager-Francisco Lindor trade rumors and attempted to put them to bed, saying that multiple reports he’d heard said that the Cleveland Indians did not want Seager, but instead wanted the Dodgers to give up their prized prospect middle infielder Gavin Lux.
Obviously, any team dealing with the Dodgers would want their best young player in terms of expected future value. He plays second base for LA, but he came up as a shortstop, and if the Indians made that sort of swap, they’d be betting on the future of their team with a core of starting pitchers led by Shane Bieber and Mike Clevinger, both of whom will be under team control for longer than Lindor, Kluber, or the rest of the aging core.
For the Indians, Lux makes more sense than Seager simply because of his controllable contract and low-impact salary cap hit, especially because Seager, like Lindor, needs to be extended within the next two seasons to avoid having him hit the free-agent market. Lux is only 22, and he has far less than a season of service time.
While those reasons are what make the Indians willing to deal their superstar face of the franchise in Lindor, they also make a deal unlikely. Why would the Dodgers deal this sort of prospect for a few seasons (only two seasons) of Francisco Lindor, who could leave the team after two seasons to hit it big on the open market while costing the Dodgers Lux’s developmental prime during the middle of the 2020s decade?
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This sort of trade rumor brings up the collision of ideologies, amongst fans certainly and (more than likely) even amongst front office personnel: Do we go all-in for 2020 and 2021 when most of the big money comes off the books, or do we wait a few seasons for our big prospects to develop?
The World Series winners from the 2010s decade sort of mixed and matched these strategies. While the Royals were built on a homegrown core of stars like Salvador Perez, Lorenzo Cain, and Eric Hosmer, they need star pitchers like James Shields and Johnny Cueto to win a ring. Plus, none of these players (outside of Perez) got a chance to stick around for more than a season or two with the club.
Was the cost worth it for Kansas City? Maybe. They have a ring far more recently than the 1988 Dodgers, even though they had a similar drought with far fewer resources than LA possesses.
In my opinion, Lux is probably untouchable for a front office that has held onto its biggest pieces (remember early Joc Pederson-Cole Hamels rumors and Corey Seager or Cody Bellinger rumors) in favor of a sustainable future. But as pressure and tension build amongst Dodgers fans, this sort of prospect-first ideology may shift, and Lindor may be the first piece that snaps the current front office’s streak.