Remember when the Dodgers dealt Yasiel Puig, Alex Wood, and Matt Kemp for a pair of solid prospects and a soon-to-be waived Homer Bailey last offseason?
Could that same sort of deal be one the Dodgers front office completes at these Winter Meetings?
It would certainly make sense.
The 2020 Dodgers are set up a lot like the 2019 Dodgers were headed into last offseason. The outfield is overcrowded with veterans, even as highly-touted prospects seeking playing time are on their way up to the Show, the starting rotation is more than five or six pitchers deep, and rumors surrounding adding more starters continue to float around. Plus, the Dodgers farm system is a little depleted now that Gavin Lux, Will Smith, Matt Beaty, Dustin May, and Tony Gonsolin all graduated from it in 2019.
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So who would Andrew Friedman look to deal if he decided to pull off a similar depth dump trade this offseason? In my opinion, if Friedman and the front office also feel that the starting rotation and outfield are the areas of depth from which to deal, then Joc Pederson, A.J. Pollock, and Matt Beaty all should be shopped around, along with Kenta Maeda, Tony Gonsolin, and Ross Stripling.
When I say ‘shop around’ I don’t mean that they should all be dealt, but instead that these players are the most expendable of the valuable players on the roster. Specifically, Pederson and Maeda seem to fit the Puig-Wood mold the best. Both are near the end of their deals and both have significant histories of postseason success.
Here’s the case I made last month for dealing Maeda:
"Do the Dodgers really need Maeda in the rotation to compete in 2020? He’s not expensive, and he’s signed through 2023 with a contract that makes it tough for him to earn over $10 million a year.The same could have been said of Alex Wood, who the Dodgers dealt before last season (along with Yasiel Puig) to the Cincinnati Reds to bolster the farm system and to make room on the active roster.Could Maeda’s fate be the same? The southpaw Wood was traded before his age-28 season with only a few years of arbitration left on his deal. Maeda is 31 years old, and a right-hander, but he arguably has even more of a track record of consistency under his belt.If the Dodgers are looking to free up space for Dustin May, Tony Gonsolin, and Julio Urias in the rotation, then Maeda may be on his way out of LA."
Maeda is the man to deal away if the front office wants to give the rotation a facelift. And the same could said of Pederson. Even though the powerful JocPop seemed to make a breakthrough in 2019, he still only hit against right-handed pitching. His limited ceiling, alongside an interest in him from the Chicago White Sox, means he is the most likely to accompany Maeda in any sort of impending depth dump.
If the team holds onto this pair of career Dodgers, they’ll be keeping some of their more consistent pieces on a roster that is certainly still built to compete in 2020. But if LA wants to separate themselves from the pack, then cutting some of the fat off of the roster in order to add a star and expand the youth movement is the way to go.