Per those in the know, including FanSided's MLB insider Robert Murray, the preferred middle infield target of the Los Angeles Dodgers is Milwaukee Brewers shortstop Willy Adames.
Unfortunately, as Milwaukee continues to plod along at or near the top of a weak NL Central, the Brew Crew have very little impetus to tear it all down and hand Adames to another contender (and a team that was their postseason rival as recently as 2018-20).
Adames is in the midst of a down year, with 1.5 years of control still remaining. Odds are a second half bounce back is coming. Wouldn't the Brewers rather hold onto him and bet on a potential 2024 postseason run rather than dump him at his lowest value, as the Dodgers salivate?
Maybe there's something Los Angeles can do to sweeten the offer. And maybe that "something" isn't quite as unpalatable as it used to be, thanks to a recent hot streak.
Could the Dodgers offer to pay off a large portion of the remaining years of Christian Yelich's contract in exchange for Yelich and Adames? What about Corbin Burnes, if the Brewers aren't willing to discuss their centerpiece shortstop? Or is this all too drastic, considering Adames' 1.1 bWAR and 84 OPS+ should make him more readily available than ever?
Dodgers Trade Target: Attach Christian Yelich's contract to Willy Adames/Corbin Burnes?
Nobody can do this but the Dodgers. So the Dodgers should do this.
Yelich's contract runs through 2028, and pays him $23.89 million AAV for the remainder of the deal. Less than ideal, especially at the age of 37 (the California native is currently 31). All that being considered, though ... Yelich's 2023 season suddenly looks to be in line with his 2018-19 peak. Whatever the pandemic did to his swing might've taken three years to sort out, but a recent scorching streak has brought him to 2.4 bWAR and a 128 OPS+, directly in line with his career average of 129.
Are we sure the Dodgers are secure long-term in left field, too? How long will Jason Heyward's production be palatable? Will David Peralta continue to be a strong offensive presence for the rest of 2023? Not beyond, though, right? Having long-term security at a semi-vacant position (sorry, Chris Taylor) wouldn't be the worst thing in the world, especially if it helped facilitate a shortstop fit or the movement of a disgruntled ace.
For the better part of the past two years, Yelich seemed immobile. Suddenly, he's been ignited. There's no better time for the Brewers to place the call, and no better team to pick it up on the other end of the line.