Dodgers Won't Consider Trading Alex Verdugo
With the July 31 trade deadline approaching, it is once again time for front offices for contenders to decide which prospects can be used as trade chips and which ones are too good to let get away.
The Dodgers have accomplished that balancing act over the past few years. They traded away four prospect righthanders in the past year, but those trades appear to be justified. They sent Jharel Cotton, Frankie Montas and Grant Holmes to the Athletics last July for Rich Hill and Josh Reddick. Then they shipped righthander Jose De Leon to the Rays for Logan Forsythe in January. Los Angeles resisted other offers involving young talent like Joc Pederson, Julio Urias, Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger.
More recently, the Dodgers have deflected attempts to get young righthanders Walker Buehler and Yadier Alvarez included in trades. Now, Triple-A Oklahoma City outfielder Alex Verdugo has become the hot name in trade speculation.
"Starting pitching with upside is probably the most valuable currency in the game,” general manager Farhan Zaidi said. "But Verdugo is a 21-year-old hitting (near) .350 in the Pacific Coast League. (He has) more walks than strikeouts and probably has the best outfield arm in the league—he’s a terrific talent. And frankly, he’s big league ready or close to being big league ready.
"So when you start making that calculation of somebody asking for him in a deal, it feels a little bit like robbing Peter to pay Paul, because you’re not talking about trading the future for the present. You’re trading a guy who’s just about part of the present.”
One of the youngest position players at just about every stop since he was taken in the second round out of his Tucson high school in the 2014 draft, Verdugo reached the all-star break batting .346/.416/.463 with three home runs in 79 games. He started in both the PCL all-star game and the Futures Game.
"In a lot of other organizations or situations, he might already be up in the big leagues," Zaidi said. "The feeling is, it’s not a matter of if, but when, he comes up and makes an impact for us."
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"I remember saying this about Julio and Corey and Joc and Cody—it’s really hard to imagine a plausible scenario where it makes sense for us to move him.”