Dodgers 40-Man Roster: What Lies Ahead for Andrew Toles and Alex Verdugo?

(Mandatory Credit: Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

After Monday’s convincing 17-1 victory over the Pirates, not many fans of the Dodgers are in the mood to discuss any potential roster moves as the club readies themselves for the second-half of the 2018 campaign. However, there are a handful of players on the upper levels of the farm who are conceivably worthy of a spot on a big league roster, whether it be for the Dodgers or somebody else.

At the beginning of the year, there were a ton of people disappointed to learn that outfielder Andrew Toles would be starting the season at Triple-A Oklahoma City—almost as many who seemed to be disgruntled when veteran Matt Kemp made the big league Opening Day roster. Those same people were upset to learn that Joc Pederson made the team to begin the year, believing that Tolesy was more deserving of the final outfield spot on the 25-man roster.

Even when the Los Angeles offense was struggling mightily in the first few months of the year, there were plenty of folks calling for the club to promote Toles to the bigs, hoping that somehow he would provide a spark that would awake the team’s bats. Regardless, the 26-year-old was placed on OKC’s disabled list in the middle of April, and once it looked like he was in the clear, was forced back onto the DL when he re-aggravated the injury at the beginning of June.

Now, at the beginning of July, it appears as if Toles is sailing smoothly. As the stretch run of the season approaches, though, so is the big league offense. And other than waiting on the fringe anticipating the major league squad’s needs for his services, there’s not much he can do except continue to produce for OKC on a daily basis.

The same can probably be said about outfielder Alex Verdugo. And if we’re talking about left-handed hitting outfielders, we might as well throw Pederson into the conversation, too. As it stands now, Pederson has done almost everything right this year and is very much deserving of the spot on the 25-man. It would seem prudent that the team would hold onto either Toles or Verdugo for insurance, but many believe that one of the two could be moved before the summer trade deadlines pass as the club hopes to make a few roster upgrades, most specifically in the pitching department.

Verdugo has been in high demand among rivals clubs for the majority of deals discussed during the past few seasons. The 22-year-old is currently ranked as the best prospect in the Dodgers’ system and has seemingly accomplished everything possible at the minor league levels. In the same breath, Toles has many of the same tools as Verdugo. While Verdugo is undoubtedly the better contact hitter, Toles makes up for it in the power department. And while Verdugo probably has a slightly better glove, Toles balances out his defensive skills by having one of the better arms in the organization.

Currently, Tolesy’s hitting a ridiculous .353/.395/.534 over 116 ABs this season at Oklahoma City. He’s been on a hot streak lately, hammering an insane 14 hits over his last 24 ABs. In comparison, Verdugo is hitting .336/.381/.491 at OKC after spending a little over a week on the big league roster earlier in the year. Contrary to his reputation of not being a slugger, he has six long balls already. Additionally, his 72 hits and 15 doubles lead the team in both categories.

But as long as Pederson’s healthy, both Tolesy and Verdugo may be harbored down at Triple-A. They could be useful off the bench for the Dodgers in the pinch-hitting department, yet it could be tough to find an opening at the moment. With Max Muncy seemingly the everyday second baseman and Yasmani Grandal getting the majority of reps behind the plate, that leaves a bench crew of Enrique Hernandez, Chase Utley, Austin Barnes and Logan Forsythe. And aside from Hernandez, that group isn’t attractive in the least when it comes to pop and the ability to deliver a blast of late-inning offense.

Getting back into the trade conversations, it’s difficult to imagine the front office crew parting ways with Verdugo, unless they go all-in and orchestrate a huge blockbuster that would put the club over the top in terms of talent. At the same time, that blockbuster is somewhat unlikely to occur because it may entail the club needing to absorb a high salary which could possibly ruin its efforts of staying beneath the luxury tax threshold. Still, there are ways for the front office to get creative, but if they do indeed decide to barter Verdugo, fans can bet the return will be significant.

So, to answer the question of what lies ahead for the outfielding tandem of Toles and Verdugo, at the moment, they’re both destined to amass historic numbers for 2018 at the Triple-A level. Undoubtedly, they’ll both see action when rosters expand in early September, allowing them to make a potential case for the postseason roster. In the meantime, if there’s any type of injury, or if the club decides to restructure the 25-man based on the overabundance of second baseman, there could be a change rather quickly.


18 thoughts on “Dodgers 40-Man Roster: What Lies Ahead for Andrew Toles and Alex Verdugo?

  1. I think your point about including someone in a trade is accurate. At this point we have 5 guys worthy of starting in a major league outfield on a daily basis (and that’s not including Kike). None of those contracts are ending this year so the only logical answer seems to be to trade one of them for something we need. Kemp and Puig are right handed hitters, so the more logical move is probably to trade one of the other three, all of whom have value at this point. I would be extremely surprised if one of them doesn’t go in a trade for a good reliever this month although I have no idea which guy that might be. The more I think about it, the more adamant I am that we not waste good prospects on renting Machado. If we could get deGrom for something like Verdugo, Wood and Rios or Lux (or both) I would certainly have to think about it, but I’m not at all sure the Mets would be satisfied with that package. As we all seem to agree, the most pressing need is the bullpen and Verdugo, Toles or Joc could certainly bring us something very good while not giving up something absolutely essential. The only problem with giving up a really good asset for a pitcher is that they’re all just a TJ waiting to happen. Oh well, “you rolls the dice and you takes your chances.”

  2. Really don’t want to trade Toles as he’s one of the better 2-out clutch hitters the Dodgers currently have in their organization as well as one of their most versatile outfielders, but if it has to be done then I’d rather send him to Oakland as part of a packaged deal to get Treinen (would rather send Joc Pederson instead, to be honest). At least he would have a chance of playing regularly in the OF on a contending club for once. As for Verdugo, I would gladly send him to Miami along with Yasmani Grandal (salary dump) and Kyle Farmer (currently blocked behind Austin Barnes on the C depth chart) for JT Realmuto. THAT’S the bat the Dodgers truly need for that lineup to compete with any of the three “super” teams they might end up facing should they get back to the WS this season (Yankees, Red Sox, and Astros). On top of that, Realmuto’s real value is getting the most out of a pitching staff behind the plate with his expert game-calling and elite-level defense. Imagine what he could do with this Dodger staff once all those key arms come back from rehabbing their injuries…

    1. Ah Manuel. What makes you think that under any set of circumstances we could get Realmuto for Verdugo, Farmer and Grandal? To begin with, why would the Marlins agree to take on Grandal’s salary for a rental piece they don’t even need if they have Farmer plus whatever they have now behind Realmuto? Secondly, what do we use for a backup catcher if we trade our current #1 and #3? Barnes is having a horrible year at the plate and none of our catching prospects is ready for L.A. yet. I’m guessing that if Friedman calls the Marlins about Realmuto they start with Verdugo, Ruiz and Santana (or now maybe Ferguson). The reason they haven’t traded him yet is because that’s the kind of return they want and no one has been willing to give it to them, at least not yet. As far as Toles is concerned (and it pains me to agree with you on anything 🙂 ) he’s my favorite of the three also, but for the right return I’d move him. What’s the right return? I’m really not sure although I’m guessing that Verdugo has more perceived value among front offices than does Toles (age factor if nothing else). Always glad to see your comments, my friend. We don’t agree on very much but it always leads to a spirited discussion.

      1. Correction. My bad. We wouldn’t need another catcher because we would have Realmuto and Barnes. That said, they wouldn’t trade us Realmuto for the package you suggested.

      2. Verdugo, Ruiz, AND Santana for Realmuto??? Only got one thing to say to that Jeff if I were Friedman right now: DONE! Matter of fact, I’d go ahead and swap out Santana for either Mitchell White or Yadier Alvarez just to sweeten the pot a bit more since both of those guys are not spending time on the DL as of today (lol). Point is, Dodgers need to win a WS NOW and prospect hoarding is not gonna help much in that sense. I don’t care if you agree with me or not, at least I don’t make it a habit of poking holes in other people’s comments just so I make myself look big on here. You’d be wise to dial that back next time you want to have a nice little “chat” with me. Otherwise, don’t even bother.

      3. Hey man, no offense intended. If I came on too strong I apologize. Just because I disagree with some of your points doesn’t make me right and you wrong. That’s the beauty of a blog like this. We can all voice our opinions. Again, sorry if anything I said (or everything I said) bothered you.

      4. I think the pursuit of a catcher is the least of their worries. I think they go after at least two bullpen arms real hard, and if a deal happens to magically appear for a solid starter, they’ll probably pursue that, too. The problem is that rival GMs know that the Dodgers will be looking to dump salary, so once again, these other clubs will try to take advantage of Friedman any way possible. Friedman’s wise in his craft, so he’s certainly not gonna get conned out of a few good prospects. I’ll say it again—this will forever be remembered as the year the Dodgers fall below the luxury tax threshold.

      5. I think I’m just about as big a fan of Realmuto’s as Manuel, but I agree that he shouldn’t be a priority, especially since trading for him would no doubt use up prospects we could have sent somewhere for bullpen guys. Nightengale still has us hot after Machado with the O’s liking Dustin May. Of course he would only be a small part of a Machado trade so I’m thinking it ain’t gonna happen. He also says we’re aggressively going after Fullmer. I really don’t understand that since he’s not having nearly the year he had last year. Do you consider him a “solid starter” Dennis? More solid than what we already have? If so, what would you give up for him?

  3. Well, if we get Dozier we can make Muncy a pinch hitter. I really wonder what the front office thinks about Muncy’s ability to handle 2nd base for at least the remainder of the year. We know he needs to be in the lineup and 2nd base is certainly the weak link at this point. Also, Duquette has us giving up Santana and Lux to get Dozier. I may be in the minority but I think that’s way too much for a guy we really don’t even need.

    1. Duquette must have been on a deadline when he put all that together. Seems to me like he put all but four minutes of research into his trade scenarios. Piss-poor content, if you ask me. Out of all the names we’ve mentioned here, though, I really like Treinen, but I just don’t think a deal like that gets done.

      1. Happy 4th Dennis, and everyone else as well. Speaking of baseball pundits, what’s your opinion of Bowden? I just caught I clip where he says we offered Verdugo and Alvarez for Machado and that wasn’t even close to getting it done. I could believe both of those statements.

  4. I’m a little late to the party here, But what the heck is duquette thinking? Muncy is playing better than dozier, why would we want to do that?

    1. I think Muncy is our little secret Keith. I doubt that most casual baseball fans have ever heard of him. As far as Duquette (the expert) is concerned, as Dennis pointed out, he didn’t take enough time to do his homework.

  5. Happy fourth to all, I would have thought a package like that would get a deal done. I must be out of touch,I didn’t think he would garner that much as a rental. If we are moving those kind of prospects, jump in with Jeff, add woods and see if that gets the Mets to talk about deGrom.

  6. Fulmer is Sarah’s guy, and I could kind of see that, a little like the deal that brought back woods something with an eye more towards the future.

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