Can Dodgers and Indians Successfully Negotiate an Offseason Blockbuster?


While there has been a ton of news surrounding the Dodgers in the first month of the offseason, there really haven’t been many rumors regarding any prospective player trades. Some chatter, however, has suggested that Los Angeles management has been talking to its counterpart in Cleveland, potentially setting up one of the first big trades of the winter.

Several outlets have implied that the Indians are willing to listen on some of their starting pitching, most specifically Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco, hoping to score a handful of young, talented and controllable players in return. The Indians have made it no secret that they desire outfielders, a commodity that the Dodgers have plenty to spare.

Ken Rosenthal has indicated that the Dodgers are intrigued by Cleveland’s willingness to barter such high quality pitching and that the inclusion of catcher Yan Gomes could conceivably make some type of deal a reality.

I happen to like Gomes, but if he were a left-handed hitter, I would like him a lot more. Offensively, Gomes is a downgrade from Yasmani Grandal—a .762 OPS vs. Grandal’s .815 OPS in 2018—but he’s a little more reliable with the glove and a bit more effective throwing out runners, although Grandal is still recognized among the best pitch-framers around the league.

Gomes, who’ll turn 32 in July, is under contract through 2021. His options after 2019 include a $1 million buyout or club options worth $9 million for 2020 and $11 million for 2021, a pact which would sit nicely with the Dodgers as they wait for Will Smith and Keibert Ruiz to prove they’re major league ready.

On the flip side of all the rumblings, I just don’t see the Dodgers sacrificing much to upgrade a returning rotation that guided the club to the 2018 World Series. Sure, there is always room for improvement, but the Los Angeles rotation is so deep that it had the need to relegate some pitchers, who otherwise would be mid-rotation stalwarts for other clubs, to the bullpen—most specifically Kenta Maeda, Ross Stripling, Alex Wood and Caleb Ferguson.

Thoughts about the early contributions of Julio Urias vary, but even without Urias in the rotation, a starting five of Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Rich Hill and Maeda has to be among the most well-rounded rotations in the majors. With guys like Urias, Stripling, Wood, Ferguson, Brock Stewart and Dennis Santana looming, there’s certainly enough depth to protect the club from injuries and to facilitate the teams propensity of maneuvering players onto the “phantom disabled list.”

If the Indians want to throw somebody like Kluber to the Dodgers for a minimal fee, that would be fantastic for Los Angeles. But it’s not going to happen. Why sacrifice a package of top-notch prospects for a starting pitcher when the same resources could be used to upgrade more critical areas of the roster like catcher and the bullpen?

Conversely, if Cleveland were to include with Gomes a reliever like Brad Hand, I’d consider putting an attractive trade package together—including a Top 5 prospect.

In the meantime, for Gomes alone, I think I’d offer up somebody like Jeren Kendall—who hit just .215/.300/.356 in nearly 500 PA in the hitter-friendly Cal League last year—packaged alongside someone similar to Brayan Morales. If the Indians would balk at Kendall, maybe slide in a Josh McLain or Andrew Toles as the centerpiece.

Relievers and an established catcher are the biggest needs for the 2019 Dodgers, and as attractive as it sounds, Los Angeles shouldn’t be distracted by the lure of an appealing starting pitcher, especially when the team already has one of the most formidable rotations in the bigs.



19 thoughts on “Can Dodgers and Indians Successfully Negotiate an Offseason Blockbuster?

  1. Thanks for the holiday post Dennis. Gives me something to think about while waiting for the turkey. With regard to getting one of the Indians’ starters, I think that all depends on what the cost would be. Starters are definitely not our number one priority, but we do have a major surplus in outfielders and starters and if we could get one of their Big 3 by using mostly our extra pieces I think it would be well worth considering. I’m going on record as saying I would be somewhat surprised but not totally shocked if Maeda was included in a trade for a major starter such as Kluber. His contract is so friendly that a team like Cleveland might jump at it.

    1. That’s exactly the reason Friedman won’t deal Maeda. Friedman adores team-friendly contracts, especially for a player who can double-up as a quality starter and a decent reliever.

  2. You mention that you’d consider giving up multiple top 10 prospects for Gomes and Hand, Allen or Miller. I would venture to say that they would give up Gomes along with Allen AND Miller for those prospects since both Allen and Miller are free agents. Hand, maybe not. How about Joc/Puig/Toles (their choice), Maeda, Smith, Peters and Stewart for Kluber, Gomes and Hand.

      1. Since I picked apart your trade, why don’t you do the same with mine. There may not be any free agents in it but I’m sure you could poke a few holes. I always welcome your comments on my crazy ideas. 🙂

  3. The Indians are not going to move Yan Gomes for just prospects. That would leave them with Roberto Perez and Erik Haase as the only two catchers on their 40 man. Naylor is at least 2-3 years away, so they are going to need catching.

    Because of a weak AL Central, the Indians believe they can contend in 2019 even if they move one of their top of the rotation pitchers. It appears that both Cleveland and LAD have what each other team needs. Cleveland needs an OF and the Dodgers need a catcher. I keep reading that the Dodgers should send Joc to Cleveland, but with Martin and Zimmer they already have two LHH OF penciled to start. The Indians are going to want Puig. Puig for Gomes is not going to happen which is why the deal needs to open up to allow a pitcher like Corey Kluber. Maybe they do not NEED Kluber, but I sure would want him. Buehler/Kershaw/Kluber would sure look good. The Dodgers are going to be losing Wood, Hill, and Ryu next year, so having a pitcher like Kluber for 2020 and 2021, is a plus. While I may have my ideas of a fair trade, I am not well versed in Cleveland’s farm system to know what prospects they need, so I will leave to the experts to make a fair transaction. But one player that I would include would be Alex Wood. Cleveland does not have a LH starter, and even if for one year, they could use one. Teams can do a lot worse with Alex as their #4 or #5.

    BTW, I do not write here very often as I write for another site, but I read and enjoy it everyday. I would like to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving.

    1. Thanks for the Thanksgiving wishes jef. Same to you. Always happy to see someone else on here, especially someone with interesting posts. I agree that we have to move Wood. He’s not going to be a happy camper next year since he’ll be pitching for a contract and almost definitely won’t be in the starting 5, especially if we get someone from the Indians. I mentioned above that we might consider including Maeda in a trade for a top flight starter since that would move him out of the rotation where he really wants to be. Dennis thinks Andrew won’t do it because it’s such a team friendly contract but I’m thinking that might be exactly what we need to make it work.

      1. Jeff, thank you. I agree with Dennis that Maeda is likely to not be traded because of his team friendly contract. But I think that if the contract is not re-worked it would be unfair to keep Maeda if he is not going to be a starter. Maeda is at best a #4 on this team, and because of the friendly contract, Kenta could be moved to a team that could use him in the rotation, and the return could be quite good. Look what a friendly contract got Tampa Bay for Chris Archer. Chris Archer is not what he was 2 years ago and I do not consider him any better than Maeda today, even though he has been that top of the rotation starter for awhile. If the Dodgers could get the equivalent of Austin Meadows, Tyler Glasnow, and Shane Baz for Kenta Maeda, it seems worth the risk..

    2. Happy Thanksgiving to you as well. So what if we went Alex Wood and Chris Taylor for Gomes and Hand? Followers of the Dodgers would say it’s too much, but it could be about right based on the needs of Los Angeles. Dodgers don’t have a catcher they can deal who’s major league-ready, so Cleveland would need to deal with that on their own. Send them Connor Wong in return for a Low-level infielder if they whine.

      1. I’m thinking the Indians might think that isn’t enough because everyone values Hand so highly. Not only that, they’ve already lost Miller and Allen to free agency so if they trade Hand they’re definitely going to need something for the bullpen in return.

      2. That might work, but I would think that the Kyle Farmer would be the logical choice to include over Wong. He would give Cleveland a chance for an offensive catcher before Naylor is ready, For whatever reason, Farmer does not get a lot of love from the Dodgers FO and field management. But it has been reported that Dodger pitchers do like throwing to Kyle, so who knows. It would also allow Alex and Kyle to continue being teammates as well as great friends. From Univ of Georgia to LAD to Cleveland. How often can friends sat that.

  4. Happy thanksgiving everyone, thanks for jumping in Jef, always nice to hear another opinion. I don’t think Cleveland makes Hand part of a deal unless they are overwhelmed. Dennis, I think you would have to sweeten your deal with an established, or future bull pen piece, maybe Baez, or Alvarez if they think they can get him to get his head together.

  5. Gomes and Hand is our blockbuster?

    I think we’re going to need a bigger block.

    Whip up something that adds length and depth to our starting staff (like Kluber/Corbin/Carrasco) a solid catcher (Gomes is fine) and an 8th inning guy (Hand will do). Another block to bust would be a RH thumper. I still like Stanton but there are others that would be cheaper. I’d give your few suggestions but I’m on my way to more pumpkin pie.

    1. Doubt seriously that the Dodgers will even contact Corbin. He too will get 5 years at least and Friedman has never given any free agent a contract of that length.

  6. Happy Thanksgiving to all. There is a Cleveland fan on twitter who continues to think the Dodgers would deal no only Buehler for those guys, but Bellinger too. I am afraid the man is delusional. Ok, for the youngsters, why not Wong and say Joe Broussard, who is close to MLB ready and send Pederson or Toles and Edwin Rios for Gomes and Carrasco. The rotation is right side weak in my mind. Kluber is the better arm, but would require a bigger package. If not Rios you could package a lower level pitcher in there. Lots of ways to get it done. The one fly in the ointment is that they are still talking to Miami about Realmuto, but the Marlins want a huge return.

    1. I suspect you’re right Bear. I’m not expecting anything big from Friedman. Without his second chair, the Z in FAZ, Andrew may be short on algorithms. Besides, he’s working with a pennant winner that is missing only Grandbobble. And for all we know he may be back. I doubt it, but it could happen.

      We are linked to a few names but not as favorites to land anybody. That doesn’t mean something big won’t happen, but it seems unlikely. It’s more likely if Kluber, Gomes and Carrasco are on the move they will go separately and we will be outbid.

      So…. we wait.

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