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Why The Dodgers Shouldn't Trade Alex Verdugo

The Dodgers still haven't traded for Mookie Betts. But, instead of predicting the stats for the bench, which I will do soon, I decided to write about something more relevant. In the recent explosion of Mookie to the Dodgers trade rumors, Alex Verdugo's name has appeared a large number of times. I do believe that the Dodgers will trade for Mookie Betts in the next few days (if not hours) and, unfortunately, I do believe that Verdugo will be the center of the deal. He will most likely headline a package of 2 prospects, like maybe Diego Cartaya, Jeter Downs, and perhaps even Josiah Gray. I find it unlikely Andrew "Protect the Prospects" Friedman will part with both Verdugo and Keibert Ruiz for only one year of Betts, but if the Dodgers work out a massive extension, I would happily send even Gavin Lux to Boston to get him.

However, I don't think that Verdugo is the right guy in this trade, even if the Dodgers were to extend Betts. Verdugo is a unique player, especially on the Dodgers, due to his high contact rate, incredible defense, and infectious energy. Of those factors, contact rate may be the most important. While Verdugo lacks the raw power of many of his teammates (and he will probably continue to improve in this regard as his career furthers), he can make contact with the ball at a higher rate than most of them. In 2019 he had a .294 batting average to go along with a .342 OBP, demonstrating his ability to both make consistent contact with the ball and draw walks when necessary. His batting average was second to only Cody Bellinger's. Behind only Bellinger and Corey Seager with 1.2 DWAR, Verdugo proved valuable with both his range and cannon in the outfield. Although the Dodgers have many high-energy players such as Bellinger, Joc Pederson, and Kiké Hernandez, Verdugo possesses even more than they do, celebrating with a hip-shake and new dance move after EVERY hit or thrown-out baserunner. Verdugo brings an immeasurable spark to the team and ignites the offense.

While Verdugo's recent, vague, back injury is concerning, he is young and will most likely rebound from it for a strong 2020. If the Red Sox want a major-league ready outfielder, which they have said they do, there is one named A.J. Pollock who is due for a bounce-back year, as well as even Joc Pederson, while he is a fan favorite, would be a more logical choice for the Dodgers to send, as his contract is up after the year and he's far more expensive than Verdugo. My ideal package for Betts is comprised of Ruiz, Downs, and Pollock. I would even take a sizable portion of David Price's contract off their hand if they would take Pollock's.

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©2020 by Sam Scherer