The fun of the 2018 Winter Meetings hasn’t even started yet, but the Indians are already making headlines with rumors on the first day.
First, it was that talks between the Indians and the Dodgers were “intensifying,” and now we’ve got a picture of the type or player the Indians want in return for their two-time Cy Young Award winner.
According to Jon Morosi, the Indians are eyeing Alex Verdugo, the Dodgers’ top prospect who also happens to be an outfielder.
Source: #Indians interested in #Dodgers OF Alex Verdugo as part of Corey Kluber trade talks. Cleveland is looking for outfield bats, and Verdugo is the Dodgers' top prospect, according to @MLBPipeline. @MLB @MLBNetwork— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 10, 2018
Verdugo is a 22-year-old high school pitcher turned outfielder who slashed .240/.309/.360 in two short stints with the Dodgers in 2017 and 2018. While not exactly a home run threat, he makes good use of the field and has enough power to do more than ground his way into double plays every time out. According to MLB Pipeline, his best attribute is his rocket arm, which is rated at a 70 out of 80 and he’s expected to play center or right field as an everyday player in the majors.
Previously, the Indians were linked to Yasiel Puig or Cody Bellinger, who are much more interesting as immediate impact player, but Verdugo is a pretty effective sweetener for the deal.