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Dodgers Insider Suggests Will Smith as Trade Candidate

Dodgers catcher Will Smith has established himself as one of the best catchers in baseball in his four years in Los Angeles. His .856 career OPS and 130 OPS+ are the best of any MLB catcher from 2019-22, and his 10.7 Wins Above Replacement trails only Willson Contreras (12.2) and JT Realmuto (15.8) in that time.

And, according to ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez, Smith could be a trade candidate this offseason.

The Dodgers continually produce elite catchers, the latest being Diego Cartaya, the No. 17 prospect in Kiley McDaniel’s midseason rankings. Cartaya is probably still at least a year away from the major leagues, where Smith has established himself as arguably the game’s best catcher. But if the Dodgers can get a haul for Smith, particularly to bolster their rotation, perhaps they’ll be tempted. Smith is entering his first year of arbitration and brings a lot of value to a premium position, so he would be very highly coveted.

Elite catchers are not easy to come by. When Realmuto was traded four years ago at about the same age Smith is now, he brought back a replacement catcher (Jorge Alfaro), a low-minors pitching prospect (Will Stewart, who hasn’t panned out for Miami yet), and an elite pitching prospect (Sixto Sanchez, who has been hampered by injuries). Realmuto didn’t have quite the offensive track record Smith does, but he was a better baserunner and better defensive catcher.

Trading Smith now would be an interesting move by the Dodgers, who would either have to replace him or commit to Austin Barnes as their starter for a year until Cartaya is ready. When Gonzalez says “if the Dodgers can get a haul for Smith,” it would really have to be a haul to give up the catcher who batted cleanup on a 111-win team. And it’s not clear that haul is available anywhere.

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Jeff Snider

Jeff was born into a Dodgers family in Southern California and is now raising a Dodgers family of his own in Utah. During his previous career as an executive at a technology company, he began writing about baseball in his spare time. After leaving corporate America in 2014, he started doing it professionally. Jeff wrote and edited for Baseball Essential for years before joining Dodgers Nation. He's also the co-host of the Locked On Dodgers podcast, a daily podcast that brings the smart fan's perspective on our Boys in Blue. Jeff has a degree in English from Brigham Young University. Favorite Player: Clayton Kershaw Favorite Moment: Kirk Gibson's homer will always have a place, but Kershaw's homer on Opening Day 2013 might be the winner.


  1. Every team has a good “framer” who can’t buy a hit. Do we need to join that parade? Especially when robo ump shows up in a couple of years. All for some pitching prospects who may not pan out? Sure, let’s make that move. They replaced Piazza no problem, right?

  2. I can’t believe you published anything so stupid. Let’s trade away the best catcher in baseball, and hope a talented prospect or bunch trade bait works out. He even undermines his own thinking telling how when the previous best catcher JTR. was traded and nothing their team got for him worked out. What could go wrong? Let’s use a catcher who never had a prime, Barnes, with a lifetime ops+ of 87 instead. Keep Barnes around as long as Kershaw is pitching. Bring in DC if Kershaw retires or leaves.

    1. It’s that time of year when “insiders” and “analysts” charge for bogus opinions to provide the basis for ridiculous rumors.

  3. Try playing Smith or Cartaya in a different position. 3B, LF. Schwarber was a catcher, Santana was a catcher. And with DH now, I don’t think that’s going to happen (unless Friedman thinks his batting skills aren’t a big deal).

  4. Your nuts! We haven’t had a catcher w/his offensive punch, since Mike Piazza (Hall of Famer).
    Smith each year is becoming a better & better defensive catcher as well. Unlike Pizza whose hitting was his only attribute (terrible defensively). I believe Smith’s best days are ahead of him.

  5. I see the insane off season “insider” stuff has already started. Will Smith isn’t going anywhere. If Cartaya is the next coming of Johnny Bench, Smith will make an excellent DH and backup catcher.

  6. This is the most ridiculous thing that I have ever heard in my life. Whoever came up with this stupid idea should be fired.

  7. This is the dumbest thing I have heard so far. I would literally riot if they trade smith. If we trade people it shouldn’t be the young talent. Get Muncy, JT, Kershaw, bellinger out they are washed up. How is it that CT was resigned to a longer contract last year only for winning the WC game last year and dropped off this year. This organization is notorious for horrible trades. (Alvarez who is killing it with Houston & O’Neil Cruz who had a break through year.) I mean what else can we expect from an organization that made horrible decisions all year and lost to the PADRES in the NLDS.

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