In the wake of landing Shohei Ohtani over the weekend, the Los Angeles Dodgers hooked up with the New York Yankees for a trade on Monday. New York is sending Minor League shortstop Trey Sweeney out west in return for lefty reliever Victor Gonzalez and infield prospect Jorbit Vivas, according to a report from ESPN.
Signing Ohtani — and, just as significantly, resigning reliever Joe Kelly — created a logjam on the Dodgers’ 40-man roster. They needed to open up two spots to fit their newest additions, and this trade allows that, dealing away two players on the 40-man in exchange for a Minor Leaguer not on the 40-man.
For the Yankees, meanwhile, it’s an opportunity to take advantage of another’s team need in order to target needs of your own. With a 3.78 ERA and strong ground ball rates over his last two seasons, the 28-year-old Gonzalez profiles as a nice replacement for free agent Wandy Peralta, who’d been indispensable as New York’s go-to lefty since the team acquired him back in 2021. The 22-year-old Vivas slashed .269/.381/.407 with 13 home runs in 135 games between Double-A and Triple-A in 2023, bringing elite contact ability — he walked (69) nearly as much as he struck out (71) — to an organization short on that particular skill. If Vivas continues to find ways to spray line drives and get on base, he could figure into the Yankees’ third base picture as soon as this season; New York could sorely use a bench infielder, given DJ LeMahieu’s injury concerns and Oswald Peraza’s struggles at the plate last year.
Sweeney, 23, was the No. 20 pick in the 2021 draft after starring at Eastern Illinois. He slashed .252/.367/.411 with 13 home runs in 100 Double-A games this past season, exhibiting tremendous plate discipline and a swing geared for power but an iffy hit tool that didn’t allow him to tap into most of it in games. This isn’t a challenge trade per se, but it does seem like the Dodgers betting on their player development apparatus to unlock Sweeney’s approach, while shipping out a prospect they believe is already just about at his ceiling.
This trade will have no impact on each team’s pursuit of Japanese righty Yoshinobu Yamamoto. The Yankees and Dodgers are both expected to make their in-person pitches this week, along with seemingly every other big-market club.