Dodgers trade LHP Victor Gonzalez & 2B Jorbit Vivas to Yankees for SS Trey Sweeney in a deal that makes sense for both teams

The Dodgers and Yankees have completed a fairly significant trade when factoring in the reason it even happened, as they’ll be sending LH reliever Victor Gonzalez and 2B prospect Jorbit Vivas to the Yankees in exchange for SS prospect Trey Sweeney. The reason of course being that the Dodgers needed to clear 40-man roster space for Mariachi Joe Kelly and some guy named Shohei Ohtani.

Despite some weirdos on social media almost hoping Ohtani was grievously injured so that it would void his deal with the Dodgers, in the end the delay was always about was clearing space on the 40-man. That seemed obvious to anybody who was paying attention, as it’s the same reason Jason Heyward‘s deal took a while to finalize and why Kelly was obviously also unfinalized. This move takes care of that issue for the Dodgers.


The team will sadly be parting ways with 28-year-old lefty reliever and 2020 World Series champion Gonzalez, who was never quite able to regain the same form he showed that year and who underwent elbow surgery in 2022. He was a revelation as a rookie in 2020, posting a 1.33 ERA/1.67 FIP/2.02 xERA over 20.1 innings, including giving up just a couple runs in eight appearances than spanned 6.2 innings in the playoffs. Even that doesn’t quite do him justice, as he got some of the most important outs during that championship run. Since that time, Victor has posted a useful but relatively anonymous 3.78 ERA/3.85 FIP over 69 innings. Eligible for arbitration this year, he has three years of team control left and is out of options.

Vivas will be entering his age-23 season next year, and made it as far as AAA in 2023. He posted a .280/.391/.436/.827 line in AA with more walks (54) than strikeouts (52), which earned him a promotion. He struggled to a .226/.339/.294/.633 line in AAA, but it was a small sample of 121 plate appearances. Primarily a second baseman, Vivas has also played third, but the knock on him is a lack of dynamic tools and middling defense despite impressive bat-to-ball skills. Bruce ranked him as the #15 prospect in the system in his latest update, describing him as a high-floor type. He hasn’t debuted yet, but only has one option year remaining.


In exchange, the Dodgers will get shortstop prospect Sweeney, who doesn’t require a 40-man spot yet. A 2021 first-rounder out of Eastern Illinois University, he’ll be entering his age-24 season in 2024. Batting lefty, Sweeney debuted well in A-ball in 2021 but leveled off a bit between high-A and AA in 2022. Last year he repeated AA and came up with a similar looking line of .252/.367/.411/.777, but did reduce his strikeout rate. He ranked as the #8 prospect in MLB Pipeline’s latest update, #5 for FanGraphs, and #10 for Baseball Prospectus.

Though Sweeney employs a big leg kick and has a hitch in his left-handed swing, his uncanny hand-eye coordination allows him to barrel balls and make a lot of hard contact. He struggled at the outset of last season when he got aggressive, but he toned down his approach and did a better job of controlling the strike zone. Factor in his ability to recognize pitches, strength and bat speed, and he has the ingredients to hit for power and average.
Sweeney has some deceptive athleticism and has worked to improve his speed, which has gone from below average in college to average as a pro to solid once he gets underway. He swiped 31 bases in 34 attempts last year and also showed improved range at shortstop, where he’s an average defender. He’ll still probably move to third base in the future, and his bat, reliable hands and solid arm strength all will fit nicely at the hot corner.

Those reports on him have mentioned that he seems to be a fringy defender at short that’s better suited elsewhere, so while he’s only played shortstop so far as a pro, he might not be the future at the position or even long-term depth there. That said, he has 55 stolen bases as a pro compared to 11 caught stealing, so there’s athleticism and potential to stick. It’s also clear that he has a lot of potential with the bat, and the Dodgers are surely hoping he can put it together with them. If anybody has a shot at getting the most out of his tools, it’s this player development team.

Bruce did a write-up for him on Twitter:


Overall, the trade is a nice little move that both sides can probably come away liking, especially since the Dodgers basically had to do something about their roster crunch and Sweeney is blocked by a ton of infielders on the Yankees.

Victor has become a fungible lefty reliever with a successful past and Vivas was going to be blocked long-term by Mookie Betts moving to second, while the Dodgers received needed shortstop depth (even if unideal) and got a bat with solid upside. Not much to complain about here, especially since one could easily argue the Dodgers got the best player involved.

With the 40-man roster down to 38, it’s only a matter of time now.

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