No time like the present for Dodgers & Brewers to swing big preseason trade

If the Dodgers went into the 2024 season with the player personnel they currently have, I don’t think anyone would be upset, but Andrew Friedman, Brandon Gomes and Co. are always looking to upgrade.

With yesterday’s trade of Corbin Burnes to the Orioles, the Brewers might be more willing to make more deals just ahead of Spring Training. They have two players who would interest the Dodgers very much — Willy Adames and Devin Williams. Now, that’s not to say Milwaukee is just going to give away their starting shortstop and closer, but they’ve always (with this current regime) been aggressive in trading players to recoup value rather than settling for compensatory draft picks, and the time might be right to move one or both of them.

The Dodgers have been linked to Adames in the past and, with Gavin Lux set to be the Opening Day shortstop, it’s clear the Dodgers could use a defensive upgrade at the position. There’s also talk of the Dodgers wanting to add one more reliever. After missing out on someone like Robert Stephenson, they’ve been linked to a reunion with Ryan Brasier. But if they can fill the that spot with one of the game’s best relievers and, in theory, minimizing the need to trade for a reliever at the trade deadline (when prices for premium relievers skyrocket), then it might behoove them to do it now.


Friedman has a history with Adames. He was the main player acquired from the Tigers when he traded David Price to Detroit in 2014, so this could be the second time he trades for the shortstop. Adames, 28, is a free agent after the season and, unless he plays like he did when he got traded from the Rays to the Brewers in 2021, he’s probably not going to get a qualifying offer from the Brewers. That’d be a reason for the Brewers to move him now. And the Dodgers would be interested because he has power (almost 27 HR a season for the last three years) and, more importantly, is a premium defender at the most important infield position. Last season, he produced 16 outs above average, which placed him in the 99th percentile among shortstops. He also finished with 8 defensive runs saved — sixth in the majors. With Lux coming off a significant knee injury and always having questionable arm strength for shortstop, Adames would be a massive improvement. There’s also every chance Lux outperforms Adames, offensively, but with the firepower in the lineup, a more defensive-focused shortstop who can hit a bit (sorry, Miguel Rojas) might make more sense, especially with Max Muncy being the every day third baseman.

While Adames struggles to get the bat on the ball consistently, when he does, he barrels it up 12.4% of the time. He also is willing to take a walk, posting an 11.1 BB% last season and 9.4% for his career. He is just one year removed from having more red in his offensive ledger (90th percentile Barrel%, 70th HardHit%, 36.4 SweetSpot%, .480 xSLG) — all of which outperformed his 2021 numbers.

He’s set to make $12.25 million this season and the Brewers would definitely like to get off that contract and reallocate the funds to improve their chances of continuing to contend in the NL Central for years to come.

Meanwhile, Williams’ résumé speaks for itself. The 29-year-old has been the best reliever in baseball since 2020 in a number of categories:

  • 1.75 ERA
  • 2.26 FIP
  • 28.6 K-BB%
  • .145 BAA
  • 12.24 WPA
  • 6.8 WAR


He has the best changeup in the game (commonly referred to as the “Airbender“), which is how he’s able to post the kind of numbers he has while having “only” a 94.2 MPH fastball. He also has a slider that morphed into a cutter last season, and even that has shown flashes of being an above-average pitch at times. But the changeup is his meal ticket:

It might be the best pitch in the entire sport. Williams is a free agent after the 2025 season and is signed through that time. He’s set to make $7 million this season and has a club option for $10.5 million in ’25 ($7.25 million, for luxury tax purposes).


One would think Lux — a Wisconsin native — would be headed the other way in any deal involving both Adames and Williams. However, with the Brewers acquiring Joey Ortiz in the Burnes deal and having Brice Turang in-house, they might not need a middle infielder (and they need an outfielder even less). If a deal were to come down, it wouldn’t be at all surprising for to either be a 3-team deal or Lux gets spun off in a separate deal — either by the Brewers or Dodgers.

Other players who could interest Milwaukee in a deal are as follows:

That’s just some names who could make sense. I don’t foresee guys like De Paula or Sheehan truly being available in a deal like this, but you can understand why the Brewers would ask for them. If we use the Burnes deal as a guide, we can see they targeted a player who fills a need as soon as this season in Ortiz, a former high draft pick and arm with upside in DL Hall and the 34th overall pick in the 2024 MLB Draft. While the Dodgers don’t have any draft picks, they can deal a lower-level lottery ticket that would be roughly the equivalent of that selection in the draft. There is a deal that could be made, if both sides are willing. That could be said about any trade ever, but it seems particularly relevant with these two teams. So, maybe something like this:

To MIL: Stone, Rushing or Vargas, Ronan Kopp or Wrobleski and Rayne Doncon or Carlos Duran
To LA: Adames, Williams

Stone and one of the southpaws (Kopp/Wrobleski) seem like quintessential Brewer targets. The price would drop pretty significantly if Adames is the only guy coming LA’s way, as Williams holds most of the value in this scenario. For Adames, think one bat and one arm, and probably not Rushing at that point.


Yes, the Brewers could keep both of them, and either trade one or both of them at the deadline or even hold onto Williams until the 2025 trade deadline. But Adames is almost assuredly not going to finish the 2024 season in Milwaukee. The Dodgers don’t need to make this deal to feel better about their chances. But the timing might be right for both teams to make one last significant deal before Spring Training begins.

About Dustin Nosler

Avatar photo
Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosted a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He was a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times and True Blue LA. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.