Gonzalez and Vivas join the pinstripes: Yankees-Dodgers deal rocks MLB landscape

Victor Gonzalez new player of the Yankees
Amanda Paula
Monday December 11, 2023

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In a strategic move to bolster their bullpen, the New York Yankees have engaged in a prospect exchange with the Los Angeles Dodgers, acquiring left-handed reliever Victor Gonzalez and infield prospect Jorbit Vivas in exchange for shortstop prospect Trey Sweeney.

A win-win transaction

This transaction, completed on Monday, not only addresses the Yankees’ requirement for a left-handed presence in the bullpen but also aids the Dodgers in clearing two valuable spots on their 40-man roster. These openings are essential for accommodating Shohei Ohtani’s monumental 10-year, $700 million contract and securing a place for reliever Joe Kelly.

Trey Sweeney, though not yet on the Yankees’ 40-man roster, has been a notable prospect for the team since being drafted in the first round in 2021. His entire 2023 season was spent at Double-A Somerset, where he exhibited promising skills with a .252 batting average, a .777 OPS, and an impressive 20 stolen bases in 100 games. However, given the Yankees’ organizational depth at shortstop, the decision to include Sweeney in this trade reflects a strategic move to address other areas of need.

The impact

Jorbit Vivas #15 of the Glendale Desert Dogs bats during the game between the Scottsdale Scorpions and the Glendale Desert Dogs at Camelback Ranch on Friday, October 14, 2022 in Glendale, Arizona.

On the other side of the deal, Victor Gonzalez, a 28-year-old left-handed reliever, brings valuable experience to the Yankees’ bullpen. Despite undergoing arthroscopic elbow surgery that sidelined him for the entirety of 2022, Gonzalez made a successful return last season, participating in 34 games. With a career 3.22 ERA in parts of three seasons in the major leagues and a notable 58.2 percent ground-ball rate, Gonzalez provides a reliable left-handed option for the Yankees.

Moreover, the acquisition of Jorbit Vivas adds depth to the Yankees’ infield. Rated as the Dodgers’ No. 10 prospect by MLB.com, the 22-year-old infielder concluded the 2023 season at Triple-A, hitting .226 with a .638 OPS across 26 games. Vivas, recognized for his high contact rate and minimal strikeout percentage (10.6 percent, leading all qualified Double-A hitters in 2023), is anticipated to contribute significantly, primarily playing at second and third base, with a potential Triple-A start in the upcoming season.

This trade not only fortifies the Yankees’ roster but also ensures flexibility with their 40-man roster, which now stands at 37. This maneuver leaves room for potential further offseason moves without the immediate need to open additional roster spots.

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